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Choosing A Running Shoe

Posted by JDEdelman Oct 16, 2008

One of the most common questions I hear from distance runners is, “What type of shoe is best for me?”  The answer to this is not a simple one.  


There are a few factors I take into consideration before I recommend a shoe for my athletes:


The first factor is activity, what type of running will this person be doing in their shoes?


Trail running shoes should be stiffer and heavier than racing shoes.  People who are just training or running for fitness should not be looking for a top of the line racing shoe.  Competitive runners should actually have two sets of shoes –  a sturdier, comfortable pair for training and a light-weight pair for racing. 


The second factor is body type.  I don’t mean foot type, not yet. I’m talking about body composition.  The first thing I get asked when I say this is, “Why does my body composition matter?”  My answer is along the lines of, “You don’t just run using your feet, do you?” 


The real reason is this – different shoes are made to break down at different distances and under different levels of stress.  Picking the right shoe style for your body type can prevent injuries and make the activity more enjoyable.  Larger body types need shoes with more support and cushioning in their soles while smaller, leaner types have several options. Serious racers require shoes that are light-weight, a quality that can be found in racing specific shoes. 


The third factor is foot type.  People’s feet come in all different shapes and sizes and different running shoes are made to cater to those varying foot types.  The best shoes for you are the ones that fit properly. Feet should not be constricted in the shoes, toes should not touch the end of the shoe and there should be no points of pressure against the foot.


Finally, don’t buy running shoes because they are expensive or because they are new and cool, buy them for function and fit and you will be a happier and healthier runner. The best way to get running shoes that fit properly is to visit your local running specialty store and get fit in a pair of shoes that are perfect for you.

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