A runner’s best friend

The most important equipment for a cross country athlete is a good pair of running shoes.

There are a variety of shoes to choose from and it can become very confusing trying to select a shoe. The following tips will be helpful when selecting a pair of running shoes.

1. Communicate your needs – tell the salesperson you are a beginning runner and are looking for a distance running shoe for the sport of cross country (you do not want a cross-training shoe). You will be running on a variety of surfaced (asphalt, cement, grass, dirt, etc.) and will be running between 15-30 miles a week.

2. Comfort is the key – try on various shoes but the bottom line is to choose a shoe that feels comfortable on your feet. Makes sure that the shoe is flexible. Can you bend the shoe easily? If not, do not buy it. Make sure the shoes have a soft mid-sole. Make sure the shoe is fairly light weight, not heavy. You don’t want to be running along with more weight than needed.

3. Check your shoes indoors before wearing them outside to run. Walk in your shoes around the house for a few hours before you finally run in them outdoors.

4. Expect your feet to get hot because of friction the first few times you run in your shoes. They just need to be broken in (ie, stretch).

5. Look for shoe sales – if you watch the sales, you can pick up a good pair of running shoes anywhere from 25-50% off the retail price. Shoes change styles or colors every season and retailers are looking to unload “old styles” quite often.

6. Change your shoes every season – training shoes only last anywhere from 300 to 500 miles. This means that you should change your shoes about every new sport season, depending upon how many miles you’ve run.

7. Racing flats – these are strongly recommended for any serious and/or varsity athlete.

8. Popular proven brands include ASICS, Reebok, Adidas, Nike and New Balance.

9. Lesser brands include Brooks, Saucony, Etonic, Puma, Mizuno and Pony.

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