Here's How to Choose the Best Running Shoes for You

Here's How to Choose the Best Running Shoes for You

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It's time to pound some pavement, people!

Running is more than just a way to get in your cardio for the day, but there's something about how running clears your mind of worries and cares that makes it the perfect way to work out.

But before you can hit the streets or jogging parks, you have to make sure you have the right gear. Shirt, check.  Shorts, check. Socks, check.  Rockin' playlist, check.  Now it's time to find the right pair of running shoes.

Style of Running Shoes

You cannot buy a pair of hiking shoes, walking shoes, or sports shoes if you're going to run. The design of these other athletic shoes just won't work for running, so make sure you are buying running shoes.

  • Trail running shoes are used to run on dirt paths, in the forest, or pretty much anywhere off-road. They have more stability, support, and cushioning, but they're heavier.
  • Road running shoes are used to run on streets and concrete, as well as in the gym. Lightweight and flexible, these shoes offer good support for hard, flat surfaces.

Of course, you'll hear a lot about minimalist shoes. These shoes mimic the natural shape of the foot, but with just enough protection to prevent wear and tear on the skin of the bottom of your foot.  But, if you're a newbie runner, you should start with regular running shoes before going minimalist.

Finding the Right Fit

Step 1: Measure your feet - That's right, you need to measure your feet. One may be larger or wider than the other, or you may be accustomed to wearing a size too small. Measure your feet at the shoe store, and find shoes of that size.

Step 2: Check your arch - Get your foot wet and step on a piece of paper. Take a look at the footprint, and see what it looks like. Those with high arches will have a very narrow mid-footprint, and the heel and ball of the footprint may not even be connected. Those with flat feet will have a very wide, straight footprint. A normal arch is somewhere in the middle.

Step 3: Check your pronation - Overpronation means you land with your foot twisted inward at the ankle, while supination means your foot is twisted out as you stride. Both strides can lead to knee and ankle injuries, so you need to buy shoes that correct your stride. To figure out your pronation, look on the soles of your current pair of shoes to see where most of the wear is. If the inside edge of your shoes are worn, you are an overpronator. If the outer edge is more worn, you are a supinator. A neutral (read: healthy and safe) stride will wear out the shoes evenly.

Step 4: Buy the right shoes for your running style - Those with a normal stride and a normal arch need Stability style running shoes. Overpronators need Motion Control style shoes. Supinators need Cushioning style shoes. (If you don't know which are which, ask the shoe store clerk for help.)

Here are some tips to help you find the perfect fit:

  • Go at the end of the day when your feet are larger. (Look it up, it's true!)
  • Wear the same socks you'd wear when running. If you wear orthotics in your shoes, bring them.
  • Learn to tie your shoelaces according to the size, shape, and arch of your foot.
  • The right shoes should feel comfortable immeadiately, and there shouldn't be a breaking in period.
  • Get the right last according to your arches and pronation. Straight lasts are for overpronators and those with flat arches. Semi-curved lasts are for those with normal arches and pronation. Curved lasts are for supinators with high arches.