Do I Need Trail Or Running Shoes
Once you’ve chosen the shoe type that fits your body, consider where you’ll be running. Are you running at the gym or around the block while you dodge your neighbors? Or are you heading to the woods to bound over roots, rocks, and muddy terrain?
Whether shopping online or in a store, look at the outsole of the shoe you’re considering. A flatter and smoother outsole is typically associated with road shoes, which offer more comfort on hard, flat surfaces, such as a paved road or treadmill.
Thicker, roughly indented outsoles, on the other hand, are typically found on trail shoes, which offer more traction for off-road and uneven surfaces. They’re designed to be more rigid and have better protection from roots and rocks underfoot
How To Determine Your Pronation Level
Your running gait and level of pronation should be evaluated before purchasing your first pair of running shoes. Your local running store can conduct a simple treadmill test where they will observe your running gait and make recommendations, or you can do one of the following tests:
Pronation Analysis Using Your Smartphone Camera
Have someone record you on video while you are running at a comfortable pace on a treadmill. Have them take video footage from the rear and the front and then use a mobile app like Hudl to slow the video down so you can observe your natural foot strike while running. The Hudl app is free from the Android or Apple App Store.
Pronation Analysis Using The Wear Test
The easiest way to determine your level of pronation is to look at a pair of running shoes you already have some distance on. As you look at the bottom of your running shoes, you should see a wear pattern if the shoes are old enough.
How To Buy Running Shoes If You Are A New Runner
So how do you take all this information and use it to buy a running shoe?
Determine your pronation and type of arch Figure out personal preference of fit and feel of shoe: do you want lots of cushioning, wide toe box, snug fit, etc.? Go to a running store and try a few on in person
Now that weve determined what your foot and arch look like, and weve examined all the differences between running shoes, we can start narrowing that selection down and finding a pair thats right for you.
When you are just starting out, you dont have old shoes to refer back on to see what you liked and didnt like.
Your best bet is to start with the type of shoe that best fits your arch and foot structure . Then, think about some of the features running shoes have and see if one style of shoe would appeal to you more than another. Decide how much cushioning you would like and if theres a certain fit youre looking for .
For your first pair, we recommend a classic running shoe with a 12 mm drop and good cushioning. Unless you are interested in proper running form, we suggest staying away from barefoot and minimal shoes or the new polyurethane foam.
The best place to buy running shoes is still your local, independent running store. Theyll assist you with finding a few options that best fit your foot and gait, and you can try them on right in the store to see what type of fit you like best.
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How To Tell If Its The Right Fit
First, make sure to try both shoes on and lace them properly. Wear them around for 10 minutes to make sure nothing is poking or rubbing. Good running shoe stores actually allow you to run in them to see how they feel . Other indicators of a proper fit are:
- The shoe should bend at the ball of the foot where the toes bend. If the shoe bends farther forward or behind where the toes bend, this means the shoe is too big or small .
- There should be an index finger width between the longest toe and the end of the shoe.
- The heel should be stable and should not move in and out of the heel counter.
- The foot should not slide back and forth inside the shoe when stopping or starting.
How Should My Running Shoes Fit
If you’re able to try on shoes before buying them, walk around for a few minutes. Ideally, a running store will let you take them for a quick jog on a treadmill or even around the block. Note any areas that feel too tight or loose or any parts of the shoe that might poke into your feet or ankles as you run. Your shoes should immediately feel comfortable when you slip them on.
Standing in your shoes with your heel against the back of the shoe, you should have about a thumbnail’s width between your big toe and the front of the shoe. Toe movement is key, too you should be able to use your toes for balance and propulsion while running. If you can get a comfortable toe wiggle going, then you’re good.
If you’re shopping online, track down the sizing chart and get a sense of whether the shoes run true to size. Some brands or stores will let you take your shoes for a trial run upon delivery and return them after a certain number of days, weeks, or even months if they aren’t a good match.
