Choosing the Proper Running Shoe

Do Your Research

Everybody has a different foot and different lower body structure.  It is important to research and find the right shoe and brand that is right for you.  There is no “one brand” that is a fit for every runner.  In fact, one specific shoe or model may not be a fit for you year after year.  Companies are constantly changing the soles of their shoes as new models are released.  The shoe that worked for you this year may be different next year!

Fit Matters

Try on both shoes to ensure proper fit.  Commonly our feet can be different sizes.  Be sure to leave space in the “toe box” for expansion and motion and to allow for propulsion.  Your running shoe size may be a bit bigger than your size in “street” shoes.

Be Careful of the Cushion

A shoe with too much cushion may actually contribute to injury.  Our brains want and need good awareness of our joints—their movement, position, stress, etc.—especially during a dynamic activity like running.  Too much cushion takes away some of that awareness, with the foot so well protected by the shoe.  As a result, we hit the ground much harder than with less-padded shoes to get the feedback the brain is desiring.  This actually leads to greater impact loading through the foot.

Track the Miles you Run in your Shoes

Soles of shoes have a lifespan and will begin to break down over time and increased mileage.  Too many miles past their lifespan can cause breakdown, decreased support, and lead to injury.  As part of your research, identify the expected mileage for your brand and model of shoe and track the miles you run.  This knowledge, as well as listening to your body, will help you decide when it is time to replace them!

  • Find a reputable dealer that allows you to try the shoes out and return if they are not right for you. 
  • Nike offers a trial run with free returns for 30 days after purchase.
  • offers exchanges of worn shoes up to 90 days after purchase.
  • Fleet Feet offers a Happy Fit Guarantee in which shoes that do not meet expectations of performance or fit may be returned up to 60 days after purchase.


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