Running is the simplest exercise you can perform to keep in shape. But for some, this can cause a lot of soreness, especially in the calves, if you don’t have the appropriate running shoes.
Having the correct equipment is important for any job you wish to perform and running is no different. If you want to stay healthy by exercising, it’s important that your whole body is being cared for properly, including your feet.
The correct pair of running shoes which are suited to your foot type will help to reduce your risk of developing calf strain and other injuries caused by repetitive impact on hard surfaces.
With a pair of comfy running shoes, you can say bye bye to calf pain and enjoy running more often, paving your way to better health.
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Best Running Shoes For Women
Best Running Shoes For Men
Calf pain when running is not normal so you should not have to put up with it. If you are experience calf pain, then that is a sign something is wrong and that it needs to change.
It can be due to a few of reasons besides poor fitting running shoes, which we will discuss in more detail below:
Not running properly can cause calf pain. Most people run with the heel of their foot hitting the ground first, which can cause calf pain when running.
This is because the jarring impact of your foot against the ground can be felt more strongly in the lower leg due to poor running technique.
Instead, if your forefoot touches the ground first, then some of the shock of your foot hitting the ground is removed from the heel and so there is less pain in your calf.
Your running form can be easily changed by taking smaller strides. You will automatically start hitting the ground with the forefoot instead of the heel.
Changing the way you train when you’re running can also cause calf pain. Running on hills, increasing speed, distance or training intensity can all contribute to overloading your calf.
Without the proper care, over time this can lead to calf strain, where the muscle fibers of your calf are torn. The extent of the damage can range from minor tears to severe ruptures.
Runners commonly experience tight calf muscles. This occurs when your push yourself to run too far for too long or you don’t stretch properly before running. This can cause pain and soreness during and after your run.
The best fix for tight calf muscles is to stretch them out properly before and after exercise.
It is well known that poor fitting running shoes can cause calf pain. Everyone has a different foot profile, whether you have a high arch, normal arch or flat feet.
Running shoes that do not account for these different foot profiles will not give you the proper support when running and this will lead to calf pain.
When we run, or walk, our feet roll inwards after each step. When our feet roll too much, that is called overpronation and this puts us at greater risk of developing calf pain. This tends to happen in people with flat feet.
That is because when we run, the arch of our foot usually compresses and absorbs the shock. If your shoes do not provide the proper support for your arch, then the shock is not absorbed correctly and it gets transferred up your calf.
The easiest way to prevent over pronation is to wear running shoes with the proper arch support or to use orthotics. You’ll be amazed at the difference a pair of good shoes can make.
If you have high arches or you under pronate, then your foot doesn’t roll enough after each step you take. This is extremely painful in the long term since all the force is placed on the solid outside edge of your foot.
There is no shoe that is specifically designed for under pronation. You can find shoes that have extra padding on the outer edge of the shoe to help absorb shock but it will not help with the issue of under pronation.
The best running shoes to wear for underpronators are shoes designed for neutral runners.
If you have normal sized arches, then your feet are generally okay when you are running. Thus, no special features are required for your running shoes and the neutral runner should be able to wear any type of running shoe that fits well.
Choosing your running shoes carefully is important to maintain good foot health. Your running shoes should protect your feet from injury and choosing a bad running shoe can increase your chances of developing foot problems later on.
Proper cushioning helps to reduce the amount of energy expended when running and also helps to absorb some of the shock from running on hard surfaces.
Heavy shoes can make running more difficult and slow you down.
A good pair of running shoes may seem expensive at first, but an early upfront cost that will protect your feet is a better option than weeks to months of pain and even more expensive physiotherapy.
It’s all about finding the right amount of support and comfort in your running shoe so that it matches your foot profile and helps you with your running exercises, rather than hindering you with pain.
There are several things you should pay attention, while buying your running shoes.
There are 3 main categories when it comes to running shoes. Two of the 3 are suited to runners who overpronate. This is because overpronators account for 70 to 80% of all runners so most shoes are designed with these people in mind.
Motion control shoes are designed for people who overpronate. Their aim is to minimize how much your foot rolls with every step. These shoes are heavy and durable and contain a number of features to control your foot’s motion.
Under pronators should stay away from motion control shoes as it will further limit the amount of pronation they have and can even increase your chances of developing an injury.
