How to choose the best running shoes for beginners

What You Need to Know Before Buying Your First Pair of Running Sneakers

Running is a good sport and a great way of keeping fit and losing weight. It is much more intense than jogging as it requires much effort and strength so it is important to have the right kind of shoes that are suited for your running style and body type.

Before getting your first pair of running shoes, ask yourself the following questions:

Distance & Terrain

How far do you want to run, i.e. miles. The distance determines the cushioning of the shoe so as to provide comfort which makes running much easier and enjoyable.

The terrain, i.e. on the road or off road – shoes are designed for trails and tracks and all offer a good grip which keeps your feet secure no matter the running surface.

What type of foot arches do you have? Image credit: Sale Asics

Running Style

What is your pronation which describes how your foot rolls inward as you run? If your foot overpronates which means that it rolls inward so far, then you will need a shoe that helps correct the running while offering support all the way.

The shape of your foot and the type of arch you have. There are high, medium and low arch and this shows what kind of shoe is best for your feet.

Where to Buy

As a beginner, you should consider the following when buying your running shoes:

Go to a shoe store that specializes in running shoes because this is where you will get the specific shoe that is meant for running only. Go to a store that has knowledgeable staff who will guide you in choosing the right shoe.

Type of Shoe

Try out a number of shoes with different features, i.e. from light and flexible ones to heavily cushioned ones and from different brands too. The best shoe that you should pick should be the one that feels comfortable when running not when you are standing still.

The shoe width and length matters, and they vary from brand to brand so aim to get a shoe that fits comfortably from the heel to midfoot without squeezing the forefoot excessively. A shoe is narrow if the big toe pushes inward into the second toe or you can’t wiggle the toe up and down or spread it. Your foot should be able to move from side to side in the forefront of the shoe without crossing to the insole edge.

The flex of the shoe is important too because it should flex at the same point your foot flexes. To test this, hold the heel of the shoe and press the tip on the floor and the shoe will show where it creases and bends. Lack of flexibility leads to calf strain or Achilles’ tendon while improperly aligned flex leads to plantar fasciitis or arch pain.

Brooks GTS 17 Running Shoe. Image credit: Sofaderech.com

The shoe type matters and it refers to how much the shoe will control or correct your feet. Stability shoes are best for people with a normal arch and help correct feet with mild pronation. A motion control shoe is best for runners with moderate to severe pronation and helps limit the amount the foot rolls. The cushioned or neutral shoes are best for people who don’t roll much and they are light.

Get a shoe that meets all the features of your preferred shoe and this will ensure that you aren’t uncomfortable as you run and will not wear out faster. It is worth to invest in a good pair of shoe that is long lasting and comfortable and will serve you for several miles before replacing it.

The heel of the shoe should fit well but not tightly and you should be able to slide your feet out when the laces are not tied. The shoe that you chose should have a half an inch space between the longest toe and shoe so that it accommodates the feet when they swell and lengthen.

Choose to start your running career in a mid-range running shoe that gives good flexibility and you are able to feel the ground. A good example would be Brooks running shoes which are very well priced, extremely popular with runners and are very comfortable and durable.

Test jog while wearing the shoes to make sure the shoes fit well and are working for you. A good shoe should not try to alter your stride, but should support and complement you when you are wearing the shoe.

Common Pitfalls

Some of the common things that you should avoid while buying shoes include:

Don’t buy shoes in the morning rather late in the evening because the feet will be swollen. Don’t ever assume your size or even use your current shoe size to buy a new shoe. Different shoe brands have different fittings, so have your feet measured and fit each shoe that you intend to buy.

Don’t go for looks or what is in fashion, but choose a shoe that fits and is comfortable.

Don’t buy shoes that are too small or tightly fit as they will cause blisters and black toenails.