How to Choose Running Shoes

By Elsie Goycoolea. Updated: January 20, 2017
How to Choose Running Shoes

There are many types of runners and they all might need different running shoes. Perhaps the most important element of running is finding the right running shoe. Runners spend a long time hitting the pavement or terrain so making sure their feet are being taken care of is very important. On a run, runners may have to endure freezing temperatures, work through cars or wild animals, and power through undesirable conditions. Having to worry about foot pain, blisters and feet perspiration is the last thing runners want to worry about.

In this OneHowTo article we share with you how to choose running shoes.

You may also be interested in: How to Keep Running without Getting Tired

Determine the running surface

First and foremost, you must be clear about the running discipline you have chosen. With this we are referring to whether you run on pavement or hard surfaces that may need less cushioning but higher flexibility. On the other hand, trail-running shoes are often thicker to help you withstand mud, rocks and branches on the way. If you run on a treadmill, then you must look for cross-training shoes.

How to Choose Running Shoes - Determine the running surface

Have your footprint tested

When you are concentrating on your mileage and pace, it may be oblivious to you the way that your feet are hitting the pavement. Some people hit harder with the inner side of their feet while others tend to hit it with the outer side.

Many sports shoe stores offer footprint testing systems that can help you identify your ideal running shoe. Overpronation is the term employed for people who have a tendency to step with an inward roll when they run. If you look at the sole of your shoes you may see a wearing pattern at the inner sides and heel. Supination is therefore the tendency to stride with an outward roll.

Additionally, you may be required to run on a treadmill for a few minutes where camera sensors will record and analyze your running style to also help you improve your running technique.

How to Choose Running Shoes - Have your footprint tested

Complement your running deficits

Once you have identified how your feet tend to wear out the shoe, the next step is to choose a running shoe that is specifically designed for people with different pronation tendencies.

Overpronators have a higher risk for knee and hip pain and thus should look for shoes that have stability and motion control qualities. These type of shoes offer stronger midsole support and have a more resistant heal to strong hits.

Supinators may actually benefit from using shoes with high flexibility features and with stronger cushioning.

In the recent years, more and more runners have been praising the benefits of running with minimalist shoes that offer little to no cushioning and offer as low as 3 mm heel drop. If you are an experienced runner having a hard time finding a running shoe you may want to give minimalist shoes a try.

Find the perfect fit

Running shoes can be made of different materials including synthetic leather, nylon and plastic. Some fabrics may be more shock resistant but less flexible and others may be more durable but less gentle on the sole. You will only find out if you try on the shoe. At the store make sure that you try them on and walk around for a few minutes. Bend down, jump and if possible try running on the spot.

Finally, some key aspects to keep in mind are choosing a shoe size that is at least half a size larger than your normal foot size to leave some space for your feet to move around freely. Try running shoes at the end of the day when your feet might be a bit swollen up from walking around all day.

How to Choose Running Shoes - Find the perfect fit

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