Running shoes that will take you to the finish line
By Elana Mutnick
March 3, 2022
Kami Joi Hickson running the 600m against the Villanova Wildcats at the Armory Track in New York Image Credit: Harold Turk
Image credit: Harold Turk
Flat feet? High arches? Wide forefoot? There are endless factors that go into finding the perfect shoe, and it is all up to you to decide what is most important.
Whether you are training for a marathon or going for a brisk jog, having the proper running shoe that compliments your foot and your activity level is the foundation for greater performance. Finding comfort in a shoe while also seeking the necessary support will inevitably lead to a far more enjoyable run.
Dr. Ross Miller, an associate professor in the kinesiology department at the University of Maryland, says there is no particular brand that he would recommend or discredit. However, he does praise the Nike Vaporfly and its ability to make you use less energy to run at a given speed.
“The Nike shoe is made out of a higher-tech material than a typical shoe that makes it bouncier and springier. If you put 100 units of energy in here when you squish it, you’ll get about 90 percent back rather than 70 percent back in a typical sneaker,” says Miller.
Regardless of price, every shoe you run in reduces some mechanical energy away from the body with every step you take. Looking for a shoe that minimizes potential energy loss will inevitably give you the potential to be the most economical runner that you can be, said Miller.
Sophomore Kinesiology major Kami Joi Hickson is on the track and field team at UMD and says that after she was introduced to New Balance, she never went back.
“I used to love Asics, and then I was introduced to New Balance, so now I’m like a New Balance, Under Armour type person. Those are my two favorites right now,” she said.
Hickson said she does not have a brand in mind that she would tell people to avoid, but the brand Hoka could feel “chunky and awkward” for someone who is not used to running, because it has such a thick sole.
Junior Diana Liepinya, a materials engineering major and current president of the Maryland Club Running Team, had a different approach when searching for a running shoe. Liepinya says that she ran in Xero sandals almost all of last year to fix her foot problems. She now wears Topos because she prefers a lower drop and less cushion.
“It’s totally up to the person and it takes a while to figure out what works for you,” says Liepinya. Contrary to Liepinya’s shoe preferences, junior finance major Manoel Fangmo Djouokep looks for running shoes with a lot of cushioning.
Djouokep, a personal trainer at Eppley Recreation Center, said he has never focused on a brand name and only looks at the support he gets from the shoe.
“The more cushion they give me, the less impact. The cushion is going to absorb a lot of the shock, so it protects my joints,” said Djouokep.
Running is inherently a dangerous sport. According to Miller, the parameters of one’s training will have a far more significant effect on their risk for injury than what shoes they are wearing. He does not feel like a brand is known for being injurious, and each individual will get different results with different shoes.
Liepinya recommends going to the running shoe store and having them run a quick analysis on how you run to base your sneaker on your personal needs. “There is no best shoe for everyone, but there is the best shoe for you,” she said.