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Running shoes buying guide


When it comes to buying new running shoes, it doesn’t really matter how cool they look or how sweet a bargain they were. If the shoes don’t fit properly, you won’t be running much of anywhere — except maybe back to the store.

Picking the right shoes for road- or trail-running is tough stuff. So for some handy tips and tricks we tapped former Boy Scout and ex-running store employee Alan Webb, who also just so happens to be one of the fastest distance runners on Earth.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned runner, read on and we guarantee you’ll learn something from Webb that will make your next trip to the shoe store better than ever.


“The best thing to do is try to find a good running specialty store,” Webb says. “Sure, you’ll pay $10 or $15 more than at some big-box shoe store, but you’re getting service and you’re getting the right shoe.” Salespeople at specialty stores will take the time to help you find a shoe that properly fits your type of foot.


Everybody runs differently, but we all do something called pronating when we run.

Basically, every time your shoe hits the ground your foot rolls from the outer edge to the inner edge. Guys whose feet roll excessively inward are called over-pronators. Those whose feet don’t roll in much at all are called under-pronators.

Most running shoes are designed for one type of foot or the other (and most say so in the printed product details on the tag or box).

A salesperson at a running store can tell you right away what kind of a foot you have. Or try this: Put your old pair of shoes side-by-side on a table, toes pointing away from you, and look at how the cushion has worn down. If the shoes tilt outward you are an under-pronator; if they tilt inward, then you are an over-pronator. If they do neither, you have a neutral gait.

“Figure out what kind of runner you are, then find a shoe that matches your foot,” Webb says. Over-pronators need a shoe with added stability and motion control. Neutral runners and under-pronators are usually best off with a shoe with cushioning that minimizes impact without directing the foot in a specific direction.


Once you know your foot type, think about where you’ll be running most often. Regular running shoes are best for streets or well-maintained jogging paths, but if you plan on heading off-road on rough or undeveloped trails, go for a trail-runner. Trail-runners are usually heavier but have sturdy knobby soles and additional foot support.


Is it hot where you run? If so, look for a lightweight shoe with lots of mesh. Cold and rainy? Then pick a pair made with fabrics such as Gore-Tex that will protect you from cold while keeping your feet dry.


Some guys, like Webb, prefer their shoes to be tight.

“I wear my shoes at least a half size smaller than most people do,” he says. “I jam my foot inside my shoe, so I’ve grown to like that tight feel.”

But for most, a thumbnail’s width of space past your longest toe and the end of the shoe is fine. Also, make sure you have enough room to wiggle your toes freely. Be careful about buying shoes bigger so you’ll have room to grow into into them, because a loose shoe can cause blisters and foot problems if you’re running often.


Always try on the the shoes before you buy. The best time of day to shop for shoes is the evening, Webb says, because your feet swell throughout the day and are largest late in the day. Try on shoes while wearing the same kind of socks you’ll be wearing when running. Finally, don’t be shy: Run around inside the shop. Do your best to simulate the bouncing and bounding you’ll do while actually running.

27 Comments on Running shoes buying guide

  1. usually football players wear cleats dont they?

    • everywhere i went i was running // January 27, 2011 at 3:32 pm // Reply

      yeah football players, soccer players, track runners, softball players, and baseball players all have to have cleats. There are millions of different styles and types.

  2. Well, i play football at my school (not on a team officaly, just a thing we do outside), and i often run in a strait light or slight curve, becuase i can get around defence easily if i stay out of sight, so what shoe would be right for me?

  3. Go Longhorns! // March 20, 2009 at 10:03 am // Reply

    Asics are amazing! I found a pair for $45 at Kohls and the SAME PAIR at Acadmey for $70.

  4. i dont run, but i plan 2!! i didnt even about all this stuff ’bout “pronating”!! so, thanks 2 this i plan 2 sav up and buy some shoes that are combfy and the 4 “road”. also find out wat kind of feet i hav!!:)

  5. i have been doing xc and track 4 3 years an the coach is really tough i have been using asics and they r great but i just got mizunos this year i like them almost as much as i like asics


    😦 😦


  7. The Vasque Blur with Vibram sole is nearly indestructible. It lived through my dog who ate my mom’s car keys.

  8. the best shoe is the air trail pegaus by nike its a great running shoe but also has extra stuff for some mild trail very comfy this shoe rocks!

  9. jaz or jazzy // September 2, 2008 at 1:30 am // Reply

    Well i”ve got a pare of pumas you should get some there vary comfy.

  10. Nike Vomeros are the best running shoe I have had… I have a Neutral to sligtly pronate my feet when I runn. Ive used them for over 40 minutes with no problem…. They have excellent cushioning, and great stability, although I would have like it to be alittle more responsive.

  11. get nike max air torch shoes there the best

  12. Running barefoot is not for tenderfoot scouts lol. No really those barefoot shoes are amazing, the pumas rock too!

  13. asics are the best. period

  14. Anyone who is pretty serious about running should check out Brooks. Other than my Aasics Gel-Kayano 12, I would say Brooks are among the best running shoes. Mostly all of my XC and track team has them and they say they are great. Most are pretty expensive and can get up to $180, but these shoe are well worth the money

  15. I like running so i loved this issue

  16. i agrre running barefoot is better 4 me cause there is no weight on ur foot exept ur foot so i think that the Vibram Fivefingers is really really cool

  17. pretty cool shoes! sweet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. NIKE is by far the best shoe on Earth!! How could you go against a shoe company that had Steve Prefontaine as its first customer?

  19. The shoes are nice, but like they said, it is not the shoe that really counts, but how it feels. Find a local store and the’ll tell you what kind of feet you have and hook you up with some nice shoes, even if it does cost $100. The Vibrams look cool but would probably only work for neutral runners.

    • HammockHanger // June 10, 2010 at 12:02 pm // Reply

      vibram’s can really mold to your feet. they can be used by all kinds of runners, not just neutral ones

  20. Asics are the best shoe EVER!!!!!

  21. There right it is better to run barefoot well at least in my opion

  22. the vibram fivefingers spring is a weird looking shoe


  24. The vibram (the shoe that looks like a sock) is really weird, first comment!!! Sweet!!!

  25. this shoe is the most amazing shoe i have ever seen

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