How to choose running/walking shoes

With so much choice on the market, it can be difficult to find the right shoe for you. Everyone’s foot shape and size vary, so choosing a shoe is down to each individual. We’ll run through some quick tips to help you find the best shoe for you. 

Know your Walking Pattern

While some shops may scan your foot to check this, you can also tell by looking at the wear pattern on an old pair of shoes. Your wear pattern is useful to determine how much arch support you may need in a shoe. You may have also noticed in shops, that shoes are organised under ‘neutral’ ‘stability’ ‘over-pronation’ etc. 

If you have a neutral foot, you will have a wider selection of footwear but should choose a shoe that supports your natural arch height. Generally, if you are an overpronator or ‘flat-footed’ you may benefit from a stability shoe with more arch support. If you wear the outside of your shoe or supinate, you may find more comfort in a shoe with more cushioning. 

Level of Activity

Your activity levels will also determine the best shoe type for you. If you are a keen walker, you may benefit from a lighter shoe with more cushioning. However, a marathon runner may require more support and a heavier-duty, more durable shoe. 

Also, take into consideration the terrain type. If you are a trail runner, make sure that the shoe provides enough stability and support and that the sole of the shoe provides enough grip. 

As a general guide, it is recommended that shoes are changed every 350 to 500 miles as they lose shock absorbency after this. 

Heel to Toe Drop

There are varying opinions with regards the importance of heel drop in relation the injuries. The changing drop level can alter your stride. A low or medium heel-to-toe drop promotes a forefoot or mid-foot strike, while a high-drop shoe promotes heel striking. Again, the shoe should complement your natural running pattern, and you shouldn’t feel as though you are being forced into a different striking pattern. 

Get Measured

We all think we know our shoe size; however, this fluctuates with time. As such, it’s important to get your foot measured each time you are looking for a new runner. Our feet can also swell throughout the day so oftentimes it is better to go shoe shopping in the evening to allow for this.

Try Them On

It is important to try the shoes on before buying. If they don’t feel comfortable straight away try another size, style, or brand. The runner should feel as though it complements your natural walking or running pattern. if you wear insoles bring them with you and fit them into the shoe while trying them on. It is important that they don’t feel too tight or too loose as this can cause friction and lead to blistering. 

Check the heel collar (opening of the shoe) to ensure that the heel is not slipping, and that it does not irritate the ankle or Achilles tendon. 

Check that the toe box has enough room that you can move your toes comfortably. You shouldn’t feel as though the toes are restricted. Aim for a thumbnail’s length of extra space in the toebox.

Seek specialist advice in a proper running shoe shop instead of mainstream sports chains. 

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