Veteran runners know that finding the right pair of running shoes is as important as training is for a successful run. The right pair of running shoes not only make the miles more enjoyable, but they can also help prevent injury. Your running shoes provide the foundation for your entire body, thus it’s essential they fit just right. So, how do you choose the right running shoes for you?
1. Where are you planning to run?
Do you plan on hitting the trails or staying on the pavement? Where you plan on running will determine which style of running shoes is best for you.
- Trail-running shoes are designed for running on grass, gravel, and the occasional root or rock. They have better grip for uneven terrain and generally stiffer midsoles to provide stability for running on rugged trails and surfaces.
- Road running shoes are designed for running on pavement, sidewalks, treadmills, or track. They are light and flexible and made to stabilize feet during repetitive strides on even, hard surfaces.
- Cross training shoes are made for jogging, walking, gym workouts, or any activity where you’d prefer to have more contact with the ground. Cross trainers have thinner soles to allow for this.
2. How much cushion do you need?
The amount of cushioning you need between your foot and the ground is a matter of preference. Some runners like a lot of cushion; they like to feel as if they are bouncing on air. Other runners may prefer to feel the ground more with each stride, so they opt for less cushion. The only way to know what you prefer is to try on different types of running shoes. Shoes with thick soles and higher platforms will have a more cushioned, running on air feel to them, whereas minimalist shoes have the least. When trying on running shoes, always be sure to walk around in them to see how they feel for you.
3. What kind of support do you need?
Pronation is the term used to describe how your foot rolls inward each time it hits the ground. There are three different kinds of pronation: neutral pronation, overpronation, and supine pronation. When your foot rolls inward a normal amount, you have neutral pronation. Overpronation is when your foot rolls inward too much, and supine pronation describes runners whose foot rolls outward instead of inwards. Both overpronation and supine pronation runners are more at risk for injury because of their abnormal gait.
Fortunately, running shoes are designed to correct these abnormalities and support a natural gait. Running shoes are labeled as either neutral, stable, or motion control. These labels refer to their design features that help support each pronation type. To determine your pronation, you’ll need to have a running specialist watch your feet as you run. Many specialty running shoe stores will have specialists who can determine your pronation by watching you run on a treadmill. They can then guide you to which shoe will work best for you, depending on your gait.
4. Make sure the shoe fits
Take your time trying running shoes on before making a purchase. It may be helpful to get your foot measured at the store if you’re not sure of your shoe size. Ask the store clerk to bring you several different types of running shoes so you can compare them. Try on both shoes at the same time and walk around in them to see how they feel. Your running shoes should feel comfortable from the get-go. If they don’t feel comfortable right away, they’re not going to feel comfortable after a few miles. Your shoes should feel just right, not too big, and not too tight. Make sure there is about a thumb’s length of space in between your toes and the front of your shoe. You want your toes to be able to move without rubbing. Also, make sure you are lacing your shoes correctly. Tying your laces too tight may impact the feel of your running shoes.
2111 NW Savier St Portland, OR 97210
Fleet Feet takes finding the right fit for their customers seriously. They have trained staff that can help you find the right pair of running shoes for you by getting your fit ID. Your fit id is measured by using 3D scanning technology to take measurements of your feet to give your personal shoe and insole recommendations. Check out their website to make an appointment for your own fit ID.
333 SW Taylor St Ste 100 Portland, OR 97204
Foot Traffic is a specialty running store with a low-key community feel. The running shoe store is owned and operated by runners who are passionate about their sport. Foot Traffic specializes in helping you find your fit as well as serving as a community hub for local runners.
10029 SW Nimbus Ave Ste 100 Beaverton, OR 97008
Portland Running Company is a large retail store specializing in running shoes and running gear. They have a wide selection of shoes and apparel for men and women. If you’re looking to get the perfect fit, running specialists are there to help you. With treadmills on site, be prepared to get a workout in as a specialist determines your shoe type from your running gait. Afterwards you can refresh with a cold beer at the Run Pub attached to the store.
29 NW 23rd Pl Uptown Shopping Center Portland, OR 97210
Road Runner Sports has your best selection of running shoes and running gear for men, women, and children. It’s a full-service retail store that specializes in finding your perfect fit. Like Fleet Feet, Road Runner Sports also uses 3D technology to determine which shoes are perfect for your feet.
For more running shoe stores in the Portland area and their reviews, check out Yelp’s list of Best Athletic Shoes In Portland. Take your time when finding your perfect pair of shoes and know your options. For best results, go to a running specialist who can help you determine which shoes are right for your foot and running gait. With the right pair of shoes, you’ll be ready to take on the world, one mile at a time.