Below are some tips to help you choose the right running shoes for you. This is a very unique decision, so be sure to arm yourself with the right information for YOU. As mentioned on “The Right Shoe” page, a running specialty store can be a great place to get assistance and expert advice to help you make the best decision.
- Figure out your foot type
If you haven’t done so already, figure out what type of foot you have by using The Right Shoe guide. Knowing your foot type will aid you in important decisions as to whether you need a stability, cushioned or neutral-type shoe.
- Don’t focus on color, style or price
When it comes down to importance, the color and pizzazz of the shoe will have little impact on your training plan or running performance. It’s also not wise to look at price as a gauge for quality or superiority. Finding the right shoe is different for each runner, and it should be a decision based on comfort and feel. (Don’t worry…it’s highly unlikely that the only shoes that feels right will be the $150 pair!)
- Wear your old running shoes to the store
If you are going to a running specialty store, chances are good that’ll it be staffed by runners. By having your old shoes with you, they can see how the shoes are wearing and gain some insight into what shoe type may benefit you the most. It’s also smart to wear the same type socks that you run in when trying on new shoes. These will impact the feel and fit of the shoe.
- Try shoes on at the end of the day
Because most of us spend more time on our feet during than day than night, our feet are slightly larger at the end of the day than they are at the beginning. This slight change could impact how your shoes will fit. If you try them on at the end of the day, you ensure a more comfortable fit. It’s much better that the shoes have a little more room than needed, than having slightly less.
- Running shoes are for running
Try not to use your running shoes for any activities other than running. While it’s estimated that a good pair of running sneakers will last 400-500 miles…this does not account for walking around and other activities. Try to reserve your running shoes for running.
- Break them in
Before you go on a long run in your new shoes, try them out for a short distance first. New shoes can be a bit stiffer and this trial run will help soften them up a bit for the longer runs. Many running shoe stores also offer the option to run on their treadmill, track or other area to test them out….take them up on the offer.
- Weighing in on shoe weight:
If you’re working towards a race PR, your mind will eventually shift to the weight of the shoe, as it’s one of the few performance factors that you can influence outside of conditioning. While a few ounces of weight can be a significant advantage for a long race, pay attention to what the reduction of weight is from. For example, a 5-ounce pair of racing flats will not have enough cushioning to safely complete a marathon. If you do choose a running shoe for racing, make sure you try them on a tempo run or training run prior to the race…race day’s a bad time to experiment with new gear!
- Don’t fix what isn’t broken
If your tried-and-true running shoes are working for you, don’t feel the need to switch just for change’s sake. A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to save $10 and try a new brand….I ended up wasting $60.
- Figure out your foot type
In summary, choosing a running shoe is a very individual decision. You’ll probably find that once you find one that ‘works’, you’ll be a faithful customer for years. On some occasions, I’ve bought 2 and 3 pairs of the same model when they go on sale…but beware of spousal resistance to this “good-deal” policy ;-).