7 Key Tips for Finding the Best Running Shoes

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It’s safe to say that sneakers are having a moment. In recent years, these athletic shoes have become major fashion staples, with some of the more high-end options selling for anywhere from a few thousand to a million.

But whether you’re a sneaker-head or you’re looking for the perfect pair of shoes to support your running style, it’s important to find the right footwear at a great price. More importantly, when it comes to the perfect shoe investment, you’ll need to find a pair that combines both style and function—which isn’t always as simple as it sounds.

If you’re looking for running shoes that offer outstanding performance, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you should know to ensure that the shoes you love will support your run for years to come.

1. Know Your Foot Arch Type

When you’re seeking the perfect running shoes, a crucial first step is to be aware of your arch type. Your arch is the space between your heel and the ball of your foot, and different people’s arches may perform in different ways. Depending on the structure of your arches, you may want to opt for additional cushioning and support in certain areas of your shoe.

Neutral Feet

If you have neutral feet, your arches support your body weight well and do a slight roll inward with every stride. With neutral feet, you can opt for standard running shoes, which have the ideal cushioning to support this arch pattern.

Flat Feet

People with flat feet have a low foot arch or no foot arch at all. This can mean that you tend to “overpronate,” meaning that your arches roll too far inward with each stride. Shoes with good inner arch and heel support can help cushion and even correct this motion.

High Arches

If you have high arches, the structure of your foot may be more rigid, with your arches lifted upward off the floor. To support your runs, you’ll want shoes that offer more flexibility and cushioning for your arches, protecting your feet from the impact of each foot strike.

If you’re not sure what kind of arches you have, try looking at one of your footprints. The pattern you see can help you identify your arch type.

2. Identify Your Shoe Size

If it’s been a while since you’ve bought a pair of running shoes, or if you’ve never had a professional measure your feet, it may be a good idea to have an expert identify your shoe size. This is especially useful if your feet are “between sizes,” meaning that you buy one or more shoe sizes depending on the shoe type.

Some people find that their feet are not the exact same size, and foot size can also change as the result of conditions like pregnancy or after foot surgery.

When you visit a pro to identify your shoe size, try to do so toward the end of the day. Because your feet swell with use during the day—just as they swell during a run—it can help ensure the proper fit.

3. Get Shoes That Meet Your Needs

It always helps to factor in the type of running you’ll be doing.

Are you planning to run on the street, or are you running on rockier trails or terrain? Do you need water-resistant shoes that will hold up in the rain, or will you be jogging on a treadmill in the gym? Are you looking for shoes that will support you as you run up inclines or hills, or do you need a sprint-friendly shoe that can handle a fast pace?

Narrowing down the type of running you prefer can help you find the right shoes, whether you’re buying online or offline.

4. Look for the Right Materials

Low-quality shoes may get you where you need to go, but they won’t always ensure your comfort during a run. In contrast, high-quality running shoes will use materials that wick away moisture and support breathability.

In addition, it’s worth noting that lightweight materials are often better than heavier alternatives. Heavier shoes require you to do more work every time you pick up your feet, increasing the load and strain on your body. Whenever possible, opt for a lighter shoe.

5. Wear What You Usually Wear

This one may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many runners make this mistake! If you’re planning to look for shoes, make sure to bring the socks and shoe inserts you plan to wear with them. Because the width of socks and inserts can vary, you’ll want to make sure they fit well when you’re trying on your new shoes.

6. Make Room for Your Toes

One area you won’t want to skimp on is the front of your running shoes, called the “toe box.” In quality shoes, this area will have enough length to allow for toe swelling, meaning that you should have at least the length of a thumbnail between your longest toe and the front of the shoe.

You should also have plenty of wiggle room in the toe box, allowing you to move your toes up and down with ease to help distribute pressure properly while you’re running.

7. Find a Style You Love

Last, but certainly not least, find stylish running shoes you’ll want to wear! Sometimes, the best running shoes are the ones you’re eager to put on for a run.

The best running shoes will combine all of the functionality and comfort you need in an epic shoe design, like Adidas’s line of Human Race shoes. Vivid colors, a fashionable activewear look, and sleek materials have been major footwear trends in recent years. No matter your shoe goals, take some time to find a style you love.

Make the Most of Your Shoe Investment

Whether you’re running cross-country or in your home gym, it’s crucial to find shoes that will support your feet with style. The right shoe investment can offer stellar performance and a fashion-forward look—as long as you follow the tips above! Whether you’re shopping in-person or online, make sure to take some time to shop around for the perfect option.

Looking for more fashion guides to help you put your best foot forward? Be sure to take a look at our other guides for additional tips and tricks.

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