Stability shoes are also designed for overpronators but they can also be used by people with normal sized foot arches. They have good cushioning and are a good choice if motion control is not an issue.
Again, these shoes are not recommended for under pronators as it will limit their ability to pronate.
Neutral running shoes are lightweight and flexible, encouraging more foot motion.
These shoes are suitable for under pronators as they help with pronation and the soft midsole makes these shoes well suited for people with high arches.
It goes without saying that your shoe should properly fit on your foot. Your heel should be snug inside your shoe and there will be a little heel movement but it shouldn’t be uncomfortable.
If the shoe is too loose, then your shoe will not provide sufficient support for your feet and you may end up injuring yourself by dragging along big shoes.
If the shoe is too tight, then when you start running, the tightness will be amplified and you will feel a lot of pain.
If the toe box is not wide enough, then you can end up developing a whole range of forefoot problems and further undesirable foot pain. Try to leave a little extra space near your big toe as your feet swell during exercise.
For new runners, you want to be looking at running shoes that provide more protection for your feet. This is because you’re still working into developing proper running form and so it’s important to minimize any risks of injury during this time.
The more running you do, the more cushioning, stability and durability will be required to match your needs.
If you have a history of knee injuries or calf pain, it may be worth trying to determine if it is the type of shoes you have been wearing that have caused your injury.
Depending on your injury, there may be a pair of running shoes that are able to help fix it or at least aggravate your injury less.
Furthermore, having had a past injury, it is safer to choose a more protective and supportive shoe with lots of cushioning to reduce the risk of re-injury. Once you’re feeling more comfortable, then you can progress into more lightweight shoes.
Let's move on to our recommendations for the best running shoes for women.
For the best running shoes for comfort, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus running shoes are among the best available. At a price between $70 and $380 depending on the size and style you choose, with over a dozen different colors, there is something to suit everyone.
The best feature about the Nike Pegasus running shoes is the Zoom Air technology. Previously, Nike only had the Zoom Air in the heel but now they have added it to the forefoot as well. The Zoom Air gives a spring-like effect, helping you to recover quicker with each step you take.
The firmer cushioning also provides good support for your feet and improves the durability of your Nike Pegasus running shoes, extending the lifespan of your shoes.
Unfortunately, the addition of the extra layer of Zoom Air in the forefront of the shoe does reduce the flexibility a little bit so the extra bounciness does come at a cost.
Made from a breathable mesh for the upper, these shoes won’t leave your feet sweaty or clammy during your run. They’re so comfortable, you won’t be ready to take them off after your exercise routine.
Slightly heavier than the average running shoe, this may not be an issue for short runs but if you’re completing a long run then the amount of energy expended in lifting these heavy shoes can take quite a toll.
The design of the Nike Pegasus is slightly more streamlined than before, providing a narrower and shallower toe box. This may be an issue for people with wide feet as the shoes will not be able to accommodate them comfortably.
Overall, the amazing comfort and support of the Nike Pegasus is exactly what we need when looking for the best running shoe which is why we have decided to rank this pair number one.
Another option for a dependable running shoe is the Saucony Shadow running shoe. Priced at around $80, the Saucony is a lot more affordable than the Nike Pegasus and contains just as many great features which makes it one of the best running shoes.
The polyurethane midsole provides great cushioning, support and durability for your runs, with a little springiness in each step you take.
The padded collar and tongue gives a snug fit so your feet are more stable and don’t roll around too much yet are still able to provide good pronation control for neutral runners. They’re also more comfortable against the skin and the padding helps to reduce impact when running.
However, some reviewers have noted that the shoe is just a little too snug and narrow for them, so the Saucony running shoe is a really good option if you have small feet.
The stiffness of the Saucony Shadow running shoe provides more stability for your feet so if you have suffered from problems like plantar fasciitis, then this shoe will help give structure and support while on your runs.
These running shoes are very breathable with the mesh upper but they have no waterproofing features so your feet will get wet in the rain.
If you don’t mind the rain too much, the outsole is durable and contains triangular lugs. This gives the Saucony good traction and amazing grip so that you don’t slip or slide on wet surfaces.
