How To Buy The Right Running Shoes
Running shoes are one of the most important things you will buy as a runner. But how do you know which ones to get?
Every runner is different, and there’s no such thing as the “perfect” running shoe – only the best running shoe for you. Before you buy your next pair, think about your body and running style, and the type of running you intend to do.
Different types of running shoes
Supportive – best if you have uneven or unstable foot strike as these shoes are the most supportive style. They use higher density materials on the inner side of the midsole to prevent your foot from rolling inwards, and a straight mould for maximum contact with the ground.
Cushioning – best for extra stability in a lighter shoe, built on a straight or semi-curved mould for more contact with the ground (and greater stability). This is a popular type of running shoe that suits most beginners.
Neutral – these shoes are for people with a good running gait, as they have no motion control features. Lighter and faster than support or cushion shoes.
Lightweight – neutral lightweight shoes for light body weight and good running style
Trail – shoes made of more water repellent and durable materials so you can run on different terrains
Assess your running style
It’s important to understand your natural foot shape and the way you run. That way you can choose shoes that offer the right amount of support so you can run without developing injuries like IT band syndrome, shin splints, or plantar fasciitis.
Pronation means the way your foot moves or rolls as you walk and run. Everyone pronates to some extent – it’s natural. To find out whether you are an under pronator, neutral, or overpronator, try the wet-footprint test.
- Put your feet in a bowl of water and shake off the excess
- Walk over a piece of brown paper with your natural walking style
- Look at the imprint to assess your style
- High arch. If there is a big gap where your arch is and a thin band of imprint around the outside of your foot, you are neutral/under pronator and need stability shoes.
- Normal arch. If you can see about half of your footprint on the outside edge of your foot, you are a moderate overpronator and need a more neutral shoe with some cushioning.
- Low arch. If you have a full footprint on the brown paper, you are a full overpronator and need more cushioning and motion control from your shoes.
What type of running do you do?
Your running gait as described above will stay the same whether you are jogging or going for a PB, but it’s worth considering that you might want lighter shoes for races (especially shorter races like 5Ks). For longer races like half marathons you will need to consider stability and cushioning due to the extra mileage on your feet.
When should you buy new shoes?
As a rule of thumb, replace your running shoes every 450-550 miles. Keep a note of your shoes’ mileage by simply noting which shoes you were wearing for every run using your training log or app.
What’s new in running shoes?
Training shoe technology is constantly pushing the boundaries of design and innovation. Here’s what to look out for if you want to treat your feet to the latest tech.
New lighter foams have been developed that not only cut the weight of the shoe but actually give you more energy return for each stride. This is one of the technologies that have propelled new world records in recent years.
Carbon plates in the shoe’s sole and midsole drastically reduce how much bend there is in the shoe, which can improve running economy through much a greater force being generated from your heel-drive.