Running shoes are a crucial part when it comes to running. For some people choosing running shoes might seem to be a no-brainer. You just go to the store, find the pair that feels best, and you’re set. But there are multiple factors for determining which type of shoe will work best for your needs.
Shoes don’t just serve to keep your feet protected. They also aid in injury prevention, improve performance and help you stay active. In fact, having the best running shoes could mean the difference between increasing your performance by up to five percent. It follows that choosing the right shoes should be a priority for any runner.
However, choosing the best running shoes for you can be a daunting task. This article will look at different aspects of choosing the best running shoes.
So if you want to know how to choose running shoes that fit your needs then keep reading this article and I’m sure that by the end of this article you’ll know everything you need to know about choosing the best running shoes for your feet.
Let’s get started.
Identify Your Foot Type
The first thing that comes into play when choosing running shoes is to identify your foot type. When determining the kind of shoe that’s best for your needs, it’s important to figure out your foot type. There are three different types of feet: high arch, medium arch, and low arch.
How To Identify Your Foot Type
To know your foot type, wet your feet and then trace wet footprints onto a piece of paper or put it on the wet sand. Then compare the wet footprints to the image above.
You can also watch this video for more information.
Low Arch/Flat Feet
Flat foot types are not uncommon and it is estimated that over 30 percent of the population suffer from flat feet. Low arches or flat feet can cause problems if you are wearing running shoes that are meant for medium or high arch feet.
People with these feet types should choose shoes that are motion control. The motion control shoe should have a higher heel to prevent excess rolling in of the foot. These people should also avoid running on uneven surfaces because their feet are not used to it.
Normal Arch/Neutral Feet
The normal arch or neutral feet type is the most common in the population. If you have no history of injuries it’s likely that your foot type is neutral.
Those with normal arch feet do not require any special running shoes. These people should immerse themselves in the selection process by trying out different shoes to find out what feels best for them.
People with normal arch feet can also choose neutral running shoes. The key point to remember when choosing shoes for normal arch runners is that they should be flexible and lightweight enough. It’s important that your shoe doesn’t restrict your foot’s movements.
If you have high arches then your foot type is known as high arch feet. High arch runners may also feel pain in the calves when they run in shoes that lack proper support. This can also lead to knee pain, shin splints, and Achilles tendon injuries.
The best shoes for high arched feet are ones with a lot of cushioning on the inside of the shoe and have adequate arch support to balance out the foot pressure. In addition, selecting shoes that have elevated heels to provide little heel lift will help prevent injuries as well as increase performance.
Identify/Measure Your Foot Size
After you’ve determined your foot type, the next thing to look at is your foot’s size. To get a better idea of what shoe will be best for your feet, it’s important that you measure both feet and compare them to the sizing chart on the product packaging or manufacturer’s website.
Whenever possible, always try shoes on before you buy them. Wearing the shoes around for at least an hour to ensure they fit well will help you decide which pair of running shoes are right for you.
You can also read our complete guide on measuring your foot.
Identify Your Running Shoe Needs
Once you know your foot size and type it’s time to think about what your running shoe needs will be. The purpose of your running shoes will determine what kind of shoes you should look for.
When running on different surfaces, it’s important that you match your running shoe needs to the type of surface. There are mainly three categories of usage:
Running on Hard Surfaces
Shoes for running on hard surfaces are usually secure and secure-fitting. You want to make sure you have a nice comfortable fit so you’re not distracted by any possible pain or discomfort.
Since the ground is solid, you’re less likely to experience physical changes during your run. So unless you’re running over uneven terrain, there’s no need to worry about keeping your feet stable. Stability isn’t that much of an issue during runs on hard surfaces so you can focus on comfort and fit.
While running on hard surfaces, it’s also best to wear shoes that are lightweight and have good traction. Shoes with good traction will prevent you from slipping or falling while running on these surfaces.
You can also read our best road running shoes buying guide.
Running on Uneven Surfaces
Running on uneven surfaces such as trails and grass is different from running on hard surfaces. Ground doesn’t stay as firm as it does on hard surfaces. So you might experience some instability that could cause injury to your feet.
If you’re running on uneven surfaces such as trails and grass, then you’ll want shoes that will provide more stability and better traction.
Shoes with a protected toe box are best for running on uneven surfaces while shoes with good arch support will help your feet feel stable while running on these surfaces. Well-cushioned shoes can also provide comfort for your feet while you run over these surfaces.
You can also read our best trail running shoes buying guide.
Long Distance Running
If you plan to run over long distances, it’s important that you choose running shoes designed for running over long distances. Shoes designed specifically for long-distance running are often made lighter and have increased cushioning.
The lightweight soles will allow your feet to properly propel forward as well as aid in shock absorption. Increased cushioning will help your feet feel less fatigued while covering longer distances.
You can also read our best marathon running shoes buying guide.
Anatomy of a Running Shoes
Now that you know your foot type, size, and running shoe usage, it’s best to learn a little more about the anatomy of a running shoe. By understanding the anatomy of your running shoes, you’ll be able to better determine which features you want as well as know what kind of components should be present in your shoes.
The upper of a running shoe is the part of the shoe that’s responsible for covering your foot from the outside environment. It’s usually a thin layer made up of various materials such as leather or synthetic mesh fabric that helps provide support and cushioning.
