For the running shoe illiterate, there are so many different varieties of running shoes and so many different brand choices that it becomes overwhelming when looking for the right fit. Even reading online is tricky because what may be sound advice, easily gets lost in the vast amount of information and number running shoe choices.

So here I am wondering if you can help me solve this riddle, how can I objectively choose a good running shoe?

  • What type of running shoes exist, so that I may understand what I am looking at and how to select a shoe based on what it offers.

  • How do you identify the superior shoe based on their longevity, quality, brand trust, and other factors?

  • I am not entirely sure if this question is on topic here, but it is a question that has been plaguing me for a while too. So if anyone decides to close-vote, please indicate where we can get a good answer to this question. – CodeNewbie Jul 19 '17 at 6:30
  • 1
    @CodeNewbie My personal feeling is that it's marginally on-topic here, but you'd probably get better answers at Physical Fitness. Depends a bit on what is meant by "running shoes" - track spikes would definitely be on-topic here, trail shoes slightly less so. – Philip Kendall Jul 19 '17 at 7:55
  • @PhilipKendall I appreciate you leaving this question open, I also posted it in the Physical Fitness stack and am receiving answers... however the one posted here is much superior – AGE Jul 20 '17 at 13:43
  • Please don't do that - you should always pick the one site you think the question is most applicable to and post it there and there only. – Philip Kendall Jul 20 '17 at 13:45
  • @PhilipKendall understood, I originally believed that this question would remain closed but come this morning it's open and it has an answer. – AGE Jul 20 '17 at 13:52

Of shoes designed for running (as opposed to "athletic shoes" generally), the superior shoe is the one that fits your foot and stride best which of course is completely subjective to you. The first point is fit: narrow versus wide verus wedge shaped. Arch height is in there too: low versus high. The "best" shoe is the one that is designed for what you happen to have. the second point relates to stability. Some people pronate more or less than average. http://www.runnersworld.com/tag/pronation. Where your heel strikes is a part of your stride that is partially separate from pronation. Other features to evaluate relate to the surface on which you run, your weight, your sex, your weekly mileage, cushioning you might want or need. All of those features interact to affect the shoe weight and construction.

For example, a shoe with serious stability to limit over-pronation will be heavier than a shoe with less stability. If you are not willing to wear the heavier shoe, a lighter version with some stability will not last as long because you will be pronating in the shoe somewhat. That does not mean one shoe is "better" than the other. A petite (lighter-weight) runner can use a lighter a shoe in general because the shoe has to hold up less weight even if he or she requires lots of stability. Going back to fit, Saucony shoes have wider toe boxes and narrower heels than Brooks which are more uniform in width. Others are known for being narrow. (I mention Saucony because they fit my female, wedge foot. I do not know how their shoes for males fit.)

To answer your question, the best way to choose a good pair of running shoes is to go to a store that specializes in running shoes. The staff there are trained in fitting new runners by evaluating their strides and are familiar with the fit and construction of the different brands.

This little doodad http://www.runnersworld.com/shoefinder goes through many of the features that relate to evaluating, but I still would prefer a fit specialist for at least my first pair. If you go through the process, you'll see that one of the options is finding a pair that fit like the ones you have.

  • Very good, I figured a lot depends on your foot and stride. Knowing that I can talk to actual professionals in the running field, rather than sales people certainly raises my hopes. I will certainly look at the links you provided. One thing I still feel lost on is on shoe quality. Say if two shoes do the job for me, different looks/brand, how can I tell which one is the best buy... or is that entirely subjective? – AGE Jul 20 '17 at 13:42
  • 1
    It's like going to the eye doctor and going through all the lens combinations. One will feel better than other even if it's just slightly. And if they're really that close then there is not a best buy. – Val Jul 20 '17 at 14:14

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.