How to Choose the Right Runnings Shoes - Some Tips and Tricks

No matter if you’re new to running or an experienced athlete, having the appropriate shoes can make a huge difference in your experience. Finding comfortable and supportive footwear that complements your running style is key in order to reduce injuries. 

Cushioning in shoes is determined by the thickness and firmness of its midsole foam, which absorbs impacts when your feet strike the ground. While many runners prefer a plush, soft ride, others desire something with greater responsiveness from their shoes. 

The Shape of Your Feet

Running is one of the highest impact forms of exercise you can do, putting immense force on your feet and ankles. Shoes designed specifically for your foot type and stride will absorb this shock while cushioning against its hard surfaces – and should allow for maximum comfort while running. 

Running shoes are designed to accommodate various foot sizes and shapes, yet still allow for some degree of customization when selecting the ideal running shoe for you. When shopping, observe whether the shoe bends the way your foot naturally bends and fits comfortably (without pinching or sliding around). 

Also check that there’s about a thumb-width of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe so it allows your foot to move freely inside without pinching or friction when running. As well as considering the overall fit of a shoe, pay particular attention to its heel drop (the difference in height between heel and forefoot). 

This is an especially effective way to prevent injury by matching cushioning to individual needs. You might need extra underfoot support or prefer less cushion for greater ground contact and reduced shock-absorbency in feet and knees. 

The Type of Surface You Run On Matters

The types of surfaces you run on are an essential factor when selecting appropriate running shoes for yourself. Different terrains require different features in their shoes, including cushioning and stability features. If you frequently run on trails, for instance, more traction and lower heel-to-toe drops might be more suitable than on asphalt or tracks. 

Asphalt and treadmill running will require more durable shoes than trail runs or marathon training. For instance, Peloton instructor, Becs Gentry, emphasizes taking into account your anticipated mileage for longer distance training runs, as they will need additional cushioning and support than shorter training runs. 

Finding Comfort in Running Shoes

Cushioning of running shoes is another factor that can determine your comfort. Some runners prefer shoes with soft cushioning on the heel that cushions against impact of heel striking. Others prefer stiffer shoes that offer greater stability if running on hard surfaces or at high speeds.  

Look for ones that hug your heel and midfoot lightly while still allowing you to wiggle your toes freely without restricting circulation. the heel cup should also hold it securely without pressurization of Achilles tendon or pressure points on Achilles tendon or nerve endings. 

Why Comfort Matters from the Outset

Running shoes must fit well and feel great from the moment they go on your feet, according to research published in Journal of Foot and Ankle Research. A study revealed that 72% of runners wear footwear that doesn’t properly fit them. When trying on shoes, look for ones with roomy toe boxes, both lengthwise and widthwise. 

Look for ones that hug your heel and midfoot lightly while still allowing you to wiggle your toes freely without restricting circulation. the heel cup should also hold it securely without pressurization of Achilles tendon or pressure points on Achilles tendon or nerve endings. 

Tips for Running Shoe Comfort

  • Foam materials used in shoe midsoles should provide you with the desired sensation when running. 
  • Some runners prefer shoes with soft, plush feel while others favor stiffer and more rigid foams. 
  • Runners with low arches or flat feet often require shoes with additional cushioning in order to prevent blisters. 
  • Your new shoes should have a heel-to-toe drop that echoes that of your current pair. Matching this drop with those already owned will allow you to keep your natural foot biomechanics undisrupted. 

Your Gait

Your gait, or how you move your feet while running, is very important. Everyone’s gait differs, so understanding it and finding shoes to support it are both key steps towards preventing injuries while running. Gait is composed of how your foot hits the ground as well as any inward rolling (pronation) which occurs while running. 

With proper shoes tailored specifically to support it, you can protect against common running-related ailments like shin splints and stress fractures. When looking for running shoes, be sure to select ones with wide toe boxes which allow your feet and toes to spread apart naturally when pushing off for strides. 

This allows natural foot splaying, which helps reduce pain in toes and ball of foot areas. Some shoes also include flex grooves to bend with your foot when you step in them, or have a rocker-style midsole for quick forward motion through each stride. Both features can significantly affect how the shoe performs as you walk, jog, or run at various paces. 

Stability vs Neutral Running Shoes

How does the type of shoes affect our running gait?

Running shoes might look similar to regular sneakers, but they contain special technology designed to absorb shock and prevent injury. Most running shoes fall into two categories: neutral shoes or stability shoes. Each type may provide unique features tailored specifically to your running style and foot structure. 

For runners with low arches who tend to overpronate (roll too far inward during running), more stability than normal shoes is important. Such shoes typically include an arch side post made from firmer material in order to counteract overpronation. Their rigid heel ensures no twisting from side-to-side when running. 

Underpronators, also known as supinators, have a foot strike pattern where their feet roll outward excessively during the running gait. This can lead to issues such as insufficient shock absorption, reduced stability, and potential discomfort or injuries. This is why neutral running shoes may be best for those who supinate because they have a good mix of cushioning, flexibility, and are lightweight. The added flexibility encourages further pronation.

Tricks to Finding the Right Running Shoes

Shoes that are too lightweight may increase your risk for injuries as they do not provide adequate support – this is particularly relevant if you’re newer to running. To reduce this risk, try choosing shoes that weigh the same as what would normally be found in your footwear collection. 

When trying on running shoes, bring along any socks and orthotics you usually use when running. Also make sure you walk or jog in them to get an idea of their feel – don’t be intimidated to switch back and forth between several pairs until you find what’s perfect for you. 

If your running shoes don’t suit, request a return policy from your store and return them within a certain timeframe if they don’t suit. Don’t be intimidated to switch brands or models if a pair feels great but doesn’t offer enough cushioning, stability or durability features that fit what you need. 

A Final Recap

Choosing the right running shoes is crucial for both new runners and experienced athletes alike. Comfortable and supportive footwear can significantly enhance your running experience while reducing the risk of injuries. Key considerations include cushioning, foot shape, surface type, and gait. 

Cushioning, determined by midsole foam thickness and firmness, absorbs impact during foot strikes. The shape of your feet influences shoe selection, with customizations like wide toe boxes for natural foot splaying. Surface type matters, with different terrains requiring specific features such as traction and durability. 

Understanding your gait is essential, as it affects pronation and foot movement. For overpronators, stability shoes with arch support are beneficial, while underpronators may find comfort in neutral shoes with flexibility and lightweight design. Ultimately, finding the right fit, cushioning, and support tailored to your running style and foot biomechanics is key to a successful and enjoyable running experience.

Scroll to Top