If you’ve been bitten by the running bug, the best thing you can do is buy a great pair of running shoes that are designed for your feet. When you start to tack on more minutes and miles, you’ll be glad to have a solid pair of running shoes to protect your joints and muscles. Ready for a new pair? Here’s how to wade through all the options and find your perfect fit.
1. DECIDE IF IT’S TIME FOR NEW ONES
Minimalist styles will break down faster than ultra cushiony models. “Shoes wear out at about 400 miles, depending on the style,” says Brent James, Product Line Manager, Run Footwear at Under Armour. “Often the first sign of wear and tear on your body is shin splints.” As the cushioning wears down, more pavement impact is transferred to your body, which could lead to overuse and stress injuries.
Not sure how many miles yours have seen? If your legs feel sluggish or achy, even after short, easy runs, it’s probably time to invest in a new pair.
2. FIGURE OUT YOUR FEET
To find the best shoe for your unique feet, you’ll need to determine your arch and pronation needs.
Arches Arches come in high, medium (normal) and low (flat). Not sure how yours measure up? Take the wet test to learn your arch type.
Pronation When you land on the outside of your foot while running, it will slightly roll inward — that movement is called pronation, and it’s totally normal. If your foot doesn’t roll in, or if it rolls outward, you’re an underpronator. And if your foot significantly rolls inward, you’re an overpronator and should be wearing a shoe that helps correct the excessive movement.
3. TRY ON MANY PAIRS OF SHOES
Many running shops offer shoe fittings, complete with test runs on in-store treadmills with cameras to capture your stride. They’ll be able to help you analyze your arches and foot strike, assess your pronation and fit you in a pair that feel like clouds. And since most stores carry several different types, you’re sure to find a style that suits all of your needs (including your color preference!). Here’s a breakdown of the types of running shoes you’ll find in a specialty running store.
Cushioned shoes like the SpeedForm Gemini 3 are great for those who have moderate-to-high arches, strike midfoot or forefoot when running and need maximum midsole cushioning and minimum medial (arch-side) support. (Not for overpronators.)
Performance shoes are designed for those who want a light shoe for racing, speedwork or daily training. Shoes like the SpeedForm Velociti are best for efficient runners who don’t overpronate.
Looking for good arch support and midsole cushioning? Shoes like the SpeedForm Europa RE are best for runners who are mild-to-moderate overpronators and need extra support and durability.
MOTION CONTROL SHOES
If you overpronate, have flat arches and need lots of support and durability, these are for you. Motion-control shoes offer maximum rearfoot control and extra support on the medial (arch) side of the foot.
If you regularly hit the trails, purchasing a rugged shoe with outsole traction and a low-to-the-ground design (for stability) is a good idea. Shoes like the Horizon RTT are made for off-roading.
READ MORE > WHY YOU SHOULD BE WEARING TRAIL RUNNING SHOES
4. KEEP TRACK OF YOUR MILEAGE
When you do purchase a shiny new pair, estimate when it will be time to trade them in and make a note in your calendar. Or let MapMyRun help you tally up the miles by setting a custom measurement and logging in after every run.
How often do you replace your running shoes? Got more tips for buying new ones? Share in the comments below!