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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Running Shoes

CEO Tinh Phung
Introduction Are you in search of the perfect running shoes? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know to find the ideal pair for your unique feet....


Are you in search of the perfect running shoes? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know to find the ideal pair for your unique feet. Choosing the right running shoes can make a world of difference in your comfort and performance, and we're here to help you make an informed decision.

There is no ONE best running shoe

Feet are as unique as fingerprints, and what works for one person may not work for another. While many would believe that the number one best-rated running shoe is the ultimate choice, the truth is that there is little difference between the overall scores of top-rated shoes. Our advice is simple: choose running shoes with an Audience score above 80, and you'll likely find a shoe that works well for most people. As long as it meets your intended use, you're good to go.


Comfort above anything else

Studies have shown that comfort plays a significant role in reducing running injuries. So, what makes a shoe comfortable? It's a combination of factors:

  • Perfect size: Make sure you know your size or consult our ultimate size guide for assistance.
  • Perfect fit: Your shoe should neither be too tight nor too loose. Avoid discomfort by ensuring there's no pinching or tight areas.
  • Cushioning: The midsole's soft, foamy layer provides that "walking on clouds" feeling.

More cushioning usually translates to more comfort. Beginners should avoid running shoes weighing less than 250 grams, as they tend to have less cushioning. However, experienced runners may opt for lightweight shoes for speed runs.


What is arch support and why it matters

We've conducted an extensive meta-analysis of over 150 studies on arch support and consulted with experts, including doctors of physical therapy and podiatrists. The consensus is that arch support doesn't make a huge difference in injury risk or performance for most runners, unless you have a specific foot condition. Here are some general guidelines:

  • If you're unsure about your feet, opt for neutral running shoes.
  • If you have a high arch, consider cushioned or neutral running shoes.
  • If you have a moderate arch, stability running shoes are a good choice.
  • If you have a moderate arch and neutral pronation, go for neutral running shoes.

Determining pronation can be done by examining your worn footwear. If the outer sides are more worn, you underpronate. If the inner sides are more worn, you overpronate. Even wear indicates neutral pronation.


Road or trail?

Deciding whether you need road or trail running shoes is straightforward. If you predominantly run on roads, treadmills, or well-maintained trails, road running shoes are your best bet. Trail running shoes are necessary only if you run on rugged single-trails or off trails.

Don't be afraid to occasionally run on roads with your trail running shoes, but keep it to a minimum to prevent foot and knee discomfort. Remember, the larger the lugs on your shoe, the sooner your feet may start hurting. If your nearest trails are just half a mile away, it shouldn't pose a problem.

Here are key differences between road and trail shoes:


  • Outsole: Road shoes have flatter soles suitable for pavement, while trail shoes feature lugs for better traction on uneven terrain.
  • Protection: Trail shoes often have rugged toe bumpers and rock plates to safeguard your feet.
  • Weight: Trail shoes tend to be heavier due to their additional features.
  • Upper: Road shoes prioritize breathability, while trail shoes have reinforced elements for protection, making them less breathable.
  • Lacing: Trail shoes may include a lace pocket to prevent tangling with debris during runs.
  • Focus: Road shoes focus on speed, while trail shoes prioritize protection.

Heel to toe drop in running shoes

As a beginner or someone who runs less than 10 miles per week, you don't need to worry too much about heel to toe drop. Just ensure your shoes have a drop of at least 6mm (preferably 8-12mm). However, if you have severe ankle, knee, hip, ITB, Achilles, or plantar fasciitis injuries, it's best to consult a specialist before purchasing running shoes.

Experienced runners often take an interest in heel to toe drop. If you want to learn more, we have an in-depth scientific guide on the subject.


Trust your feet, not "experts" and top-10 lists

When buying your first pair of running shoes, it's best to visit a specialized running store. You can try on different shoes and assess their fit for your feet. Store employees can provide valuable advice, and some may even analyze your feet to determine your pronation, arch height, and more.

While online research can be helpful, it's important not to rely solely on "experts" and top-10 lists. Trust your own experience and the guidance of professionals who can assess your individual needs.

Remember, finding the perfect running shoes is a personal journey. Trust your feet, prioritize comfort, and enjoy your runs to the fullest. Happy running!

Disclaimer: The images used in this article are from the original source.