If you’re a seasoned runner or if you’re just getting into running getting a good pair of running shoes is important. Many of my clients ask me how to pick a pair of running shoes that will fit their needs. I respond to them by asking what do they plan on doing with the running shoes. Are they focused on long distance running, short distance running, trails or road running?
Once you pick the distance and type of surface you’re running on you will need to figure out your running gait and budget for shoes. Most running stores will give you gait analysis free of charge. You can take this info and have them pick out a shoe or you can find a pair online based on the results of the gait analysis test.
Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for a running shoe.
If you don’t mind paying high dollar for a running shoe you can get the latest model from your running store. If you’re looking to get something cheaper than you should go online and look for the old model of the shoe that you liked in the store. Most of the time there isn’t much change with the newer model. One my favorite places to buy running shoes is https://drop.com/. Drop sells my favorite shoe Altra’s on their site for 50% but you must wait over a month to get the shoes. If you want last year’s model you should check out https://www.runningwarehouse.com/. Running warehouse has a lot of amazing running shoes on the clearance section up to 50% off the sticker price.
One of the benefits of buying the shoe from the running store is that they’ll let you try the shoe for a couple weeks’ risk free. If you don’t like the shoe most stores will allow you to exchange the shoe or get your money back. When you’re starting out this can be a huge benefit of paying full price.
Having a variety of shoes is important especially as you become a more seasoned runner. Having a shoe with a lot of padding can be useful if you feel like your feet and heels are beat up. Training with a minimal shoe like a barefoot shoe once a week can help promote a stronger foot and more natural gait. Having a shoe with a raised heel can help take pressure off the Achilles tendon when it’s sore. When running a marathon, you may want more padding in the shoe vs running a 5k that will have a lighter shoe with less padding. Rotating shoes can keep you on the road without making a small injury into a big one.
When picking, a running shoe watch out for shoe trends that recommend an all or nothing approach. At one time, there was a movement to run barefoot or in barefoot shoes which isn’t right for everyone. In Dr Daniel Lieberman book the story of the human body he explained that the human body is designed to run barefoot. This may be true but at the time we were running barefoot there wasn’t paved roads and hard surfaces like concrete. When you run on these surfaces every-day you may end up with stress fractures or foot pain. Personally, I do one easy run per week in barefoot shoes around 6-8 miles. I do this to focus on natural running form and to keep the small muscles trained.
Picking the right shoes is important when starting a running program. There are a lot of different shoes out there and one kind of shoe does not fit everyone. If you like running trails you might need a different shoe than someone interested in running on pavement. If you’re new to running pick a shoe that works for your gait. A local running store can help you find the right shoe. If you see something that looks like all or nothing running trend then you should avoid it because it may not benefit you.