How To Choose (The Right) Running Shoes

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how to choose the right running shoes
Published August 18, 2021

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PAIR OF RUNNING SHOES

Over the past few months, I’ve had inquiries from some of my athletes and social media followers on running shoes.

More specifically, the popular question is: how should you pick out the right running shoes?

My first answer to that question is another question: have you recently been professionally fitted for running shoes?  Given your personal running experience, weekly distance, surface(s), foot strike, pronation and comfort will determine what kind of shoe to wear, as well as whether you have wide or narrow feet, high arches or flat feet.

One of the many mistakes I see runners make in picking out a shoe is going with whatever their friend/coach or training partners use.  This is a huge no no.

Just because they speak highly of their preferred shoes doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for your feet. (See reasons I outlined above.)

WHAT’S MY FIRST STEP TO FINDING SHOES?

Head over to your local running store.  Almost all local running stores will fit you for the correct shoes that work best for you and your feet.  Things to keep in mind when you go:

  • Make sure they have a good variety of shoe companies and styles to choose from.
  • Do your best not to have any preconceived notions of a particular shoe.
  • Be prepared to possibly jog in front of them (so they can see how your foot strikes, etc…)
  • Be prepared to tell them the kind of running and races you do, or want to focus on. Letting them know your goals will help determine if you need trail runners vs road runners, or something else.

Everyone I know who gets fitted for shoes ends up kind of shocked to find out what shoe fits them best. Heck, if need be, try on all the shoes!  Haha! But, in all seriousness, the wrong shoe can lead to numerous injuries ranging from different types of tendonitis, possible stress fractures, collapsed arches, and more, just to name a few.

IS THIS THE SHOE I SHOULD RUN IN FOREVER FROM HERE ON OUT?

Probably not!

The kind of shoe that is recommended does not mean that a certain “style or brand” of shoe will be what you wear for the rest of your running career.  Your form will likely change and adjust over time, especially if you have custom running programs and a coach who actively looks for ways you can improve.

You may want to try different race distances on different surfaces thus possibly causing you to need a different shoe.  As your body continues to evolve, your choice of shoe will do the same.  Please know that this may not be the case every time you need to replace shoes.

For example, I’ve used the same handful of shoes for the past couple of years. I run in 4 different types of shoes. It took a few years for my body to adapt to get to the point of wearing four different shoes. While I personally happen to use the same brand for each shoe, I currently run in a long-distance trail, a short- to mid-distance trail, a track, and a road shoe.

(This also helps your running shoes last longer before you have to replace them!)

When I initially got back into running, I wore the same shoes for some time regardless of where/what I was running. I started to feel some unusual pain, stiffness or soreness…all clear indicators of possible shoe issues.  Do not wait or push through any type of discomfort!  Make sure you have a proper health team around you to help you stay injury free and running in the proper shoes.

ANY OTHER ADVICE?

Once you find your preferred shoe, it’s helpful to track a general idea of mileage you rack up in them.  While the way you personally run, strike the ground, and more will dictate how many miles you get out of a pair of shoes, a range of 300-500 miles per pair is a general guide to follow.  Many smart watches/apps will also allow you to track the mileage on your shoes so you have a general idea when you should start thinking about lacing up a new pair.

No matter how much research you do on the best running shoe, you might still pick the wrong running shoe without proper guidance.  Head to your local running store, support a small business, shoot the jazz, and get professionally fitted for the best shoe.

If you have any comments or questions please comment below.

BUT WHAT IF I LIKE PRODUCT REVIEWS TO DECIDE?

If you’d still prefer to read some shoe reviews before heading out to get fitted, here’s one on Merrell Agility Synthesis and one on Altra Lone Peak.

Enjoy!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Eddie Diaz is a certified UESCA running coach with nearly 20 years of competitive racing under his belt.  As a prior competitive track runner, Eddie specialized in both the 400m and 800m races. He won multiple titles and podium finishes at all levels of competition. His personal records are 47.6 seconds in the 400-meter and 1:50:09 seconds for the 800-meter.
Eddie obtained his running certification with the UESCA to coach others to their full potential and personal records.He believes providing education behind proper running plans helps empower runners and ultimately bring them to their own personal records. He can be followed on Instagram at Running 2 PR’s or his personal account here.

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