U.S. Army MWR

Neon or Not?

Thinking about picking up some new running shoes? Neon running shoes can make a bold statement, but shoe color is far from your only consideration. The Adidas* shoe company did a major study in the 1980s and found that most running and athletic injuries come from:

  • Inappropriate training intensity
    Neon Running Shoes
  • Too rapid of an increase in training intensity
  • Wrong kind of shoes for the feet
  • Low shoe quality

So, how to pick the right running shoe?

A running shoe is made of two main components:

1. The "upper," a mesh, synthetic or leather material plus shoe laces or Velcro.
2. The sole of the shoe, which often consists of several layers.

In terms of functionality, the upper component is similar in most running shoes; however, sole quality can differ from shoe to shoe. It should ideally offer the following:

  • Protection against the ground and strain/overuse
  • Shock absorption/reduction
  • Stability and control of motion
  • Comfort
  • Enhancement of performance
Shock absorption choices are contingent upon body weight; when you're lighter, you can get away with having a thinner, softer sole. Heavier persons should choose a thicker, sturdier sole. Having flat, normal or high-arched feet does not come into play here; all shoes all have the same basic shape on the inside, so they won't adapt much to your arch.

As for motion control, most runners fall into one of three areas: those who run neutral, those who "pronate" (turn foot inward), and those who "supinate" (turn foot outward.)

Heavy support shoes can help straighten out the gait of those who pronate or supinate when they run. They will be more reinforced in the heel area.

Other considerations for selecting your ideal running shoe should be:

  • Indoor or outdoor running? Outdoor shoes should be water-resistant and have reflectors.
  • Short or long distance running? How will you be using the shoes going forward?

If you're still unsure about what type of shoe is best for you, go to a specialty running store where an expert can assess your specific needs. Oh, and if the shoe that fits your running needs just happens to have a neon color choice you love? Go for it!

The Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs strive to provide the Soldier and their Family with the same quality of life that is afforded the society that they help to protect. MWR offers a variety of sports and recreation programs, for more information, visit your local MWR.

*No Government endorsement implied.

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