These days running shoes can be purchased online or in person at a store that specializes in athletic shoes and equipment. A good running shoe salesman will be able to look at your old running shoes and determine your individual biometrics and recommend the right type of running shoe for you. There is no one best shoe for everybody. It is very much an individual choice based upon whether you are flat footed, have a high arch, run on the inside of your foot, or run on the outside of your foot.
When shopping for running shoes the first thing you must do is determine your foot type. This is very easy to do with a simple ‘wet test’. Simply wet your foot and step onto concrete or a paper towel so you can see the wet outline of your foot.
A footprint with a slight curve is made if your foot is normal or average. If you have normal feet then you should choose a running shoe that has good cushioning and offers moderate stability on the medial side of the shoe. These shoes are often classified as Stability shoes and Neutral-Cushioned shoes.
A wet footprint that shows nearly all of the bottom surface of the foot is called a flat footprint. If you have flat feet, you should shop for running shoes that provide maximum support to the inner-side of the foot or to both sides, as in the case of Motion Control shoes. Choose a stiffer midsole that provides moderate cushioning and good stability.
A wet footprint that just shows a sliver of the foot is called a high arched foot. If you have a footprint like this, you should shop for running shoes that have generous cushioning and flexibility. You should not need additional support to the inner (medial) side of the foot.
Running shoes are placed into three main categories, stability shoes, cushioned shoes, and motion control shoes, based upon their function. They are further categorized according to their use such as racing shoes, trail running shoes, and performance shoes.
Motion control running shoes prevent the inward rotation of the foot, which commonly occurs with flat-footed runners. This shoe helps prevent injury by being rigid due to the insertion of a medial (and sometimes lateral) post on the inner side of the shoe. These shoes tend to be stiff, bulky and heavy.
Cushioned running shoes are made to provide balanced shock absorption without additional stability devices. They can encourage the inward rotation motion that is lacking in a runner with high arches. These shoes are also very flexible. Neutral-Cushioned shoes can be a good choice for runners with neutral gaits who like a lighter more flexible shoe than Stability shoes provide.
Stability running shoes offer features found in both of the other types of shoes but to a lesser extent. They offer some cushioning and motion control and provide stability to those with a medium arch or normal foot.
When shopping for running shoes, measure both of your feet and go with the size of the largest foot. It may be necessary to buy a running shoe that is a half or full size larger than your street shoes. It is also a good idea to shop late in the day when your feet are tired and swollen. Be sure to wear the socks you usually wear when running.
Choose the type of running shoe that is best for the shape of your foot. The purpose of a running shoe is to provide the cushioning and stability that is right for you. You shouldn’t need to break in your running shoes, they should be ready to use right away. Test them thoroughly by wearing them in the store and running on a treadmill with them if the shoe store allows it.