Running shoes have a wide range of variations with many different functions and colors. What kind of shoes do you want to wear for a run? Risa Takenaka of Shiseido Running Club is here to give her advice on how to select the right shoes.
Risa Takenaka, Shiseido Running Club
Born in Shiga prefecture in 1990. Graduated from Ritsumeikan University. A top-level runner in Japan since her student days, focusing mostly on 5,000-meter distance. Entered Shiseido in 2012. In her first marathon race, the Nagoya Women’s Marathon (March 2015), Takenaka placed 4th (3rd among Japanese), winning the Rookie Prize. Finished 3rd in Osaka Women’s Marathon held in January 2016. One of the top Japanese runners, aiming at world-level marathon races.
Look for “the Right Soles”! Athlete Reveals How to Select the Shoes for Each Use
Ms. Takenaka normally chooses a pair from these four types of adidas running shoes. “They are all bespoke so although they all look very similar, the soles are designed differently. If you want to choose the right shoes, you must start with the right soles according to your purpose. This is very important,” says Ms. Takenaka.
From right to left in the picture, the first pair is for slow jogging, the second one is for fast pace jogging and long slow distance, the third is for hard training and marathon and the one on the left is for high speed running and race. So what are the differences in their soles?
1) For jogging
This type has thick soles and absorbs impact so is gentle on your legs. On the other hand, it hinders speeding up. If you are a beginner, you can safely wear this type of shoes for a marathon race to prevent your legs from damage.
2) For fast pace jogging and long slow distance
This type has thinner soles compared to the one for jogging. These are less cushioned so you can speed up easier.
3) For hard training and marathon
This type is lightweight with thin soles so it’s best suited for fast runs.
4) For high speed running and race
This type has rubber soles and is less cushioned. So if you are well trained and have strong legs, these shoes are fully responsive, delivering the energy of your foot strike to the ground and helping you push off efficiently. This type is best for those who are aiming to achieve good instant speed.
That said, Ms. Takenaka recommends taking into account your training status when choosing running shoes: “If you are well trained, the muscles naturally act as cushion and you don’t need to rely on the shoes soles for impact absorption during a race. On the other hand, if you have a physical concern such as a pain in your legs, you must protect your legs by wearing shoes with thicker soles.”
This means that fully trained experienced runners can deliver a good performance by selecting the right soles according to their running speed and training intensity. Meanwhile, beginners had better choose the soles depending on the current training status as well as their muscle condition.
Plus, ideal soles may vary depending on the flexibility of ankles. “If you are a social runner and your ankles are rather stiff, you can find it easier to run in shoes with soles thicker on the heels because they create an angle. On the other hand, if you are a competitive athlete aiming to hit the record, you can protect your ankles with taping if they are not that flexible instead of wearing shoes with thick soles.” (Ms. Takenaka)
Running Expert Ms. Takenaka Unveils Her Best Shoes
So what kinds of shoes does Ms. Takenaka choose when she is facing a big race? “These are all bespoke shoes by adidas. They are created by the master shoemaker, Mr. Hitoshi Mimura and it’s been more than 10 years since I first asked for his support when I was in high school. I always find it so easy to speed up and run comfortably in his shoes. I have run and won many races with these. Now I visit his studio once or twice a year and have the size re-gauged.” (Ms. Takenaka) Whenever she puts on the shoes, she laces up firmly from the toes, makes a double knot and tucks the ends into the shoelaces.
Want to Know Now! Running Shoes for This Season
Last but not least, Mr. Matsumoto from Adidas Japan shares his recommendations for this season. “UltraBOOST X”, the women’s premium running shoes are well received due to knitted fabric and simple design. For runners aiming for a new record, I’d say “adizero takumi sen boost 3” can be a good choice as they are even lighter yet maintain comfortable fit and durability.”
So now is the time for you to take the advice from Ms. Takenaka and find your perfect shoes! With all the new high-functional shoes out there, it’s even more fun to choose your best running pair, right?
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