After months of training, thousands of seasoned runners yesterday took to the streets for the Dubai Marathon.
But as any athlete can attest, whether you are tackling the three-kilometre fun run, the 10km road race or the gruelling 42km marathon, a decent pair of shoes can be just as important as your overall fitness.
Although the differences may be subtle, there are certain elements to look for in a quality shoe that will provide maximum speed, stability and comfort.
Soumik Mukherjee reviews three pairs of running shoes to help you reach the finish line.
Asics Gel-Kayano 17
The model For years, this company has helped to set the standard for running shoes. With more than 17 generations of footwear, Asics is known for superior design and durability.
The features The top-of-the-range shoe uses the polymer gel technology for shock absorption and better cushioning. The new upper and "ComforDry" sockliner provides a snug and dry fit. The Space Trusstic System is a mid-foot stabiliser that promotes more efficient foot function for maximum speed, while the Asymmetrical Lacing System follows the natural shape of the foot and increases comfort.
The finish line These are shoes for serious runners. Its features and quality materials will protect your feet in harsh race conditions. Even if you train regularly and take on marathons, this model should stand the test of time.
The model Known as "the energy drink for your feet", Reebok's latest offering is unconventional to say the least. The zigzag design is meant to absorb the impact on your heel and send a wave of energy through the sole.
The features Can you run faster and longer if you conserve energy? The company says everything about its ZigTech footware is designed to conserve and return energy to the athlete. Combined with unique cushioning, it supposedly reduces wear and tear by up to 20 per cent on major leg muscles, especially the shins and hamstrings. The sole is flexible and stretches according to your movement, resulting in increased speed, the company adds.
The finish line Reebok says these shoes are suitable for a 5km to 10km walk or run, so marathon runners may want to look elsewhere. The technology is also relatively untested. For an interactive demonstration, visit www.reebok.com/us/more/zigtech.
The model This company has been a staple in the sport equipment arena for years. The Adidas shoe doesn't have quite so many bells and whistles as some others, but it'll certainly get the job done.
The features These affordable shoes have a soft inner cushioning for comfort during a prolonged run or walk. AdiPRENE technology helps to reduce the harmful repetitive pressure on the heel by providing cushioning and support at the moment of impact. The special heels absorb shock, reduce the chance of injury and disperses energy throughout the body.
The finish line These shoes are suitable for short distances or casual jogging. It's also a more affordable option, but runners should note that they will not receive the same level of support and comfort with this footwear.