Typically when looking at a running shoe upper the most important thing to look at is the upper material used in manufacturing the shoe and how it feels against your skin.
Shoes with thinner upper will be more breathable making them ideal for summer runs while thicker upper will help keep your feet warm during cold winter months.
Ankle collar is the part of the shoe that covers your foot’s ankle bones and heel. It’s also the part of the shoe that provides ankle support.
Ankle collar comes in different shapes, but most are made to hug your ankles preventing your foot from slipping or rolling over. Some collars are very flexible while others are more firm. So if you need stability during your run, it’s best to choose a more secure-fitting shoe with a thickly padded collar.
The toe box is the front area on the shoe that covers and protects your toes and their joints. Shoes with a roomy toe box will help prevent your toes from getting cramped and painful injuries while running on hard surfaces.
If you run over uneven surfaces, you’ll want to make sure your shoes have a protected toe box to keep out sharp objects or debris that could cause injury or irritation if it gets into the shoe.
The midsole of a running shoe is the cushioning material that provides comfort to your feet. Shoes with good cushioning can help prevent injuries during long runs.
The midsole is made of various materials such as rubber, foam, leather, and so on. You must find shoes with a midsole that provides enough support for your feet while also providing adequate cushioning to reduce foot fatigue and prevent injuries.
A midsole of a shoe is responsible for absorbing impact forces due to heel strikes or during landing after jumping or sprinting. It’s always best to choose shoes that have high-quality midsole material.
The outsole is the bottom part of the shoe made of rubber or other different types of sole material. It’s responsible for providing traction and stability during your run on various surfaces.
The outsole gives your foot a solid and flexible connection with the ground so you can run without slipping.
When looking for running shoes, it’s important to pay attention to how sturdy or durable your outsole is. A sturdier sole will provide better traction while one that’s not durable and may wear down more quickly than you’d like.
The heel counter is designed specifically to support and stabilize your feet and prevent injury. The structure that makes up the heel counter is made of hard materials such as plastic, metal, or polymers.
Heel counters serve as a buffer to make sure your heel doesn’t slip inside the shoe during impact. If you run on hard surfaces such as concrete or asphalt, then it’s best to make sure your shoes have a reinforced heel counter to help keep your heels in place while running on these surfaces.
A good heel counter will help reduce injury while giving you more overall comfort during runs.
A sockliner is known as the inner layer of a shoe that’s above the outer sole and the midsole. It’s an optional component that provides extra cushioning or support to your foot.
The insole is another important part of your shoe because it gives your foot an overall foundation to properly land on when running. The insole supports your entire foot by providing arch support, shock absorption, and stability.
The tongue of your shoe is also an important part after the insole. It’s designed to position your foot in the proper position while running by providing extra stability and holding your foot in place.
The tongue should be made of breathable materials so your feet can stay cool even when you run on hot days. The tongue also helps protect your foot from debris or other objects that might get into your shoe while running.
Things To Avoid While Choosing The Running Shoes
Now that you know all the different parts of a running shoe, it’s best to learn what things to avoid when choosing your next pair of running shoes. By knowing what to avoid, you can better ensure that you’re getting the right pair of running shoes for your needs.
Choosing Shoes by their Looks
A common mistake that runners make is choosing running shoes by their appeal or looks. Shoes should not be worn strictly based on their looks. When choosing running shoes, focus more on comfort and functionality than anything else. It’s important to find a pair that fits well and feels good against your feet to reduce the risk of injury or pain while running.
Not Measuring Your Foot Size
Another mistake that runners make is assuming their foot size. Choosing the wrong shoe size will result in pain and discomfort while running which may invite serious injuries.
Always measure your feet using a ruler or measuring tape to get the most accurate measurement possible. If you need help on how to measure your feet, there are many tutorials available on YouTube or online that can show you how to do so.
Not Identifying Your Running Needs
You should always choose or change shoes depending on your running environment and what you expect from your shoe.
For example, if you typically run on a treadmill at a gym, then you need shoes that are designed for this type of running. If you run outside on concrete or asphalt surfaces then your shoe needs may vary depending on what type of surface you’re running on.
Choosing the right shoes for your needs is important. So it’s best to choose running shoes based on what you need and what kind of running environments you typically run in.
No matter if you’re a serious runner or a casual jogger, it’s always important to choose the right running shoes for your needs. Sometimes it can be tricky to find a pair of running shoes that fits your needs and budget.
However, by learning about how to choose running shoes and knowing what to look for in a running shoe, you will be able to find the best pair that fits your needs.
Remember, when buying a pair of running shoes make sure you’re getting the right features and benefits from your new running shoes before you run on the streets or a track with these shoes.
I have tried to cover everything you should know before buying a new pair of running shoes. But if you still have any queries and confusion then feel free to comment below. I would love to help you.
If you’re a beginner runner then you can also read our article about the benefits of running. This will help you to stay motivated when running each day.
Thanks for reading this article and I really hope that you will find this article helpful.
By Neha Saxena
I'm a writer and researcher for Shoes Suggester. A few years back I was overweight but now I’ve got my weight under control with the help of running! In the process, I’ve tried on countless pairs of shoes from walking shoes and running shoes to flip flops and even boots! It's been a great journey so far.