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Choosing the Best Running Shoes:
A Step by Step Guide
The fact that you don't need much to run is the very reason that what you do need has to be right. And while you can fret about the brand of your t-shirt and the length of your shorts, only one thing really matters: your shoes.
Finding the perfect pair of running shoes isn't as simple as just picking a design that you like in your size; you need to understand your body and your running style first.
Know your feet like the back of your hands
When was the last time you properly looked at your feet? Do it now. Are they wide? Or are they slim? Do they have a low-arch or a high-arch?
All of these factors affect how you run and should influence your choice of running shoes. Not understanding your feet and failing to recognise their unique features can lead to serious long term injuries.
Pronation is the way that your feet land and push off when walking and running. There are three main types of pronation.
- Neutral Pronation - Your feet land evenly and you push off using all toes.
- Over Pronation - Your feet turn inwards and you push off using your big toe.
- Under Pronation - Your feet turn outwards and you push off using your little toe.
Neutral pronators have nothing to worry about; your feet are fine. Over and under pronators, however, may benefit from a pair of running shoes designed especially to counter the effects of your pronation.
How do your feet pronate? Find out here
Know your route
Where you run can be just as important as how you run when it comes to choosing running shoes. Although you probably tell yourself otherwise, running on a treadmill in the gym doesn't compare to running on the road.
Treadmills provide a consistently smooth surface for your feet, lessening the impact of each step and reducing the stress on your joints. There are no curbs, drain covers or leaves to deal with, and no people, lamp posts and traffic lights to avoid.
Running shoes for where you run
- In the gym - Lightweight and versatile running shoes with all-round protection.
- On the road - Cushioned, hard-wearing and shock absorbent training shoes.
- In the country - Durable, cushioned and waterproof trail running shoes.
- On the track - You're a pro! Keep them light and consider buying spikes.
Breaking in your running shoes
The first thing anyone does when they receive new shoes is try them on. But simply standing still isn’t going to tell you much; you need to get out and run.
As long as they fit ok, there’s no reason why you can't do this straight away. Start with a few short walks and light jogs to get a feel for your new shoes and take careful notice of how your feet feel during and after running.
It's normal for your trainers to feel slightly stiff and tight when you first wear them, but a good pair should adapt to your feet after a couple of outings.
Stop if you feel pain
**Although it's usual for your new running shoes to feel slightly uncomfortable to begin with, excessive pain in your feet while running usually signals a bigger problem.
Identify the part of your foot that hurts and work backwards to find the source. It might be something as simple as tying your laces too tight but could be due to the way your feet pronate.
Remember: prevention is better than cure. Always take time to check your feet before you buy running shoes to find any potential problems before it's too late.
Help with buying running shoes online
Are you worried about buying the wrong running shoes online or are you still confused about pronation? Take a look at our other running buying guides below for tips and advice to put your mind at rest.
Recognising Pronation - Choosing the right shoes for your running style
Which brand to buy?
Your new running shoes don't have to be expensive, but at the same time, they shouldn't be cheap either.
Our huge range of running shoes includes styles from top brands like Asics, New Balance, Reebok and adidas. You don't have to compromise on quality to get the technology and comfort your feet deserve.