In the sport of running, it's the most basic and important piece of equipment, yet it's often the most overlooked.
Parkersburg' Dorsey Cheuvront was on hand to address a crowd of approximately 30 runners on the importance of running shoes and apparel at the fifth session of the 10 Weeks to the 10K runner's series.
"It's amazing how many runners are out there with the wrong shoe," Cheuvront said. "Basically, you have three foot types, and let's say you have someone with flat feet using a high-arch shoe, you're doing more harm than good.
"I myself went three or four years before I knew what type of shoe was best for me."
Cheuvront, who has the title of Elite Athlete Coordinator for the Greater Clarksburg 10K, has the duties of bringing in celebrity runners such as Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter.
He says in the constantly changing world of running, even a veteran of the sport can come away with helpful information in what seems like an otherwise basic topic.
"Companies are always changing their product," Cheuvront said. "At something like this, a beginner can help get more information about what type of shoe to select and it helps a more experienced runner keep up with latest product."
Cheuvront said one company can have as many as 15-20 different running shoes alone. They in turn, alter their design by feedback from people such as Cheuvront, as well as other runners.
What can you expect when shopping for shoes?
Cheuvront said to plan on spending anywhere from $60-$90. A good pair should last 400-600 miles or nine-12 months.
"Running is a relatively inexpensive sport to get into, but shoes are the one thing that's going to cost you some money," Cheuvront said. "It's the one thing you don't want to skimp on. A question I get a lot is what shoe to buy. That's going to be different for each person.
"I tell people to go out and talk to someone who knows running, try a different shoe and see how it feels. It could really make a big difference in a race."
Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444.