how to choose the right running shoes for you. group of runners on the road


With so many to choose from buying running shoes can be a daunting task but we're here to make it easy. If you are running high mileage, low or medium, there is a shoe to suit every runner. Just as there is a shoe for every runner, there is a shoe for every foot. Whether you need a wider toe box, a neutral shoe, a specific heel to toe drop, like more energy return through the shoe or just need something to control your foot roll, we have women's and men's running shoes designed to meet your needs. Just follow our handy guide to find out what questions you need to be asking before a long run or race day, and what it all means. 

What Surface Are You Running On?

If most of your training is on pavements, then road shoes are for you. With more cushioning than trail or lightweight race shoes these will provide shock absorption to minimise your risk of injury.


If you're running through soft muddy trails you're better off in a pair of trail shoes with a deep tread that offer better grip and ankle support, vital for running on uneven terrain. On pavement however, these shoes will be uncomfortable as the studs will press into the soles of your feet, and will wear away quickly.


If you're doing a little of both you should consider a hybrid running shoe. These shoes work well on both roads and mixed trail conditions with a balanced mix of grip and cushioning.

Get a Gait Analysis Appointment

All Runners Need stores offer video gait analysis as part of our comprehensive running shoe fitting service.


Using video technology to analyse your running style, our expert fitters can assess how much you pronate - that’s the extent to which your foot naturally rolls inward when you run – and where your foot strikes the ground.


They will then be able to recommend you a running shoe based on foot shape, terrain, pronation and personal preference from a range of top brands like New Balance and more.


It is important to remember that each shoe and brand will fit slightly differently even if the size is the same. You should have at least a thumb width between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe ideally for running. 



If you already wear insoles, make sure to bring factor them into your fitting as they can change the fit and feel of the footwear. If you haven’t tried insoles before, maybe now is the time to consider it? Insoles allow you to personalise the fit to your foot and help provide additional comfort in the heel, arch and across the ball of your foot, while reducing problems like slipping, blisters, hot spots and shin splints.


Designed to match the contours of your foot, insoles can compliment your trainers to take your training to the next level.

Running Socks

It may sound silly but the thickness of your sock can make a big difference difference to the fit and feel of your shoe, especially as your feet expand in the heat. Always wear the socks you intend to run in when you go for a shoe fitting.


Consider a good, technical running sock specifically designed with added arch support and extra padding across the ball of the foot, toes, and the heel for better impact protection.


Although comfortable we wouldn’t recommend wearing cotton socks when running. Cotton retains moisture, add to that the heat and friction from running and you’re likely to end up with blisters, calluses, and hot spots. 


Always ensure your socks are higher than the back of your running shoes otherwise they'll slip down during your run causing friction hot spots on the back of your heel.


What Distance Are You Running?

If you’re training for a marathon you’ll usually require a different style of running shoe than if you’re trying to beat your 5k PB. Long distances want a more cushioned shoe whilst you’re more likely to benefit from a more flexible training shoe over shorter distances.

Take Them For a Treadmill Test Run

Buying running trainers is a big investment, so it’s important you always test them properly before buying them. Padding around on a carpeted shop floor doesn’t quite replicate how the shoe will feel and respond when you’re out running in them. Always ask to take them for a test run on our in-store treadmills. 

Does Brand Really Matter?


Your running shoes should always be about function, not fashion. Don’t be tempted into the latest trends or brands just because they’re popular this season.


Brand does matter, but only to ensure you’re getting the right comfort, fit, and functionality for you. 


All brands will fit slightly differently, and some brands are slightly wider than others. It is always best to try on running shoes before you buy them, as slight differences in fit can have a huge effect on comfort. 

What Type Of Running Shoe Do I Need?

Whatever your running gait, a good pair of running shoes will provide flexibility, durability, and support. The level of these depends on where your running shoes sit within the five main groups; motion control, cushioned, stability, lightweight, and trail.


Motion Control Running Shoes:

Motion control running shoes are ideal for any runner who overpronates. Designed to reduce or control excessive rolling action of the foot, correct your gait cycle and provide additional shock absorption, they are usually the most rigid type of shoe. 


Cushioned Running Shoes:


Cushioning is important for runners who underpronate; either if your feet do not roll inward enough or roll outward too much. The rolling motion helps your foot absorb the shock of every step that would otherwise be sent through your joints towards your spine.


Highly cushioned shoes are designed to reduce shock by helping mimic the natural process. 


Stability Running Shoes:

Stability shoes provide cushioning, medial support, and durability as a compromise between motion control and cushioned shoes. They’re designed to stop excess motion of your foot and ankle without restricting movement too much. 


Lightweight Running Shoes:

Lightweight running shoes are, as it says on the tin, typically lighter and therefore more flexible shoes. Lightweight shoes tend to come with decreased weight and more flexible cushioning, that combines the best of the "minimalist" approach (making it feel like you aren't wearing shoes through features like a mesh upper) along with cushioning to protect your feet. Lightweight shoes will decrease your fatigue and pain after a run, as well as being incredibly comfortable. 

Trail Running Shoes:


These shoes tend to have a different, special set of features designed to help you run on all kinds of rugged terrain from hard pack, soft pack, fell, or a combination. Features like Gore-Tex liners, midfoot wraps, and lugged rubber outsoles are common with these types of shoes and they're generally harder wearing with more durable uppers to protect your foot and stay comfortable on longer runs.


The main focus of trail running shoes however is the level of grip they offer. They're all neutral runners but the outsole changes from shoe to shoe with a deeper tread providing traction and stability on slippery and uneven surfaces and a lower profile to ensuring a quicker response to the changing terrain.


Discover the Running Shoes made for you:

Shop our full collection of running shoes and find the perfect footwear for your next race. Whether it's road running, trail running, marathons, or sprints in the park, we have men's and women's running shoes for ever PB-chaser here at Runners Need.

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