of the good things about running is that itís relatively cheap compared to
other sports and leisure activities.
Rita says "All you need is a good pair of running
shoes and a proper sports bra."
So what sort of shoes should I buy ?
is no such thing as a best brand, best model or best make of shoe and
providing that the shoe passes the basic Dudley Ladies quality
criteria detailed below, then the final choice is down to fit and personal
the population "over pronate" - that is to say that
they roll their feet
inwards too much when they walk or run. All of the major shoe manufacturers have a range of shoe
models designed to prevent this. These are called "stability" or "motion
control" shoes and correct the over-pronation to varying degrees, with
different shoes acting in different ways to prevent it.
be swayed by jargon from the glossy magazines, there
is no substitute for trying out several different models, from several
different brands, to see which model works best for you.
runner is different in the way they run. Different running shoes suit
different people, so with the cost of running shoes being what they are,
when you eventually find a model of shoe that suits you, then stick with it.
How do I go about buying a suitable pair of shoes and what do
I have to look for ?
Go to a specialist running shop such as Sweatshop, Black Country
Runner, Birmingham Runner or Sutton Runner. Don't go to a general "Merry
Hill" type sports chain. You need an experienced shop assistant to watch
you run in different models to see how they affect your running style and if
they have got a Footscan System, Treadmill or other measuring equipment,
then even better.
Go during the week when the full time staff are there - they will
usually be more expert than part-time Saturday staff. Try to go when the
shop is not going to be busy (avoid lunchtimes) and preferably in the
afternoons when your feet are warm and fully expanded, so that the staff
have time to help you and youíve got a better chance of choosing the right
fit for you.
Go straight to the womenís section, if the shop hasn't got a womenís
section then walk straight out and donít bother looking any further. The
vast majority of women have narrower heels than men and if the shop hasnít
got a womenís section the chances are that youíll end up with a male or uni-sex
shoe which will be too big around the heel, rub up and down and not give you adequate
The heel fit is the most important part of the shoe, make sure that the
shoe does not move up and down on your heel when laced correctly and that
there is plenty of room in the toe-box to allow for expansion when your feet
Run in the shoes. Don't just put them on, run around the store in them
and if theyíll let you, then running up and down the street in them is even
better. You need to feel comfortable in them, as well as be reassured that
they have the right degree of stability for you. If the shop won't let you
do this, go to one that will.
Below is the Dudley Ladies Guide to Choosing a
Good Pair of Training Shoes.
|STEP 1 - If
you know that you over-pronate, look for a pair of shoes with either a
reinforced heel counter or grey higher density mid-sole on the inside
(medial) part of the sole. (If you over-pronate, your old shoes will either
be excessively worn down on the outside of the heel or the medial side of
the heel counter will have collapsed). If you are a neutral runner then just
make sure that the mid-sole (Thatís the white bit of rubber between the sole
and the uppers) is at least 1Ē thick at the heel end.
STEP 2 - Pick up the
shoe and press / squeeze the Heel Counter with your finger and thumb.
that surrounds your heel at the rear of the shoe should be strong and
firm. You should not be able to collapse it
STEP 3 -
Some Heel Counters extend quite high up the back of the heel. These are
called Achilles Protectors but do nothing of the sort and if they are too
firm and inflexible may cause injury. So make sure the top of the Heel
Counter is soft and bendable.
|STEP 4 - Try
and bend the Sole of the shoe in the middle. If you can bend the shoe,
heel to toe then put it back, it will not have enough support for you.
|STEP 5 - Try and bend the Toe Box area
of the Sole of the shoe where your actual toes bend. If you canít flex the sole here then put the shoes back, they will
be too rigid for you.
|STEP 6 - Try
to twist the shoes like you where wringing out a cloth. If you can twist
them appreciably then put them back because they wonít give you any lateral
If the shoe, like the
one in our example above, passes all these tests then the final choice comes
down to personal preference and fit.
Will my old trainers be alright ?
depends if they passed the above Dudley Ladies test or not and how old they are. If
they were bought from a High Street store with fashion or utility in mind
then they are unlikely to have sufficient support or resilience and if they
have been well used the midsole may have become compacted and not provide
How long will running shoes last ?
long is a piece of string? The life of a shoe depends upon all sorts of
variable factors that differ from person to person. It depends upon your
weight, your running style and how many miles you run per week etc. However
as rough guide think about changing them anywhere between 300 to 800 miles.
will be able to see when your running shoes are past it when the midsole
loses its bounce and cushioning (you often see deep creases or signs of
stress on the outside of the midsole). A good running shop will tell you
whether your shoes have more miles in them or need to be replaced.
Do I need a sports bra ?
Even women with a modest bust should
wear a sports bra for the simple reason that running without one is just
three basic types, Encapsulated bras which separate and support each breast
in it's own cup, Compression bras that flatten the breasts to the body and
Combination bras that compress and separate. It was originally thought
that the encapsulated bras would be better for bigger breasted women and the
compression type for the smaller woman but we know of bigger girls that
would rather have the compression sort and vice versa, so it really is down
to personal choice and you may
have to try on several different brands until you find the one that is
comfortable, does not rub your skin and is right for you.
sports bras to go for these days are seamless and made of technical fabrics such as
polyester or Supplex that 'wick' moisture away from the body, ensuring you
stay dry and comfortable as you sweat.
more information on bras go to
on the RealRunner web site,
Less Bounce or
Girls Run Too.
What else do I need ?
is a very cheap sport to get into and apart from shoes and a bra; all you
need to get started is a t-shirt or vest, shorts or leggings and some
socks. You don't need to spend a lot of money on special designer
running gear unless you want to make a fashion statement.
get more in to it and run further and longer in all weathers, you may want
to buy one or two technical or breathable garments. These are clothes which
wick perspiration away from the skin and stay relatively dry. Cotton
t-shirts can become a bit wet and sticky if you sweat a lot or absolutely
waterlogged if you run in the rain, whereas breathable / technical clothes
remain comfortable for longer. Technical gear can however be expensive, and
you most certainly do not need it at first. You might however promise
yourself a DriFit top when you run your first race or a Gortex running
jacket for you birthday.
Are there any other accessories ?
sure, if you want to spend some money you can buy everything from heart rate
monitors and stopwatches to elastic laces, from water bottles to reflective
vests. You don't really need any of this stuff, however, you can always buy
it later if and when you get more and more into running.