The beauty of running is that it requires very little equipment (although my husband would probably disagree). Although there are lots of accessories that many runners would swear were essential, the truth is that shoes are the main thing you need to be a runner. A good pair of shoes is absolutely critical. If you take nothing else from this, take my advice to get a quality pair of shoes. I can’t emphasize this enough so I’m going to say it again….make sure you get good, properly fitted running shoes.  Choosing to ignore this can lead to foot pain or injury. Running shoes can be very expensive but quality does not necessarily have to mean the most expensive pair. So how do you know which shoes are right for you?  These 5 tips will help you find the perfect pair of running shoes for your foot.

  • Get professionally fitted in a running store.  Employees are usually experienced runners themselves and will discuss your particular needs.  They will visually analyze your feet and watch you run to know what level of support you need.  Based on that information, they will help you try on various brands to figure out what is most comfortable for you.
  • Don’t assume or guess your size.  Allow the store employee to measure your feet.  Swelling happens throughout the day and your feet will swell some as you run.  Because sizes run differently among brands, it is important to have your feet measured.  In general, running shoes should be a half size to full size larger than what you typically wear to account for swelling and give your feet room.
  • Avoid gimmicky shoe claims.  Remember the shoes that claimed to tone and tighten your legs and butt?  They were actually sued for making false claims.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Shoes won’t provide you with some magical health benefit.  You can get in shape wearing any kind of athletic shoe – the secret has to do with the actions of the person wearing the shoe and not the shoes themselves.
  • Don’t buy for looks.  I understand the desire to have a nice-looking pair of shoes.  And that’s perfectly fine for work shoes or casual shoes.  But running shoes aren’t meant to make a fashion statement.  When selecting running shoes, buy the ones that fit.  Sometimes it may not be your favorite color but if it gets the job done, that’s the important thing.  Besides, no one will notice your shoes while you’re running anyway.
  • Find the right fit.  The shoe should feel comfortable as soon as you put it on.  You should have enough room to wiggle your toes and have a little space at the end of the toe box so that your toes are not touching the end of the shoe.  The heel should be firm but not too tight.  You also don’t want it too loose so that your heel slips up and down inside the shoe.  Also make sure the width feels comfortable.  If it feels too tight across the foot, try another fit.  Try running in the shoes to make sure they feel good when running.

Bonus tip:  Don’t buy for price.  Decent running shoes will run anywhere from $70-130.  Once you find a size and style that works for you, it’s possible to find clearance deals when new models come out.  It’s also important to note that the most expensive pair of shoes isn’t always the best pair.  The best pair is the one that fits you well, feels comfortable and supports your running style.  I usually get 300-500 miles out of a pair of running shoes so I consider my shoes an investment in my running. What are your favorite athletic shoes?

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