A Guide to Buying Running Shoes

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Is it your first time buying running shoes? Before you check out our individual reviews, take some time to read through our comprehensive running shoes buying guide.

1. Indeed, you should specifically get a pair of shoes for running.

While it’s very possible to run barefooted, or even in high heels. Or you may already have some tennis, basketball or sports shoes at home. These shoes may come in handy for your occasional runs, but they may not be sufficient if you want to run like a pro. If you wish to do some serious running, you’ll need to invest a good pair of running shoes like at the Orthotic Shop.

Running is a serious and demanding sport that involves a lot of repetitive movement of the feet, from the toes to the heel and back. The weight of the whole body is pressed down the running shoes, and this means that they must have proper traction and grip. They must provide comfort over long distances and allow your feet to breathe accordingly.

We can list down many reasons why shoes meant for other outdoor activities should not be used for running. All we can tell you for now is that you’ll never regret getting a specific pair of shoes for running.

2. You want high-end shoes, but you are not willing to cough up the money for it.

Marketing aside, quality materials and rigorous testing procedures cost a lot of money. In most cases, high-end shoes are worth their hefty price tags. Not convinced? Watch Frank take a 16 dollar pair of running shoes out on a test.

Cushioning material or better foam used in the sole will increase the durability of the show. High-quality upper materials will make a shoe feel comfortable on your foot. A sock-liner with contours will increase the grip on your foot. These are some of the small things that will raise the price of a shoe.

But, do you really need all of these things in a shoe? Comfort is a very crucial aspect in a running shoes. Although expensive materials are not a direct indicator that she is comfortable, cheap materials can really lower the comfort rating of a shoe.

However, you don’t need to empty your pockets for a pair of shoes. If you like the current version of a shoe, why not go for last year’s version instead. Chances are, last year’s shoe is not so different from the model that is in the market right now. Shoes are very much like smartphones if you think about it.

While comparing the two shoes from different years, you may have observed that not a lot has changed. The older shoe may still be a premium running shoe and it may be selling at half the price of the later shoe. So, don’t go spending a lot of money on new shoes when their older models that can serve you even better.

3. Fit is Everything

How a running shoe fits is, by far, the most crucial thing to consider. Walking in a shoe that does not fit you well can be a nightmare. Now imagine running in a shoe that doesn’t fit well. This can be outright annoying, painful and even risky.

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Ensure the heel is locked in properly. Attempt lacing the shoe to test the firmness of the heel. Wiggle your toes a little bit to check for comfort.
  • Leave a 1/2 cm empty space over the big toe. Your toes can swell during running and you will need to allocate some space for this.
  • Lace your shoe tight enough but not too tight so that you don’t cut off the circulation of blood to your feet.
  • Breathability. The majority of running shoes come with a mesh cover on top that allows your feet to breathe. However, you should check the breathability rating to ensure it matches your running conditions and environment. Running during winter is definitely different from running during Summertime. So, get a pair of shoes that meet your specific running needs.

These factors are pretty easy to remember, but you should not underestimate them at any cost.

4. Going More Protected vs. Going Minimal

This is a controversial issue that we can deliberate on for hours. However, here is some information that should help you make an informed decision.

The modern running shoe was invented in the ’70s. The concept behind the shoe was that ‘running is an intensive sport that takes a toll on the joints. You need a shoe that minimizes stress on the joints and other sensitive parts of your anatomy”. This idea was the driving force behind the split between neutral (cushioning) and stability.

Cushioning shoes are designed for runners with underpronation issues and /or high arches. Stability shoes are designed for a runner with overpronation and/or runners with low arches.

In the past half-decade, a new line of thought known as minimalism, or barefoot running came up (mostly due to a book by Christopher McDougall called ‘Born To Run’). Barefoot runners claim that the running shoe industry is a con-game. Stable and heavily cushioned shoes work against the natural order of things. They claim a shoe should be as close to the surface of the foot as possible so that the individual does not heavily depend on the shoe for running.

So, who among these two groups of people is right?