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Are Running Shoes Actually Needed for Running? (Important Facts)

Running overtime especially on hard surfaces can be a strain on the shins and ankles over time. You don’t know if running shoes should be worn when running on grass and what should be done to minimize injury.

In this article, I am going to cover why it is important to wear running shoes, which ones are recommended for everyday runners and what happens if you don’t wear them. 

You’re More Susceptible To Injury Without Proper Footwear

When running, you want to make sure that you have some footwear on, preferably running shoes. You can run in everyday normal shoes, but by picking running shoes, you are less likely to injure yourself.

Today, many runners run in urban environments and often run on sidewalks. When running on the sidewalk, picking good quality running shoes will lessen your risk of getting hurt compared to casual shoes.

Running in the grass or soft surfaces, you can run barefoot, but again it is strongly recommended to wear proper running shoes wherever you run. Another thing is that when you run, your feet actually need to adjust.

When you run barefoot, your feet actually develop a thicker skin to reduce injury and cuts on the feet. If you do run barefoot, we recommend taking it slow and limit how much is done every day.

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This gives your body a chance to develop that thick skin which in turn protects you. 

What Types Of Injury Can I Get From Running In Bad Shoes

Many types of injuries are caused by running accidents. One of the most common running injuries is shin splints. It is a type of pain in your shins caused by the pressure of running. It is also known as medial tibial stress syndrome.

I definitely had this before and what helped me was picking the right running shoes and stretching my calves and ankles. For me, this was caused by hitting the ground which was pounding and as a result, creating pains in my side calf/shin.

When stretching, raise your toes as high as possible and lower them as far as possible. Almost like you are flattening your ankle.

Doing this many times stretches the muscles before a run and is most likely going to stop the shin splints. If you run regardless of your shin splints, this may worsen and cause stress fractures.

Will I Get Runners Knee From Running Without Running Shoes?

A very common type of runner injury is called Runner’s Knee.

It is a general injury common to runners where you feel pain in your knee or around your knee cap caused by overuse.

Runner’s knee doesn’t have to be a sharp pain. It can be dull or very noticeable. It is said that the pain gets worse if there are lots of exercises or prolonged sitting. This injury also causes popping noises after prolonged periods of being stationary.

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To prevent the runner’s knee, make sure that the running shoes you pick have enough support. Also, maintaining a healthy weight is very important because running with a considerable amount of weight can put a strain on the knee. Walking is optimal for people with runner’s knees

Another type of injury worth mentioning is plantar fasciitis. This injury is very common to runners and is when the skin under the foot becomes irritated and degenerates. This skin is called your fascia. It is caused by weakened calves and muscle tightness.

Signs you may have this is you feel a burning pain under your feet, pain that increases after prolonged activity and increased pain in the morning. 

Getting Good Running Shoes Lessens Impact

When deciding which running shoes to get, make sure the shoes fit well. You don’t want too much extra space and you don’t want to squeeze your feet in every time. Also, you don’t want to prioritize looks over quality.

When deciding what running shoes to get, always prioritize the best fit, best support and best quality. You can also ask for help when deciding what shoes are recommended.

I recommend making sure the shoes have memory foam. This allows your shoes to adjust to how your feet are shaped for less impact.

Another tip I recommend is to run on the softest surfaces possible. Applying this tip in your life long term, you will thank me later. Running on grass is a whole lot softer than running on concrete.

When running on grass, there is a slight increase in the chance of getting injured, but it is much better for your joints. You can really run according to your liking. They say sand has a softer surface than grass, and the grass is softer than asphalt, and asphalt is softer than concrete.

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The harder the surface, the greater the strain on the joints. 

What To Look For In Running Shoes?

When buying running shoes, you want to look for some features for the best quality.

If you want a cushion on the soles, you may want to buy heavier shoes because these are better for lessening the impact. If you are a light runner, wearing light shoes has less impact, but makes you feel faster.

When looking for running shoes, have your goal in mind. Are you a long-distance runner, short distance runner or walker? If you are running long distances, I recommend having extra cushioning as it absorbs impact.

Often running shoes are given a score out of 100. 1 being the hardest sole and 100 being the softest. Ask one of the sales representatives. Another thing to look for is the “drop”. The drop refers to the difference in the sole measurement of the heel and the toes.

Having a big drop or a small drop isn’t better than another. It comes down to preference. Having a small drop transfers most of the strain to the lower part of the leg while having a bigger drop transfers most of the strain toward the knee. 

Hopefully, this article gave a good sense of direction and was informative. If you have any questions, you can always ask a professional to direct you to the best option. Again, a running shoe is just a running shoe and any will do fine for walking. 

Thank you for reading.

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