Finding the Right Running Shoes

Finding the Right Running Shoes
Runners of all skill levels should wear appropriately chosen running shoes to prevent injuries, provide adequate foot support and facilitate physical training. Properly fitted shoes promote healthy running activity.

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Evaluate your running needs. Consider your current weekly mileage, running goals, skill level, weight, pace, average run duration, most utilized running surface (such as trails, cement, track) and in-season weather conditions. Understand the different types of running shoe designs and their functions--including running shoes for sprinting, general running and trail surfaces. Consult a podiatrist if needed.
Step 2
Understand your foot shape. Examine your foot arch to determine if it's normal, flat or high. Additionally, consider the type of cushioning that will be required for adequate support (neutral, motion control or stability). Evaluate your running gait (such as heel-striking) to assist in choosing the most appropriate running shoe.
Step 3
Study shoe reviews. While not every shoe will be the most appropriate option for your personal needs, read the current season's shoe reviews in Runner's World or Running Times magazines (additionally, try out the "Shoe Finder" formula for custom recommended styles). Knowledge of tested styles, recent shoe updates and industry favorites will be a helpful guide during the shoe-finding process; Bring a list of your favorites to a running shop.
Step 4
Visit a respected local running store. Consider a local favorite or credible chain, such as Fleet Feet. Sales associates at specialty running shops are experienced runners, educated on brands, styles and training programs. Bring your most recent worn running sneakers to the store with you, as the tread and broken-in shape will communicate to the store representative information about your individual foot shape and running form. Share your personal likes and dislikes about your current running shoes. Additionally, go shoe shopping in the afternoon (or after a run) when feet have naturally swelled, and wear running socks.
Step 5
Ensure a proper fit. Have your feet properly measured while you are standing up. Once a style has been selected that suits your running needs, mechanics and gait, confirm that the chosen size is appropriate. Use your thumb to push down on the toe box; there should be a thumb's width of space between the tip of the longest toe and the top of the running shoe. Additionally, examine the shoe width. Atlanta podiatrist Dr. Perry Julien advises buying running shoes that are 1/2 to 1 1/2 sizes bigger than general footwear (see Resources). Jog around the store several times to validate comfort, and ask the sales representative about the store's return policy.
Step 6
Try on several different running shoe styles. Once the sales professional has suggested running shoes that are appropriately designed for your feet, experiment. Don't be afraid to try a brand that is new to you. Jog around the store or on a store treadmill for several minutes, experiencing the shoes at work and allowing the sales associate to study your running mechanics. After examining your foot strike, he may suggest running shoe alternatives or provide knowledge about your running form. Be prepared to spend upwards of $100 for high-quality running shoes.
Step 7
Break in new running shoes. Wear your new shoes around the house and for shorter distance runs to prevent blisters, aches and pains. Don't wear brand new shoes for a running event. Consider utilizing a blister preventative--such as Body Glide--and break in new shoes slowly over 2 or 3 weeks. Write the purchase date in permanent marker on the sole of the running shoe to help keep track of when to buy the next pair.

Tips & Warnings

 
Consider buying two pairs of running shoes and alternating usage. Don't buy a pair of running shoes based on the color or design looks. If you wear running insoles, be sure to try new shoes on with insoles before buying.
 
Consider buying two pairs of running shoes and alternating usage.
 
Don't buy a pair of running shoes based on the color or design looks.
 
If you wear running insoles, be sure to try new shoes on with insoles before buying.
 
Replace running shoes every 250 to 400 miles to prevent injury and provide adequate foot support. Don't assume your shoe size. Get properly measured each time you shop for running shoes.
 
Replace running shoes every 250 to 400 miles to prevent injury and provide adequate foot support.
 
Don't assume your shoe size. Get properly measured each time you shop for running shoes.

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