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Where To Go From Here: Starting The Search For Your Best Road Running Shoes
With this all in mind, it can still be tricky to narrow your choices down to just a few pairs you that will suit your needs. If youre still feeling unsure as to what your best shoe looks like, head over to our shoe finder here, answer a few questions and see what results you find for your next new pair. Weve also highlighted some of our road running fan favorites and most popular models below is your next pair one of these?
What Shoe Brands Are Popular
There are dozens of brands out there churning out quality shoes these days, and it would be impossible to mention them all but there are a few brands that have unwavering popularity and have came up time and time again when Ive spoken with other runners and running store employees
If youre looking for my latest marathon shoe recommendations, check out my Best Marathon Running Shoes page.
Asics, especially the Nimbus line, prove to be a perennial favourite for part-time runners and people starting out. They provide good cushioning and support and have a decent build.
Brooks are dependable and often used by novice intermediate runners.
For the more seasoned runner, Salomon shoes have become the go-to for many seasoned distance runners their trail running models such as the Speedcross have got a great build and a good reputation. For long distance ultras, Hoka One Ones, and other maximalist styles, have also taken over a huge section of the market and are probably a close second in popularity to Salomon. Inov-8, New Balance, Saucony, and many more are always visible at the start line of any good race.
But dont feel obliged to go with the herd if you already have a pair of shoes youre comfortable with!
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Other Features To Look For
Waterproof-breathable membranes are good if youre running in rainy or snowy months. GORE-TEX® trail running liners are one type of waterproof membrane , and they help keep your feet drier and warmer on cold, soggy days. They tend to add a bit extra padding, so you may need to go up a half size. They could be hotter on your feet in warm weather.
Mesh and fabric uppers suit hot, dry conditions. These materials are light and wonderfully breathable, but are prone to abrasion. Mesh can also be practical for creek crossings, since it lets water drain and your shoes dry quickly.
Gusseted tongues help keep small pebbles and stones out of your shoes.
Closures will vary from shoe to shoe. Some shoes use classic lacing systems, while others use a quick pull system that can prevent the laces from loosening during long runs. You can even find shoes with pockets to tuck in the laces.
Drop is the difference in height between the heel and forefront midsole cushioning. You typically want a similar type of drop that you use in your road running shoes. Our shoes are grouped by 912mm drop , 58mm drop or 04mm drop . Read more about drop on the main running shoes page.
Choose A Good Shoe Manufacturer
There are many manufacturers of running shoes in China, so how do choose a good running shoe manufacturer?
This blog describes in detail:
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How To Check Your Shoe Fit
|A properly fitting running shoe should feel snug in the heel and midfoot, with wiggle room around the toes.|
|While standing, check for proper length and width by pressing your thumb down next to the ball of your foot and around the toes. A good fit should allow for half to a full thumb’s width of space.|
|Hold the back of the shoe and try to raise your heel. There should be little to no movement.|
|Check the eyelet rows on either side of the tongue. These rows should be close to parallel with each other.|
Test : The Wet Foot Test
This test shows you the arch of your foot. The arch is a good indicator of your pronation. Lets find out how:
You will need:
Steps to perform the wet foot test:
If your footprint looks something like the first shape in the above picture, you are a normal pronator. This is the most common foot type.
If you can see nearly all of your foot-print , that means you have a low arch and there is a good chance of you being an overpronator.
If you can see just the heel and the ball of your foot like the third shape, you have a very high arch. And chances are, you are an underpronator.
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Cushioning Affects Comfortbut That Magic Amount Is Individualized
Cushy foam in the midsole of your shoe cradles your foot and absorbs the force of the impact generated each time it hits the ground. Different brands and models use different types of foam and also vary its positioning. This is one of the most critical factors when it comes to how shoes feel, according to Gray.
