HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT SHOES FOR YOU
With so many to choose from buying running shoes can be a daunting task but we're here to make it easy. Just follow our handy guide to find out what questions you need to be asking, and what it all means.
What surface are you running on?
If you're running through soft muddy trails you're better off in a pair of trail shoes with a deep tread that offer more stability 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.
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.
Have you had your gait analysed?
Using video technology to analyse how your feet respond to every step, 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.
What socks are you running in?
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.
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.
How far 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. Longer distances want a more cushioned shoe whilst you’re more likely to benefit from a more flexible running shoe over shorter distances.
Can I take them for a test run?
Buying running shoes 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 running brand 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.
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 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.
Additional cushioning is 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 have a varying degree of cushioning or stability but are more responsive than standard trainers. These shoes are likely to be more flexible allowing you add a spring to your push off, ideal for fast-paced training or racing.
- 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 outer soles are common with these types of shoes and are generally harder wearing with more durable uppers to protect your foot.
The main focus of trail running shoes however is the level of grip they offer. Differing from shoe to shoe the outersole will have a deeper tread to provide traction and stability on slippery and uneven surfaces and a lower profile to ensure a quicker response to the changing terrain.