How to Choose a Running Shoe (3 Easy Steps)

Follow these 3 easy steps on how to choose a running shoe and feel more confident on your next decision

If you have been selecting running shoes based on your favorite brand and the external appearance of the footwear, there’s a 50-50 chance that you’re making the right choice. But what if you’re making the wrong choice since 50% possibility is equally favorable and unfavorable?

This article will shed light on:

  • the issues that you may encounter by wearing the wrong running shoes
  • the real benefits of wearing the right running shoes
  • 3 easy steps on how to choose a running shoe

But you have to keep in mind, as you read along this article, that your foot receives an impact of at least three times your body weight every time you run, so choosing the right running shoes is very important.

Table of Contents
  1. What Makes a Good Running Shoe?
  2. Pronation of the Foot Explained
  3. How to Choose a Running Shoe

What makes a good running shoe?

A good running shoe feels good right away and you won’t have muscle pain issues even during your initial run. But a good running shoe can become great and further prove its worth when you experience no issues after any running activity even running a marathon. Yes, with the current shoe technologies, it’s now common for marathoners not to experience pain after long runs unless they over train during their preparation. But the main criterion for this is that the runner must wear his or her best running shoes.

how to choose a running shoe

how to choose a running shoe

Pronation of the foot explained

Each of us has foot mechanics that belong to one of the three types of pronation of the foot – neutral, underpronation (supination), and overpronation.

Neutral pronation. This pronation of the foot has a normal, healthy roll of foot where the weight distribution is fairly even across the entire foot surface with a slight emphasis on the big toe at toe-off. Neutral pronation has the least possibility of injury during any physical activity because all parts of the foot (heel, arch, and toes) work well to handle the load. Neutral pronators usually have a neutral or normal arch.

Underpronation (supination). This pronation of the foot lacks the inward roll and forces the outer part of your heel and smaller toes to receive most of the impact during foot landing and toe-off. High arches are very common to supination where they have an influence on the outward roll of the foot. Supination also makes the foot rigid (or less flexible) during different phases of the gait cycle.

Overpronation. This pronation of the foot forces too much inward roll causing your foot to be heavy at heel strike while increasing the rotation of your tibia which may cause lower leg and knee problems. With overpronation, the shock that your foot receives during impact doesn’t spread evenly across the entire foot surface and your ankle may have trouble stabilizing your body. Fallen arches are very common to overpronation.

How to choose a running shoe

Now that you already have the right information, it’s time to choose your best running shoes. So, here are 3 easy steps on how to choose your running shoes:

1. Make sure it’s a running shoe. Many shoes in the market look like great running shoes but in reality, they’re only sports-inspired shoes or just a look-alike of the actual running shoes and won’t give you any support for running. So, look into the item information and see that the shoe you’re considering is a true running shoe.

Tip: Trail running shoes are for trails and road running shoes are for pavement, while walking shoes are for walking only.

2. Check the shoe’s support type. Most online stores would include a support type description of Neutral, Neutral to underpronation (supination), or Overpronation/Stability in the item information. Take careful note of the description there because this is the most crucial part of choosing your correct running shoes.

If the pronation of your foot is neutral to underpronation (supination) or a neutral arch to high arch, your best running shoes are neutral running shoes because they are flexible and have the best support for the rigidity of your foot during the gait cycle. Neutral pronators may also choose a minimalist shoe which is usually lighter, has lesser support, and has more contact with the ground which will encourage your lower leg muscles to work and strengthen as you progress in training. 

However, if you have overpronation, your best shoes are stability or motion control shoes because of their much-needed support for overpronation correction.

Note: Supinators should avoid wearing stability shoes because they won’t have the flexibility needed for the supinated foot motion, while overpronators shouldn’t wear neutral-cushioned shoes because they lack the needed arch support to correct overpronation.

how to choose good running shoes

3. Know your technology. Not all shoe technologies are equal, that’s why you have a specific brand that you like. But do you know which technology works for you? Here are some top technologies of today that are constantly being improved every time there’s a new version of running shoe:

  • BioMoGo DNA technology of Brooks, which is a midsole foam designed to deliver long-lasting cushioning
  • DNA LOFT transition zone of Brooks which gives soft and smooth transitions from heel through toe-off
  • Meta-rocker Geometry of Hoka One One which encourages natural running gait, as well as, provide a smooth roll from impact to toe-off
  • Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Technology Cushioning System of ASICS which greatly reduces the force of impact from heel strike through toe-off
  • Zoom Air units of Nike for a targeted responsiveness in the forefoot and heel
  • Cushlon foam of Nike which delivers soft and springy midsole cushioning
  • Heel foam of Nike which delivers optimal comfort
  • Ortholite cushioning of New Balance which is lightweight yet compresses only less than 5% over its lifetime to ensure you get optimum cushioning, fit, comfort, and performance
  • Full-length EVA technology of New Balance which delivers long-lasting comfort
  • ROLLBAR technology of New Balance which prevents rear foot movement and enhances smooth transitions from heel-strike through toe-off. This ROLLBAR technology proved to be very helpful in relieving heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis.

These are only some technologies from top brands that you need to know to determine which technology works best for you.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve seen the 3 steps on how to choose a running shoe (2 steps only if you skip technology), you should be able to make the best decision in choosing your next running shoe.

Happy running everyone!