How to Choose Good Running Shoes

When it comes to good running shoes, don’t make the same mistakes I did. When I took up running again, I just wore the old pair of Nikes I’d bought a few years ago and was wearing when not at my day job. Those did work well for a few months while I sprinted up the hill in a park close to my house.

Trail running shoes

Good Running Shoes are Long Lasting

However, in mid-September I finally acknowledged that those shoes were no longer any good. The soles wearing out in a lot of places and coming unglued. Trouble was, I didn’t want to shell out a lot of money for new ones. I knew the best mens running shoes could run fifty, sixty even one hundred dollars and up for a brand name such as Nike, Adidas, Asics, Brooks, Saucony or New Balance.

So went to my local Target and was pleased to find clearance running shoes for a lot less than that. Of course they weren’t the best running shoes, but they fit. I even bragged to a co-worker how I got new athletic shoes for under $20.

When you go looking for trail running shoes for yourself, your first job is to see whether or not your arches are low, normal or high. If you don’t already know, lay a piece of brown wrapping on your floor in the bathroom. Wet the entire bottoms of your bare feet in your bathroom. Step onto the brown wrapping and stand there as normal.

Then step off and look at the wet outline. If you see a clear outline of heel, and ball of your foot, then your arch is normal. If you see a shapeless blur, your arch is low. If you see a big gap between heel and ball, your arch is high.

By early November, less than two months later, those cheap running shoes were coming apart. The body was coming out from the soles. Also, I broke one of the lace eyelets while pulling the laces tight. Which meant the laces were stronger than the eyelets. I’d never seen that happen before.

I also realized that those shoes coming apart might have been the cause of the hamstring muscle pain I’d been feeling. I can’t prove it, but those shoes were no longer stabilizing my feet.

running shoes

So my co-worker told me how he’d bought a great pair of shoes for running on eBay. They were originally over $100, but that model had been closed out. Although old, they were still like new.

So I went on eBay, looked through the size 13 Nike running shoes and was happy to find a pair for only $37 — original list price $110, but that model was no longer being sold.

I received them in the mail about five days later and — guess what? — they didn’t fit. They were too narrow for my feet.

I’d assumed the seller had a money-back guarantee, and so they did. But I’ll have to pay a 25% “restocking” fee. Plus the return postage, which was over $10 for priority mail. So those bargain running shoes cost me $20 — for nothing.

At least the Target shoes gave me one and a half month’s of use for the $20 I paid.

So that’s a total of $40 I’d paid and I still couldn’t go running! For casual use I was wearing a pair of old walking shoes, but they felt flat and lame in comparison.

Look for Good Running Shoes at Small Running Stores Staffed by Runners

So I pulled out my Yellow Pages and found a nearby store that specialized in items for runners, including shoes.

The clerk greeted me with a smile and was watching how I walked even while I approached him. He looked as though he’d logged many miles himself, and wore a “Fifty Million Meter Club” patch on his shirt.

runners choice

He looked at the bottoms of my shoes to see the wear patterns, then looked at my feet and noted how my arches are low — I have always had flat feet, so he said I needed plenty of arch support, which I’d be hearing since I was a kid but didn’t think about when I went to Target or completed that eBay auction.

So he had me try on three or four pairs of shoes. He pushed down with his heel to make sure my big toe nail had plenty of room. I can’t remember the last time I had a shoe sales person do that.

He basically gave me a runners choice of Brooks shoes. Both expensive. I choose the most expensive since he said it was the most durable and, after my experience with cheapo athletic shoes from Target, I wanted durability. So I walked out with a pair of Brooks Beasts.

Remember that you want to choose running shoes based on their function, fit and control — not on their weight (or price). And when you find a model that is good for you, stick with it. don’t try something new just because it’s new.

There’re various kinds of shoes for running:

  • Neutral shoes are the lightest weight. Usually the midsole is only one color.
  • Cushioned shoes feel the best, but they’re the least stable.
  • Stability shoes usually have a two-colored midsole. They help prevent your feet turning inward, which is pronation.
  • Many runners place orthotics inside their trail shoes. If you need them, look for models that go well with orthotics. They are more straight lasted, have a deep heel, motion control, and a sturdy heel counter.
  • Different companies use different stuff for the cushioning — air, thermal plastic or gel.

Buy Only Good Running Shoes

adidas running shoes

And you do want to try on the shoes before you buy them. Sizes are not the same from company to company and even within one company. One Nike size 9 model may fit you, but a size 9 of another Nike model may not fit you. You don’t know until you feel them on your feet.

And keep in mind that fitting the entire length of your foot is just one part. You need to look at the length of your arch, from heel to ball. Plus, you must consider width (which was what I forgot) and, your feet are thick, the volume of the shoe.

Motion control shoes have midsoles made of denser material. They may have a plastic bridge at the arch or plastic pieces in the inner heel.

Running shoes for men and running shoes for women should last around six months. Of course, a lot depends on how many miles a week you run and whether you wear the shoes when not running.

So now I’m happy I found my good running shoes.