How to choose the best running shoes – quick guide

The one question asked most often by new runners is which shoes are best for me?

In return they receive the collective experiences of their fellow runners, and there’s nothing wrong with this, I see it as a bit like visiting lots of review websites.

However, there are some really simple to use tips that I’ve brought together here from experiences with my athletes and also myself which can help to make your shoe buying that little bit easier.

road-shoes

Lots of runners think that you need a certain shoe for specific foot types, and I don’t believe this is always necessary.  See my point below around gait analysis.

If you’re thinking of heading straight to minimal or barefoot shoes (which I try to use) then read the section on that first.

And finally, when it comes down to it, fit is really important, so take time trying on!

Tip 1 – Other peoples shoes

Don’t assume the shoes that someone else runs well in will work for you.  Review a few different manufacturers on review sites, then try some out in the shop.

Tip 2 – To cushion or not

When starting out give thought to the type of training shoe you might have worn previously – if you’re used to wearing a padded heel trainer, then stick to that type of shoe initially.  For example I know many runners expound the benefits of barefoot or minimalist running – I do! But getting to that point takes time.  It’s important to really take it slowly and ‘build down’ in terms of the heel drop of your training shoes.  Over how long, well again that’s individual, it took me two training years to reduce safely.

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Tip 3 – Gait analysis, is it worth it?

There’s nothing wrong necessarily with having your gait analysed, but you certainly need to be running during it, otherwise what’s the point?  Secondly, thinking that you’ll fit neatly into a category, have a shoe assigned and then run injury free is only going to lead to one place, disappointment.

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Tip 4 – Fit, Fit, Fit

Instead try out some shoes, find out what works for you.  The key thing in running shoes, the most important first step is to find the shoe that fits you well.  Is it too big or small?  Is it comfortable?  Is there enough depth to the shoe?  Are they too tight?  Too loose? Are they comfortable?  Get this right and you’re a good way there.

 

Tip 5 – Look at your form

One other important point with shoe choice – many folks think that their shoes are causing injuries when actually it’s incorrect running form that’s the real culprit.  Choose your shoes like I describe above and you will be able to eliminate shoe choice as a possible problem.

 

Does this advice help?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on shoe choice, do let me know in the comments below.

5 thoughts on “How to choose the best running shoes – quick guide

  • Tks Geoff I stuck with asics for 8 yrs Brooks for 1 and back to asics, both fit well but I found Brooks slippy and asics wear at back of the heel that can lead to blisters. Runners very important.

  • Can’t fault above but a plea if I may. Years a go I walked into a shoe store in Glasgow and was gait analysed. Well I had some bright young thing put me on in my street clothes and had me run for 30s with a chase camera. That was it and from that a whole set of assumptions were made resulting in a certain shoe recommended. I walked away with a set I already knew worked well much to the horror of the assessor and did the edinburgh marathon the day after …no issues. The moral really is if you are going to get analysed get someone to do it properly. When I do it on clients I use three separate angles, front, side, back at two different speeds and after they have run a min of 10 mins for newer runners and even after 10 miles for someone who gets issues later in a long race. How can we see whats causing the pain at 10 miles in the first 1-2 miles of a run when muscles can hold a bad posture in check and it only manifests after fatigue sets in. So I agree with the above fit fit fit, shoes for me me me and get form form form sorted for the WHOLE race not the first few mins in a shoe store 🙂

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