Most shoes use ethyl vinyl acetate, or EVA, which is lightweight, durable, and easy to mold and shape. Some sneakers, like Adidas BOOST, use blown thermoplastic polyurethane , which is also lightweight and bounces back quicker, Gray says. However, its often more expensive to manufacturea cost thats usually passed on to the buyerand it might not last as long.
One type of foam is not any better than the other. Again, you should be picking the kind that feels the most comfortable to you. But that doesnt mean you should always choose shoes that feel pillowy-soft the moment you lace them up, Gray says. Make sure you run for a minute or two in the shoes.
Another reason you dont want to go gangbusters on the cushioning is that it affects the weight of the shoe: The more foam you have, the heavier your shoe, and the more energy it takes to move it through the air with each step, exercise physiologist Kyle Barnes, Ph.D., a researcher at Grand Valley State University, tells SELF. That reduces something called your running economy and can make every effort feel harderin addition to slowing you down.
What’s Your Running Type
Next, you’ll need to decide what type of running you’ll be using your shoes for.
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Preparing For Your Trip To The Shoe Store
- Go to the shoe store toward the end of the day, when your feet are naturally slightly swollen.
- Bring your old shoes with you! Note your likes and dislikes, problems, and injuries so the salesperson can help you make an appropriate selection.
- Also, bring any orthotics/inserts, ankle braces, and socks you normally wear during athletic activity. Fit any new shoe wearing these items to make sure the shoe works with your needs.
The Best Shoes For Running On The Dirt
A versatile road shoe will be the best option for most new runners. However, if you know that you’ll be doing a lot of your running on the trails, you may want to look into a trail-specific running shoe instead. Trail running shoes have features specifically designed for running on the dirt, like added grip and traction as well as more durable and protective materials.
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Have You Had Your Gait Analysed
Using video technology to analyse your running style, our expert fitters can assess how much you pronate – thats the extent to which your foot naturally rolls inward when you run and where your foot strikes the ground.
They will then be able to recommend you a running shoe based on foot shape, terrain, pronation and personal preference from a range of top brands like New Balance and more.
It is important to remember that each shoe and brand will fit slightly differently even if the size is the same. You should have at least a thumb width between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe ideally for running.
How To Choose The Best Road Running Shoes
When choosing a new road running shoe we all want to go for whats best. But the best isnt the best for everyone, so how can you find the right shoe for you?
Too often these days, we read one review and our minds are made up, meaning we rush into choosing a replacement without exploring all the options. In a world of information and opinions, its easy to find a million different thoughts and choices for finding the right pair of shoes. To help navigate it all, weve compiled a list of techniques for choosing the best road running shoes for you.
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Finding The Right Running Shoe
To find the best running shoe for you, you need to know your foot type and what type of shoe best supports your arch and running style. The right shoe may prevent injury and promote performance.
When you run, you naturally land on the outside of your foot and roll inward. This inward rolling is called pronation.
Wear Pattern On Old Shoes
If you have an old pair of running shoes, you can look at the wear pattern on the bottom sole to gather more information about your running stride.
Take a look at the bottom of your shoes and see where the tread has worn.
If the wear is fairly even down the center of the shoe, this likely means you have a neutral gait and medium arches. Excessive wear on the inside part of the shoe indicates you are overpronating. And wear on the outside of the shoe indicates supination.
Neutral even wear down center of shoe
Supinator wear towards outside of shoe
Overpronator wear on inside of shoe
But keep in mind, the wear pattern can be influenced by the type of shoe youve been wearing. You may overpronate, but if you are wearing a stability shoe, that may correct the overpronation and make it appear as if you have a neutral gait.
To check if your existing shoe is a stability shoe, you can look it up on the manufacturers website. All the good running shoe companies indicate the type of running shoe on their websites.
If you cant find it or are having trouble, check the foam on the inside part of your running shoes from the arch back towards the heel and see if your shoes have a medial post.
The medial post in stability shoes is often a different color than other parts of the sole. If you press your finger on it, its also much harder and denser than the foam in the rest of the shoe.
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