I just started running last year and I just bought some Adidas (Don't even remember the name) running shoes from Costco. Well after awhile my toes started hurting really bad...so I decided to invest in some Asics Gel-Kinsei. I ordered them and I'll be receiving them next week. I can't wait for them to arrive. I also invested in some trail running shoes because we run the trails and Mission Trails, Chollas lake and Cowles mountain and I alsmost 'bit the dust' running down Cowles Mountain and felt I needed ashoe with a different support. I got the New Balance MT875 and they work for me!
This is good timing for me - I just bought new shoes two days ago. I went to a different running store this time than I did 8 months ago just to get a different perspective. RoadRunner Sports in Scottsdale, AZ has a complex computer system / treadmill video recording system that analyzes all aspects of your stance/arches/running form/pronation/etc. The employees were super helpful, and I ended up trying on 6+ brands of shoes.
Bottom line - this is a highly personal decision that no one can give you an answer for. You need to know what kind of runner you are, get the right type of shoe for your stride, and then go from there. While I did find a number of different brands that felt very comfortable, I ended up back with the shoes I've been running in since last September - Adidas SuperNova Glides (the same shoes another local running store, Runners Den, fit me in without all the fancy equipment - they have some great staff).
For me, I like a snug fitting shoe that fits my foot like a glove. My feet are different lengths (fairly common, they tell me), so the sales person tried to get me to size up because of feet swelling, and to make sure I don't lose any toenails. It took some convincing, but after 8 months, 1 marathon, and over 1000 training miles I finally convinced her that I was cool in the size I had been running in.
While reading reviews is a good idea, and can give you some knowledge, nothing can beat trying on a TON of different shoes and working with a store that knows what to sell you based on how you run. If they don't look at your run and how your feet make contact, they can't give you the advice that you need. Once you find a shoe that works, then you can buy that same model somewhere else for less, but the first one is well worth the few extra $ at a specialty store.
I've been running in Mizuno shoes ever since I quit Nike. I agree, Nike is not the best brand.
I am surprised no one had mentioned Mizunos yet!!! They're pretty nice on my feet at least
I have Brooks Adrenaline also and love them. Cute, no--but very comfortable. My first pair of running shoes were Mizuno Wave Nirvanas (the first version). I adored those shoes, it was like running on pillows. I tried on the latest version and couldn't believe how much they stunk. The padding is gone and the liner is now cheap foam. I was pissed, lol.
5/22/10 First 5K 33.44
Injured but not out!
After my first two days of C25K I visited my local running store and they fitted me with Mizuno Wave Alchemy 9's. I think I tried on those, two pair of Brooks, and a pair of Nikes in the course of making my decision. The Mizunos suited my feet the best, and now that they are broken in a bit, they are quite comfortable.
C25K 3/23/10 - 5/20/10
Broad Run 5K Trail Race - 4/24/10 - 48:16
March on Melanoma 5K - 5/8/10 - 46:49
Race to Victory 5K - 5/22/10 - 44:03
Heritage 5K - 10/3/10
"He saves worlds, rescues civilizations, defeats terrible creatures and runs a lot. Seriously, there's an outrageous amount of running involved." - Donna Noble, "Doctor Who"