Shopping for new running shoes this spring? With conflicting studies about which type (motion control, minimalist) helps reduce injury, it's hard to figure out the best pair to pick. What we do know is that ill-fitting sneakers can contribute to a number of foot ailments, including plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis, says Paul Langer, DPM, author of Great Feet for Life.
Adds Lisa Callahan, MD, co-director of the Women's Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City: "While wearing the wrong shoe doesn't account for all injuries, it's worth investing in one that will minimize your risk."
The tips here, from Reed Ferber, PhD, director of the Running Injury Clinic at the University of Calgary in Canada, and Johanna Bjorken, head of footwear for the specialty running store JackRabbit in New York City, will help you start off on the right foot.
ID your running style
Ninety-four percent of runners hit the ground with their heel first. If that's you, opt for shoes with plenty of heel padding to support the impact.
Get the perfect fit
Athletic shoes should be cozy the moment you lace up. Forgo too-loose or too-tight styles. Also make sure there's about half an inch between your big toe and the front of the sneaker. Newer models have uppers with fewer seams, which lowers your chance of getting blisters.
Keep track of your mileage
Ideally, a pair of sneakers will let you pound the pavement for about 400 miles. Log your runs in an online training journal so you know when it's time for a replacement.