The biggest negative about the Saucony running shoe is their weight. Heavier than even the Nike Pegasus, the Saucony is not suitable for speed. However, they are still good for training and so we have decided to rank the Saucony Shadow the second best running shoe for women.
Finally, here is our choice for the best running shoes for men.
Adidas are famous for their range of exceptional footwear. The Adidas Ultra Boost running shoes are not an exception. Stylish and sleek, these are the best running shoes which provide all the support you need for training and race day.
The most distinctive feature of the Adidas Ultra Boost is the cushioning. The Boost sole is very responsive to your movements, making every step light and less damaging on your feet.
The toe is slightly turned up a bit, providing a little toe spring which helps you to push off the ground as you’re running, helping you with your speed and efficiency.
The prime knit upper of the shoe provides more flexibility for your foot, making the shoe feel a lot more comfortable, to the point where it almost feels like you’re wearing a sock.
The nature of the weave makes for a very breathable shoe, so you can train hard without developing sweaty feet.
The snug fit of the Adidas Ultra Boost provides lots of security and support for your feet, allowing you to run across all terrain types with ease. There’s enough stability to keep your foot in check when it pronates.
Lightweight compared with most other shoes, this places less stress on your ankles as you are exercising so you can wear these for all occasions, whether it’s training, race day or just standing and walking all day.
It does require quite a bit of time to break into the Adidas Ultra Boost and for the secure, squeezing fit to feel comfortable. But once you’ve gotten used to these shoes, they’ll mold and adapt to your feet, providing great comfort until the day you need to replace them.
The price tag on these shoes is very high, ranging between $180 to $560. This is a very big put off for most people who are looking for a more affordable pair of running shoes.
If you have a bit of money to spend and want the ultimate in comfortable running shoes, then the Adidas Ultra Boost is the best running shoe for you.
If the Adidas Ultra Boost sounds great but is too pricey, then maybe the ASICS Gel-Kayano running shoe is more in your alley. Capable of high mileage, you can run in these shoes for ages and still won’t feel any foot pain coming through.
At a price of around $70 to $170 these are a lot more affordable and still contain many of the great features that make the Adidas running shoe a crowd favorite.
A large range of color options is available for your picking, other than the standard black.
The ASICS running shoes are reliable and provide much stability for runners who are overpronators, by controlling the foot alignment.
The adaptive, stretchable mesh upper is comfortable and covers the feet securely. The material is also breathable and helps to decrease the weight of the shoe and increase the flexibility.
The special FluidRide midsole offers secure cushioning for your feet that is responsive to each of your steps, helping you to bounce back and continue running.
The gel cushioning in the heel and the forefoot softens ground impact and assists with shock absorption so that running is less injuring and this will decrease the risk of developing foot or calf pains.
The problem is that the ASICS Gel-Kayano running shoes can feel quite clunky to run in. They are fairly heavy and tend to slap against the ground and make a lot of noise when you are running.
Overall, the cushioning and comfort present in the ASICS running shoe isn’t something to overlook if you’re after an affordable running shoe and so we have ranked this the second best running shoe for men.
Another option for men’s running shoes to the two we have given above is the Nike Zoom running shoe for men. Available in a multitude of colors for between $70 and $160, the Nike Zoom is the best running shoe for stability.
The engineered mesh is kind of like Flyknit but not quite the same. The upper is made from Flywire which wraps the foot and keeps the upper and the midsole together. A supportive inner sleeve surrounds the midfoot and secures your arch.
This serves to create a snug and secure fit with amazing arch support.
The midsole is also very stable and is made from 3 different density foam materials. The softest density foam is on the outside while the highest density foam is on the inside. This provides great cushioning that is comfortable even if you have flat feet.
The toe box is quite narrow so if you have wide feet this can be very uncomfortable since there is not much wiggle room.
Overall, if you’re searching for an alternative shoe that provides good cushioning and arch support, then the Nike Zoom is the best pick for you.
After checking out all these running shoes, you’re probably ready to grab your own pair and head out the door! With all the styles, technology and improvements that are constantly being made, it can be hard to find a starting place to shop for the best running shoes.
With this guide, you can apply your knowledge of important features to any shoe you wish to purchase.
Don’t forget to check out our other guides for more tips and information regarding foot health and managing foot pain.