Guy Gear

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.

Comments about “Running shoes buying guide”

  1. legoman88 says:

    my dad is a shoe sales man for Tradehome shoes, he is in charge of 18 stores and he hates those cheap five fingers and did you know 2% of the people that buy them actually were them. I suggest getting Saucony bare foot running shoes.

  2. gallardo_225 says:

    NIke free’s are THE best shoes I’ve ever worn

  3. mr. daring says:

    pumas are great it feels like you’re floating, but if you are a winter runner(like me) I would go for shauns

  4. BlubberBoy 555 says:

    smartguy25, those are called fivefingers. THey are beast!!!

  5. AJ says:

    Fila are the way to go there comfortable and light

  6. Tuck says:

    Asics are the best! Very durable.

  7. smartguy25 says:

    Can anyone please tell me what shoes are the ones that have individual areas for your toes and are almost like sandals because i cant find them anywhere! Thanks!

  8. vtfan says:

    If you want to get great service, and your a year-round runner(like me), or your not too worried about the cost, try either 3Sports(my favorite) or Footlocker. Asics and Soniky are good brands if you have to shop at a “big box” store and can’t get great service. I don’t recomend Nike.

  9. SargeBSA says:

    Saucony makes very good running shoes wore a pair to 2010 Jambo 300+ miles and ran a season of cross country hold up very well also trail running try Oboz Sawtooth trail running/hiking very well built

  10. dewalmcc says:

    Make sure the shoes are not too tight on the sides, because even if the shoes fit fine, blisters’ll happen easier.

  11. lemon head says:

    get nike

  12. Percy Jackson says: says:

    I like using Asics Antares 2 men’s running Shoes.

  13. shorty says:

    i use under armours theyve lasted me 2 years and going

  14. little crow says:

    I run raramuri style and I believe in making my own running sandals called huaraches.

  15. 1234555666678900--- says:

    Nike Pegasus 26s are great for running!

  16. Italian Artist says:

    Well nikes are always nice but there also $50-100 dollars so if your willing to pay that much those would be awsome! but is your looking for around $20-50 dollars and still good quality shoes i would go with New Balence

  17. shoe master says:

    i have 3 pairs of shoes. nike free[my favorite], accics,nike dart 6. if you want one that makes you feel barefoot go with the nike free. if you want a fast one go with the accics.

  18. me12345678 says:

    i have addidas,theyr awesome

  19. BBT says:

    Nike and New Balance are the best kind of shoes to get. I am really hard on shoes. Trust me.

  20. Johnnyboy says:

    get NIKE dart they are awesome i have a pair of grey ones and blue & blue ones!!

  21. Barfoot Boy says:

    vibram 5 fingers sprint is awesome. I have some and they rock. they are a real treat. if you buy them you will be very pleased

  22. Always Walking Wherever I travel 835 says:

    If a person has feet that differ in size by one and one-half (1 1/2) shoe sizes, where is a shoe company or shoe store that can accomodate a person with a mis-match service on running shoes? For example if a person has a right foot that is a man’s shoe size of 5 1/2 EE and a left foot that is a man’s shoe size of 7 D or 7 1/2 C, where can a person purchase shoes for a person to be able to participate on a long distance jogging team?

    • HammockHanger says:

      that is a serious issue with alot of people…you will probably have to buy two pairs of the shoe that you want (each one with the correct size) becasue you *can’t* purchase a pair with two different sizes

  23. Middle School Jogging Team Member 883 says:

    Skechers running shoes and K-Swiss running shoes are great for people who run the 440 meters run or the one mile competition run.

  24. Avid Canoe Adventurer says:

    Jack Percell’s canvas shoe made by Converse Shoe Company are really great and wear almost like iron for over five years after a person’s foot has stopped growing.

  25. Philmontpoleclimber332 says:

    Lumber Jacks use spiked hiking boots to climb tall sequoia trees.

  26. Anonymous says:

    usually football players wear cleats dont they?

    • everywhere i went i was running says:

      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.

  27. NuffSead says:

    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?

  28. Go Longhorns! says:

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

  29. 13adabing says:

    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!!:)

  30. runner 630 says:

    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

    :( :(

  31. TROOP 45 says:


  32. sdboyscout says:

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

  33. shoe stan says:

    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!

  34. jaz or jazzy says:

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

  35. SDS says:

    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.

  36. bob says:

    get nike max air torch shoes there the best

  37. tenderfoot3 says:

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

  38. me says:

    asics are the best. period

  39. kirk says:

    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

  40. cc runner says:

    I like running so i loved this issue

  41. that guy says:

    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

  42. jacklink says:

    pretty cool shoes! sweet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. Pre says:

    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?

  44. JV says:

    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 says:

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

  45. Huntr1994 says:

    Asics are the best shoe EVER!!!!!

  46. Trevty1995 says:

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

  47. yoyo says:

    the vibram fivefingers spring is a weird looking shoe

  48. DM says:


  49. Drakel says:

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

  50. djfbugman says:

    this shoe is the most amazing shoe i have ever seen

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