Running shoes: what you need to consider before buying

Steph Callen, from Diss and District Athletics Club. Picture: STEPH CALLEN

Steph Callen, from Diss and District Athletics Club. Picture: STEPH CALLEN - Credit: Archant

One of the great things about taking up running as a past-time is that it can be as expensive (or inexpensive!) as you make it.

I prefer to run on the roads rather than a treadmill, so goodbye gym fees.

If you love listening to music while you run, you can buy all kinds of armbands, belts and headphones for your phone or MP3 player, although I'm much happier when tuned into the sounds of my surroundings.

You can even purchase the latest fitness watches which will calculate your pace, distance run, pulse rate, calories burnt and probably cook your dinner (well, maybe not the last one) - but I've always preferred not get too bogged down with stats.

While you can take or leave the gadgets, there is one thing that all runners should agree that we need...and that's a decent pair of running shoes.

Every time I see someone running, I take a quick glimpse at the shoes they're wearing and sometimes I can't help but wince when I see yet again someone out hitting the pavement in nothing more than fashion trainers.

At best, running in poor shoes will lead to nasty blisters but could progress to serious injury.

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My running shoes are the most expensive items in my kit bag - but they're a vital investment not just in the health of my feet but my leg muscles, ankles, knees, hips, back...I could go on.

Picking the right pair can be a daunting task, however, with so many brand names, price points and varieties depending on what surfaces you run on and even how you run!

Head to your nearest sports store which offers a gait analysis (that's an assessment of how you walk and run) from which staff will be able to advise you on what shoes best support your foot shape, size, and your running style for optimum comfort and injury prevention.

And don't be put off by price or fooled into thinking the priciest pair on the shelf must be the best, odds are they're not the best for you!

Steph Callen lives in Diss and began running after gaining a place in the London Marathon. Four years on, she continues to run regularly as a member of Diss and District Athletics Club's road running group and enters events throughout the year.