A Racer’s Guide to Triathlon Shoes

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You’ve finally decided to check participating in a triathlon off your bucket list. It’s now time to go shopping for all the essentials. One important feature on your list is triathlon shoes.

Not just any pair of athletic shoes will do. For a triathlon, you will need running shoes.

Do not take this purchase lightly and grab a pair of shoes off the rack at the nearest shoe store. Your purchase should be well planned and made with the assistance of an expert.

Locate a sporting goods store that offers a service that pairs you with a knowledgeable salesperson that can walk you through the process. This includes taking proper measurements and assessing your movement using an elliptical machine.

If you’re planning to participate in a triathlon, continue reading for our guide to selecting the right shoes.

Get a Biomechanics Assessment

We are all uniquely created. The running shoe that is perfect for your best friend may not be perfect for you.

Biomechanics, or biometrics, as it is also known, studies the movement of the body. Having an assessment done when selecting triathlon shoes goes a long way in ensuring you have a shoe best suited for your movement.

After the assessment, the salesperson can make the best shoe recommendation.

New technology on the market also includes three-dimensional foot-scanning machines. The 3-D scanner measures foot length, width, and volume. The information is sent to a salesperson who then matches your information to the best shoes.

Don’t fret, if the perfect match isn’t found, the information can be used to match an insole that can make-up the difference.

Know the shape of your foot

Do you have flat feet, high arches, or are your feet considered neutral?

The shape of your feet will play a huge role in selecting the best triathlon shoes. Let’s take a look at the differences.

Flat feet – One or both feet have fallen arches. The foot rests flat on the ground. This condition can lead to pain in the foot and leg.

High arches – The opposite of flat feet is high arches. In this case, the natural reaction is to place undue stress on the heel of the foot.

Neutral – Neutral feet is considered the best foot structure. The arches are structured in a way that produces the best foot motion without producing strain on the ligaments.

Having flat feet or high arches will not prevent you from participating in a triathlon. The conditions merely place more emphasis on selecting the right triathlon shoes.

Get a Gait Analysis

Common injuries can happen to anyone. The goal, whether you are new to triathlons or a seasoned athlete, is to avoid injury.

Shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and tendonitis are common issues that runners face. Running, in general, can cause these conditions. Training and actually running in a triathlon increases the risk.

A gait analysis analyzes your actual stride pattern and shows the impact of the foot meeting the pavement. The professional performing the test can provide methods to help correct any issues that may occur.

Running technique far outweighs having the best triathlon shoes. When the running pattern is off, the running shoes you select will have little impact.

Don’t be Consumed by Brand Names

Yes, it’s nice to wear shoes by the top athletic bands. Unless you’ve been signed to a lucrative endorsement deal, don’t choose a logo over comfort and fit.

Selecting triathlon shoes that give you the best performance is what matters. After having your biomechanics testing, tried the 3-D scan and had a gait analysis done, the salesman may suggest an off-brand shoe.

Don’t fret, remember, running a triathlon is a big deal. You will be training leading up to the event and may try more than one pair of shoes.

On the flipside, be leery of a salesperson who tries to push a shoe on you because it’s a brand name. If it doesn’t provide stability, it is okay to say no.

Test Multiple Pairs of Shoes

Hopefully, the athletic shoe store you visit has a treadmill on hand. This way you can test drive multiple pairs of shoes.

Ask the salesperson for several recommendations based on your foot pattern. Walk around in each and then try running a few minutes on the treadmill.

Test for comfortability, fit and movement.

Most people who are not regular runners may not know what type of runner they are. It is important to identify your running style.

Do you lead from the front of your foot? Or, are you a heel-to-toe runner? Testing out shoes will help you select the best triathlon shoes based on the pattern of your movement.

Take Your Older Shoes to Store

A good sign of future performance can be gauged by past performance.

Don’t be afraid to take a pair of old running shoes to the store with you. The salesperson may be able to determine how you run by looking at the condition of these shoes.

It is possible that you have grown comfortable in the shoe without realizing potential issues. Worn shoes will give indicators of specific wear patterns.

It is also a good idea to bring in orthotics that you may use in your running shoes, as well as the type of socks you wear.

Know the Lifespan of Your Triathlon Shoes

No matter how good they look or feel, running shoes have a useful life-span.

Look at it like changing the filter in your air conditioner. The house is still cooling, but the air may not be at its highest quality.

It is recommended that running shoes be replaced every six months. Depending on how much you run, a measurement of miles may be more useful. Once you hit the 300-mile mark, you may want to start shopping.

Did You Find Our Guide Useful?

If you found our guide to selecting the right triathlon shoes helpful, check back for more useful triathlon tips.

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