How to choose the best running shoes
May 04, 2016
A pair of running shoes can make or break a run. It’s truly the most essential piece of gear for any runner. A good pair of running shoes will support your feet, providing the protection and comfort required, as well as will ensure a good grip on your running surface.
There is a wide variety of types and styles of running shoes available these days, innumerable technologies used and a large list of dedicated running companies producing the best possible. That in combination with specialized socks and personalized orthotics can make any runner comfortable and confident on the road.
“Money can’t buy happiness” – they say. But they can buy running shoes…
So, how to choose the right pair for you?
Running is an intense full body exercise and comfort should be your primary focus. Ask your foot size to be measured in the store and try at least a few different pairs of shoes of ideally different brands and sizes. You should be able to wiggle your toes in the toe box, but your heel should feel snug to not allow unnecessary movement. It is generally a good idea to get running shoes that are half a size larger than your street shoes, as your feet swell during exercise.
Try walking, running and maybe even jumping in the pair you are trying on. How does it feel? Does the shoe feel comfortable and the movement effortless? Not too loose or tight? Do not expect the shoe to fit better later; it has to fit perfectly on the point of purchase.
Do not use an old pair of running shoes, you have had for years. Worn out running shoes are the primary cause of injury and discomfort. Respect your hard working feet with the fresh equipment they deserve.
Visit your local running store, and if possible, get your running style analyzed based on the type of your foot and the biomechanics of your stride. Specialized running stores usually employ people with a lot of experience and knowledge in running gear, and they would be able to help you pick the right shoe for you.
If you have flat feet, you likely over-pronate (exaggerated inwards ankle roll) while running, while if you have high arches, you might be supinating (decreased inwards ankle roll). It is important to note, however that the opposite is possible too. If you pronate your feet outside the ideal range, the so called motion control shoes could serve you well. Special technologies used will support your feet better and will provide you with a more comfortable fit, also preventing you from getting injured. People with normal pronation are generally okay using any type and can use neutral running shoes.
Do you want your shoes to be more lightweight and minimalist for you to feel the road better or do you prefer a more traditional shoe with more cushioning? Depending on your running experience, environment and personal preference choose something that fits you best.
Depending on the level of cushioning and the heel-to-toe height difference, running shoes are categorized into minimalist, low-profile, traditional and maximalist. Traditional running shoes are most regularly used shoes, providing more cushioning in the heel, and are most commonly chosen by novice runners.
Regardless of the amount of cushioning, lightweight footwear will give you more joy and comfort running.
Where will you be running?
Depending on where you will be running, you should choose the running shoe with the best outsole for the job. If you will be on trails or in snowy and wet conditions, trail running shoes will be a good match for you, as they are designed with a larger and deeper tread for increased traction and thicker soles for higher feet protection.
If you are a rain and winter running warrior, waterproof Gore-Tex running shoes are the right choice for you. Be sure not to have those running shoes too tight for thicker wool socks for cold weather running.
If you are planning to spend a lot of time in your running shoes, possibly doing some recreational activities in summer or even doing some hiking, you want your shoes to be breathable for your feet to feel dry and comfortable.
So in short, the best advice would be to try a few different types of shoes and pick, what works best for your feet and your running style. Sense of comfort is actually a really good measure of the shoe fit, so do not forget to listen to your feet.