SURREY - With Surrey's International World Music Marathon just over the horizon, local runners may soon find themselves looking for a running shoe to start training for the event, which happens Sept. 28 to 30.
Buying a shoe that accommodates your specific foot type will be a different process for every person, but here are a few tips to make the process a little smoother for those new to the marathon circuit.
Robert Esmie, manager of Surrey's Kintec, a company that specializes in footwear such as sport and orthopaedic, said the No. 1 tip for anyone buying running shoes is to get a gait analysis done.
"Always see a fitting expert. Everyone who comes through our door gets a gait analysis done for free," Esmie said.
A gait analysis involves customers getting onto a treadmill and running, or walking, depending on their regular routine.
A person's arch, heel contact, weight distribution and more are analyzed, and this information is paired with their activity and lifestyle to ensure the most suitable runner ends up on their feet.
Also, most shoe experts seem to agree one of the first things to look for is adequate cushioning.
"If you don't have enough cushioning in the shoe you might get some bone bruises, either in the heel bone or the ball of the foot," said Dr. Scott A. Schumacher, chief clinician at Achilles Foot Health Centre in Surrey.
Another thing that is going to help you pick a winning shoe is being aware of whether or not you are a normal pronator.
Pronation is a subtle inward rolling your feet make while running or walking. A normal pronation is about a 15 per cent inward roll; at this angle, your feet can support your full body weight with ease.
Some runners do not pronate to the ideal 15 per cent, in which case they are either an over-pronator who rolls inward more than 15 per cent, or an under-pronator who rolls inward less than 15 per cent.
Cushioning will vary depending on where you fall on this spectrum, said Teri Chow, a sales associate at Peninsula Runners in White Rock.
"Everybody has different ideas on how much cushion they actually like, whether it be something for a really high arch person, who might need a lot of cushioning because their foot is so rigid it doesn't pronate as efficiently as someone with a normal or flatter foot," said Chow.
There are other things to consider too, such as the flexibility of the shoe and the amount of heel strength the footwear offers.
In terms of picking a shoe, there are three things to consider, said Schumacher.
Firstly, find a good heel counter, the part that grabs the heel.
"It can't be too flimsy," he said. "You want to have some degree of control of the heel bone."
A good heel counter is important because it helps keep your foot from excessively pronating, or flattening, which can cause muscle fatigue and arch strain - two things no runner wants.
Secondly, it should bend at the ball of the foot where the foot bends; you shouldn't be able to bend it at the arch, said Schumacher.
This is important because a shoe that bends in the middle of the arch instead of the ball of the foot may cause arch strain and fasciitis.
Thirdly, when you put your hand in the shoe and wiggle it from side to side there should be some stability.
Some runners do not see extra room as necessary for marathon running, and instead prefer a shoe that is tight, and hugs the foot closely.
"Generally an athletic-type person wears their shoes almost right to the end with very, very little, or no room for movement because they want a glove-like fit," said Chow.
"It's more the average person that prefers a little bit more room because generally by the end of the day their arch might relax a little and their foot elongates."
Having a shoe that is too tight, or not long enough, can cause problems, cautions Schumacher.
"You want to have proper length as well or you may hit the tip of your toe, which will give you black toe nails, a bruising of the toe nail that turns it black. Or loose nails where the nail may fall off."
Mariam Aziz, a footwear sales associate at Sport Chek on 72nd Avenue, said something many people don't take into consideration when shoe shopping is the slight swelling of the foot that often occurs after being on your feet for extended periods of time.
"When you're running or even standing for a long time your blood rushes down, your feet swell," said Aziz. "Whenever you're buying shoes, if you haven't been standing all day, then you need to get something with a little extra room."
The Surrey International World Music Marathon happens Sept. 28 to 30 and features a marathon, half marathon and a fun run for kids. It will also feature a 5K concert run, where a variety of cultural bands will be playing on stages set up along the route, with a big concert to cap the day.
For more information on the Surrey International Music Marathon, visit us online at thenownewspaper.com.