How to Find the Best Pair of Running Shoes

One glance at a footwear store tells you that picking the right running shoe for your needs is no easy task. The U.S. athletic footwear industry generates more than $17.5 billion a year by introducing hundreds of different styles, colors, and sizes. Even though it seems like running should be a fairly easy hobby to purchase shoes for, there are actually several different factors to consider while you shop for your new pair.

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Knowing Your Foot Is Key

Even though everyone’s feet might look similar, they’re actually quite different. Each foot has its own specific needs, and before you purchase a pair of running shoes, you need to learn what those are. Do some research to determine what kind of arches your feet have. This will tell you what kind of support you need to look for in a shoe or if you need to purchase supportive inserts. Additionally, pay attention to the pronation of your foot. If your feet seem overly pronated, you may need to purchase shoes with extra motion-control features.

Don’t overlook your legs’ needs either. If you suffer from vein disease or any other leg or feet ailments, be sure that you find shoes that will not exacerbate any conditions you may have.

Your Feet Might Have Grown Over the Years
Many people assume that their feet stopped growing once they left puberty, but in reality, that’s often not the case. Human bodies are constantly changing, and in some cases that means their feet continue to grow as they age. The more you walk or run and the more weight you gain, the more likely it is that your feet have gone up a half size or more. Have a store representative take accurate measurements of your feet so you can be sure you’re purchasing the proper size.

Shoes Are Usually Built to Serve One Purpose

Don’t try to buy a pair of shoes that can serve multiple purposes. If you intend to wear the same shoes to the grocery stores that you wear on long runs, then you’re going to face some problems. Running shoes tend to be lightweight and offer a specific kind of support that can handle the shocks of each stride. Casual shoes, on the other hand, tend to be designed differently. When specifically shopping for running shoes, find a pair that is meant for the task and dedicate them as your running-only shoes.

You Might Want to Bring Your Own Socks With You to the Store
Although most stores have trial socks you can use to see if a shoe fits, it never hurts to bring the socks you’ll actually wear while running. Those will give you a better idea of how the shoes fit than the thin ones the store provides.

Don’t Fall for the “You’ll Break Them in” Train of Thought
It might be tempting to think that a pair of shoes will stretch or become more comfortable over time, that’s never a good mindset to enter when shopping for running shoes. Athletic footwear should feel comfortable from the get-go. To make sure that they do, take them for a trial run around the store or on a treadmill. If they don’t seem to fit well or cause you any discomfort, put them back in the box. Hoping that they’ll change is a surefire way to waste your money.

Sometimes the Bells and Whistles Are Worth It, Sometimes They Aren’t

While walking through the aisles of a shoe store, it’s difficult not to be influenced by the flashy designs and amazing promises advertised by different brands. The question is, will those brand new, ultra-expensive running shoes really improve your performance? In general, the answer is probably no. The sports industry thrives off of consumers who will consistently buy the next big product, so don’t fall into their trap by spending money on shoes that aren’t actually anything special.

However, sometimes shoes do come with extra features that are beneficial for running. For instance, some have added support that will prevent joint pain while others are made with extra breathable materials to keep your feet from overheating.

So, how can you tell if the bonus features of a shoe are worth the price? Read reviews. If previous customers who own the shoes praise their benefits, then it might not be a bad idea to invest in a pair. On the other hand, if other runners say that the shoes don’t seem like anything special, you’re probably better off purchasing a more standard option.

In Short:
Although there are thousands of available choices on store shelves, there are a few ways to narrow down your running shoe selection. Look for shoes that immediately fit your foot well and that were built for running. Try them on with your normal socks and ensure that they are comfortable from the start so you know running in them will be a safe, enjoyable experience. Additionally, watch out for pricey upgrades that are unnecessary, but also pay attention to bonus features that might be worth spending a little extra on. Most importantly, remember that you need the shoes to protect and care for your feet so that you can continue to run your best, so choose your next footwear purchase carefully.

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