How to Buy The Right Running Shoes

Buy the right running shoe

Important considerations:

  1. Your personal running profile:  Goals, frequency, usual distances, current shoe preference and satisfaction level with that shoe, current or previous injury, inserts used if any.
  2. Shoe Purpose: Sport specific?  Of used for running plus functional training?  Terrain?  Intensity level (training or racing? distance or short interval training?)?
  3. Shoe Length.  Running training shoes should allow some room for your foot to expand.  Feet tend to move moderately within the shoe due to forces, so there needs to be about a quarter inch of room between your largest toe and the end of the shoe while standing.  Your arch length needs to match up with the shoe’s flex point to insure an even better fitting shoe.  Runners may fit racing shoes a little closer if they want a performance feel.  But longer distance races need to allow for slight swelling of the feet over distance and time.  So, a racing shoe for a marathon would typically not fit so close to the end of the toes.  Cross training shoes are fit more snugly than running shoes.  This keeps the feet from sliding within the shoe on rapid starts and stops.  
  4. Shoe Support and Cushioning:    Good quality technical running shoes have plenty of cushioning.  The amount of cushioning is a matter of personal preference.  Some like a big cushy ride, while others prefer the controlled feel of a more minimal amount of cushioning.  Support needs are more specific to the runner.  Some runners need a flexible shoe that will allow their feet to move naturally while others need more stability and arch support to help their form be more biomechanically sound.  Getting the right level of support leads to more comfortable and efficient running over time.  Just like almost everything we use one model and one size does not fit everyone.
  5. Overall Shoe Comfort and Fit:  Everybody has personal likes and dislikes and that is no different with athletic footwear. Whether you like a more snug fit to hug your arch area or you like more room for your toes or you want something that feels soft and bouncy there is a person who wants the opposite of what you might like in your shoes. Fit and comfort are a personal preference and having your athletic shoes properly fit will make a significant difference in your performance and enjoyment levels with your footwear.

What to look for in the shoe

  1. Comfort. Is the shoe comfortable when you first put it on and test walk or run in it?  No unwanted pressure or pinch from the top (upper) around your foot. Underfoot is not too soft or too firm for your preferences or needs.
  2. The shoe meets your personal length,width,support and cushioning needs.  Does your heel stay comfortably in the shoe and not pull out as you walk or run?   Does the top of the shoe at the laces feel too tight or too loose?  A fitter can ask questions that will give them the information to make  changes to accommodate your feedback.  The more information the better.
  3. Right Shoe for the Right Job Athletic shoes have become sport specific.  They increasingly are segmented by the intended purpose of particular sport.  The concept of using one shoe for all sports is long-gone and for good reason.  Footwear companies spend a lot of time evaluating the foot and the body during a particular sport and therefore design sport specific footwear to improve the athletes performance through the best footwear they can provide through current technology.