A running shoe provides cushioning that protects you from injury.
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Running shoes are designed specifically for the sport, to cushion and guide your foot and ankle movement. If you've ever suffered hurting hips, sore feet or painful ankles after running, it might be because you aren't wearing the right type of shoe. Whether you are choosing between using a running shoe or running barefoot, or between a running shoe and a regular shoe, a running shoe can provide a number of advantages.
A study published in 2015 in Sports Medicine found that running with specialized light running shoes, as opposed to running in heavy shoes, used less energy and effort. It makes sense -- lighter shoes, or no shoes at all, make each stride less challenging than if you have to lift heavy shoes. Get the benefits by choosing the lightest shoes that still provide the support you need.
Running shoes are made specifically to provide more protection to your feet than regular shoes. A midsole protects you from feeling hard objects as you run over them, and absorbs more of the impact from each step you take. The softer the midsole, the greater the cushioning and protection. However, softer midsoles don't last as long and you will need to buy new running shoes sooner.
Overpronation is essentially rolling your foot too far to the inside as you run. This causes your lower leg to tilt inward and misalign your knee. When you overpronate your foot when you run, you are at risk of developing shin splints, plantar fasciitis, bunions and other foot problems. You can buy running shoes designed specifically to fix this problem. These shoes will have a tougher material on the inside of the midsole, providing extra support and preventing your foot from rolling inward.
A proper running shoe can also fix the problem of supination, which is when you roll your foot outward as you run. This puts extra stress on the ligaments and bones on the outside of your foot, putting them at risk of injury. Your foot also absorbs the shock from your steps less efficiently, which can cause knee pain. Running shoes with soft midsoles and cushioning in the heel and front of the foot provide the flexibility your more rigid foot will not. A running store can determine if you have this problem by watching you as you run.