Shopping for running shoes is different for every runner. It is important to know what you’re foot is comfortable in and how you’re running stride can be effected in different types of shoes. There are several key elements to look for when buying a new pair for running shoes.
1. Foot strike- over pronate, under pronate, or neutral?
– For runners with pronating issues it might be beneficial to look into a shoe that offers additional arch support. This will assist in supporting the arch and not allowing it to collapse when you’re foot lands
– Neutral runners might look for a shoe with consistent support throughout the shoe.
2. Once you establish the type of shoe you need, you can look at features such as Fit, Weight, Drop, and Cushioning.
– Fit is a huge part element in enjoying you’re pair of running shoes. Fit can vary from company to company and even within different models in the same company. It is important to TRY THE SHOE ON! Some runners like to size a half size up to reduce the chance of black toes or blisters. (I personally like to size true or even small, I think it allows for a more responsive shoe)
– Weight: No one likes a “heavy” running shoe. You have to carry the weight, get a lightweight shoe, but do not sacrifice performance.
– Drop: The drop of a shoe is measure by the difference of the heel height to the toe height. There are many schools of thought on what is the “optimal” running drop. Shoes can range from 12mm to zero. If you are used to running in a traditional running shoe likely you are in a range of 6-10mm. If you would like to transition to a “Minimalist” running shoe, do so slowly. Start running 1-2 days a week in the shoe and allow you’re feet and lower leg muscles to acclimate to the new shoe. This will help prevent injuries.
– Cushioning: Cushioning is an important factor in any shoe. Some runners like a low volume/low cushion, which is nice to make a responsive lightweight shoe. Other runners prefer shoes with lots of cushion like Hoka shoes; this can be great for people who plan on running ultra-distances or just need additional cushion for knees and lower back.
Ultimately the running shoe that will work for you will be different for your friends. The only true way to know what type of shoe is for you is to go out and run!