How to Choose Running Shoes

The Number One Guide on How to Choose Running Shoes

Are your running shoes looking rather tired, and maybe even a bit angry? Is your lacing frayed, insoles worn, and material tearing? If you’re stubborn like me, then you most likely clutched onto your shoes until you physically couldn’t wear them anymore. It’s probably time to thank them for their service, gently say goodbye, and move on to a new pair of running shoes.

You’re not doing anyone any favors if you keep running in your old shoes; your feet, spine, and overall posture could be affected without any proper cushioning or support. And despite your loyalty for some brands, it’s important to note that different companies use different biomechanics and interior designs that extend further on how it looks. 

So, how do you pick the right running shoe? 

1. Set your budget.

This is probably one of the bigger deciding factors when shopping for a pair of shoes. How much do you want (or can afford) to spend? It coincides with branding and style too, so this part is entirely up to you depending on if you want to stunt while you run. Whether you’re a Nike junkie, a fan of Asics, or prefer New Balance instead, it’s your preference.

But spending more money doesn’t necessarily mean it prioritizes the way it looks, either. You pay for quality. When’s the last time you bought a new pair of running shoes? If you can’t remember, that could mean one of two things: the ones you bought were made pretty well, or you don’t run as much as you think you do. Let’s assume it’s the former.

Orange Running Shoes

2. Visit the shop or buy online.

Once you set your budget, you can hit the shops around town, find an outlet, or search online for your new shoes. There are pros and cons for both. There’s nothing quite like trying on a good pair of shoes in real life–the look, touch, smell–it’s like shopping for a new car, but with a way smaller budget.

However, shopping online has its perks too. Websites like Sneakers Ninja do all of the dirty work for you; they find top-selling running shoes and then show you where to get them for the cheapest price. Although you may lose out the personal touch, you gain all the benefits of not having to leave your house and drinking in excess details and information you probably wouldn’t get from a bored employee at the store.

3. Check your size and shoes fitting

This might seem like an obvious point, but it’s an important one. How many times have you bought a pair of shoes from a brand straying from your go-to company, only to find that your usual size is too small or too big? Your foot shape differs from others, so you have to know what type of shoe is best suited for your feet.

The main types of different types of shoes include neutral shoes, support or stability shoes, and motion control shoes. Neutral shoes are pretty much your standard shoes for those who don’t need extra support for their feet. Stability shoes are designed a little stiffer than your standard shoes with dense medial posts inside the shoes so your feet don’t overpronate, or roll inwards when you run. Lastly, motion control shoes do exactly what you think it does – it exercises complete control of your feet. They are unmoving, very stiff, and provide the most support.

4. Check your foot arch.

If you’re unsure of which type is the right shoe for your feet, checking the arches of your feet will help. For a simple, yet accurate arch and gait analysis, you can try doing a “wet test.” All you need is a brown paper bag or newspaper and a bowl of water to dip your feet in. Make sure you only wet the bottom of your feet and shake off any excess water before you imprint your foot on the paper. Based on the visibility of your imprint, you can see if you have low arches, medium arches, or high arches. 

Low arches indicate flat feet, which means you ideally need stability or motion control shoes. If you have medium arches, aim for neutral shoes. For runners with high arches, you need neutral shoes as well, but choose a pair of running shoes with ample cushioning for increased support.

5. Choose a shoe best designed for your running style.

How do you run? An easy way to check is to take a look at the wear pattern of the soles, along with checking the arches of your feet. If your soles are worn near the ball of the foot and a little at the heel, then you probably have neutral pronation. Overpronation is when your feet tend to roll inwards, so your soles will be worn the most along the inside edges of your running shoes. There is also under-pronation, or supination, which is when your feet roll outwards as you run, so the outward edges of your shoes will have the most impact.

6. Consider the surface you will be running on. 

Running on grass, earth, or concrete should factor in your decision-making because of the minimal or maximal force shock absorption necessary to ease your running and maintain your health. Every step you take on the ground, your body intakes a shock almost five times your weight. That’s why the type of shoe you wear will give you the proper arch support and level of cushioning you need to minimize the amount of shock your feet and body repetitively absorbs.

7. Consider a half-size larger.

Although your shoe fit should be snug on your sides, remember that it’s always better to consider a half-size larger than smaller. If you’re unsure of the fit, try aiming for a thumbnail’s width of space in the toebox. This will guarantee that your feet won’t become too cramped on your long runs.

Final Takeaway

You may know what type of shoe you want in your mind, but remember that the interior factors matter more than its looks. If you take all of these tips into consideration, you’ll find the best running shoes suited for you, while maintaining longevity and reliability.