When shopping for running shoes, it can be overwhelming to know which types of shoes that you should choose, because there are so many options available. Many people think that the best running shoes are those that feel the most comfortable in the store, but the truth is that there are other things that need to be considered as well.
Table of Contents
- 1 Different Types of Shoes
- 2 Foot Size and Shape
- 3 Type of Pavement
- 4 The technology of Running Shoes
- 5 When To Buy Running Shoes
- 6 Where To Shop For Running Shoes
- 7 Start Out Slowly
Which running shoes should I buy?
What type of shoe is the best for a half-marathon or a marathon?
After a long search, I put all the information together to help runners of all levels, from beginners to experienced, choose the right running shoe.
Different Types of Shoes
I found this great video from The Running TV that briefly introduces the different types of running shoes that you can buy.
It can be easy to focus too much on the things that don’t really matter, such as the brand of shoe, the colors, or the appealing design of the shoes. Running shoes for women are especially tricky when it comes to appearance because it is common for a woman to choose her shoes based on the brand or the color, instead of focusing on the way the shoe fits her foot.
The type of running that you do will impact the type of shoes that you should wear: trail running and road running are very different, and require unique features in the shoes. There are other types of shoes to consider, such as minimalist or barefoot shoes, as well as motion control or support shoes. The goal of this website is to help you understand the features that you should be looking for in a running shoe, in order to determine the best shoe for your needs.
Runners with neutral will prefer Cushioning shoe Runners with good biomechanically midfoot or forefoot strike should consider buying this type of shoe.
Stability shoes are designed for runners who overpronate. A dual-density midsole provides more support and helps to correct a possible inefficient running form.
Motion Control shoes have the most support, and it indicated to runners with excessive overpronation. Large frame runners will like motion control shoes.
The lightweight shoes are built with high technology materials that make them lighter. Runners looking for faster-paced training and racing should try a lightweight shoe. This type of shoe is perfect for interval training and speed work out.
Are you training to beat your PR (personal record)? These shoes are designed for speed. They combine lightweight and minimalistic characteristics.
Minimalist shoes have minimal cushioning/support, a balanced heel-to-drop, and very flexible midsole. This type of shoe is recommended for efficient, lightweight runners.
Barefoot shoes simulate the feeling of running barefoot. Many runners were inspired by the best-selling book Born to Run by Chris McDougall. The Vibram FiveFingers was one of the first companies to release this type of shoe in the market.
Opposite of minimalist the Maximalist running shoe has high cushioning and a dynamic midsole. The shoes look very bulky, but they aren’t necessarily heavier.
Trail shoes are different than road shoes. Cushioning isn’t the most important feature when you are running off-road. When the terrain varies, you should look for a trail shoe that offers good traction and more stability. Most of these shoes have a low profile and a wide toe box.
Foot Size and Shape
Before you choose a shoe style, it is important that you understand your foot size and shape, because these things can impact the type of shoe that will work best while you are running. It is surprising to see how many people don’t understand their actual shoe size, and many people often select a shoe that is a half- or full-size too small.
Keep in mind that shoe sizes vary depending on the manufacturer, so you will need to measure your foot and try different sizes in different brands in order to find the perfect fit. When you go to a professional running shoe store, the retailer will be able to help you measure your foot and find a few good options for you to consider. Usually, it is good to move up a half size or full size from your regular shoe.
In addition to the size of the foot, you should also consider the width and shape of your foot. The way your arch sits and how much of your foot contacts the ground when you run can have an impact on your comfort levels in the shoes that you choose. The retailer can help you to determine if you have neutral pronation or an underpronation so that you can choose a shoe that will offer cushion and support for the way your foot rolls while you are running.
If you have overpronation, then you should be looking for a shoe with a “straight last” which helps with the control of the inward motion of the foot as you move. Neutral pronation needs a “semi-curved last”, and an underpronation needs a curved last; which helps to promote inward motion in the curved shape of the shoe.
Type of Pavement
One of the important things that you should consider is the type of pavement that you will be running on, or if you will be running on dirt.
With trail running shoes, they are specifically designed for trails that are unpaved and rough. These shoes help with traction, support, and stability through aggressive soles on the outside section of the shoe. The fortification within the shoe is beneficial to protect your foot from rocks and other obstacles that you might be stepping on during your run.
On the other hand, road running shoes are better for running on smooth surfaces, such as pavement like asphalt or cement. Theses shoes are lighter than the trail running shoes and a little more flexible, and they are designed in a way to protect your foot as it makes repeated contact with the hard surface of the pavement.
If you have road running shoes and you are planning to go trail running, then you can still wear your road shoes on the trail. But, those shoes might not have as good of a grip as that of trail running shoes. So, if you are planning to do a lot of trail running, then you should consider choosing a shoe that will offer more grip and traction that is needed on the loose surfaces of the dirt trails.
The technology of Running Shoes
Technology has allowed us to create different features that can impact the way the shoe performs. Everything from the outsole, midsole, upper mesh to the way the shoes lace up can affect the shoe’s performance.
When you try on each shoe, pay attention to how your toes and heels sit in the shoe. You don’t want your toes to be restricted, because if the toes are mashed together then it will be very uncomfortable after running for a while. Your toes should have enough space that a thumbnail could fit in that area at the end of your foot. Maintaining enough space will help you to avoid losing your toenails during a long-distance run. Remember that your feet will swell while you are running, so you need to accommodate with extra room.
Also, be sure that the heel fits correctly because you don’t want the heel of the shoe sliding around. If there is motion with the shoe rubbing on your heel, then you will likely get blisters from the irritating motion of the shoe.
When To Buy Running Shoes
The American Running Association says that between 300 and 500 miles of usage are the time to buy a new pair of shoes. This will depend on your weight, how hard do you land on your heels, and how often do you wear the same pair. My advice is to have 3 pairs of shoes that you can alternate among your pieces of training. This will make your shoes last longer.
Where To Shop For Running Shoes
A good suggestion is to go to your local running shoes’ store, try on some shoes, and compare the prices online. At Shoefindr, you can search for the shoe you want, and you will find a Price Comparison between the best online stores.
Websites like Amazon.com, Zappos, and Holabird Sports have all the major brands with competitive prices.
Start Out Slowly
Once you have purchased your new pair of shoes, you will need to make sure that you take it easy in the beginning. Start out with a short run, and gradually increase your time to make sure that the shoe won’t injure your foot. It can be a mistake to buy a brand new shoe and then immediately use it in a race or during a long-distance run. So, use your common sense to wear the shoe in before intense running sessions.