Choosing a new Running Shoe

Between now and January 1st, a lot of runners will be buying new running shoes.

Well at least some of us will – TheWife would kill me deader than a doornail, if I went out and bought a new pair of running shoes before the first of the year, actually before next spring, since I just got a new pair in November, which I really love.

So I will have to live vicariously through those of you who do buy shoes between now and then, when you go ahead and plunk down between $50 and $200 for a new pair of running shoes.

Have you been drooling over the newest (__ you put in the brand and style__) and all the ads, tech specs and pictures of people running in cool places, has got you sold that shoe is the one you are going to spend your money on.

Caveat Emptor = Buyer beware

Do you really know what kind of shoe you need for your personal running style or has the marketing hype gotten a hold of your soul and made you salivate over a certain shoe. So much that you just have to have it – no matter whether it fits you correctly or not. I know that I have played that game before and gotten shoes that didn’t fit quite right or were not right for the kind of running that I would be using them for, just because I got caught up in the hype about a running shoe.

My advice to you after making this mistake far too many times is to

Do Your Own Research

Before you go out looking for new shoes!

Ask yourself:

What kind of running are you going to mainly do with these shoes?

  • Outside winter running in winter conditions
  • Outside running in decent weather
  • How many miles are you running – this makes a big difference on what you really need
  • Treadmill
  • Trails
  • Roads
  • Minimalist aka Barefoot

Those are all different styles of running and might need different shoe styles

Other questions to ask yourself

  • Do you have any special requirements for your shoes?

minimalist, stabilization, light, big runner, orthotics, wide feet, narrow feet, over-pronation, supination, etc.? If you don’t know these terms most of the running magazine websites have great glossaries that give definitions of what these terms mean.

  • Do you have a brand of shoe that you have used successfully in the past and like?
  • Is your current model working for you and worn out or is it just not working for you?
  • Do you just want to try something new? Why?
  • What is the purpose behind wanting to change brands/models?
  • Has your current model been “updated” or discontinued? What are the reviews of the updated version?

Ask yourself these questions and any others that you can think of that you want to answer before going further

Write it down

I have found if I go ahead and create a word processing document and write out the answers to the questions I have. That I tend to look at what I am looking for in a running shoe a little differently or closely, than I do when just say I need a new pair of shoes and go out and get them.

Type of Running

Now that you have answered the questions and figured out how you will be using your new running shoes, you will have narrowed down your choices or style considerably. Just by having a better idea of what you are actually looking for in a running shoe. Instead of simply listening to the hype, you may have chosen the same shoe, but at least now you know why chose them and it was more than marketing magic.

At this point you should have around ten models/styles to research further.

Start Your Research

Go to some of the running magazines, Runners World, Trail Runner, Running Times, etc or their website and look through their running shoe reviews or look for blogs that do a lot of shoe reviews like The Running Shoe Guru or other similar blogs. Also looking in the comments sections for many of these reviews will give you hidden gems that you need to know before buying a pair of running shoe.

You can also do a shout-out on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ for recommendations from people who are running in the shoes you are interested in. Which can give you some very important information about the shoes you are considering.

Once you have narrowed your search down a little more, go to the manufacturer’s website of shoes that you are interested in and look at the specs and the write-up from them and compare their claims to what you have learned from other sources. Sometimes the claims and the real-world usage do not match up and it is important to know the differences.

Then go to the website of the places you plan to visit when you are going to go shoe shopping (if they have one) and check out the prices, shoe write-ups or other information. Comparison shopping is an okay thing to do. You might be able to negotiate a little if you have enough information.

Pros/Cons

Write down on your W/P document the pros and cons of each shoe from your perspective, based on how you will use the shoe. Do this for each shoe you are really interested getting, you might be surprised at how this turns out.

Are you now prepared?

If you do some of this research before you leave the house or shop online you will be better prepared and have an idea of at least 4-5 shoes that you want to look at more closely when you go looking for those shoes and what they will cost you for the privilege of running in them.

Next up what to do when you actually leave the house to shop for a pair of shoes.

5 thoughts on “Choosing a new Running Shoe

  1. I can't wait for the New Balance MT110's and I hope they are wide enough for me! The 101's were a bit tight, but ok…I ended up blowing out both during a 1/2 trail marathon. I didn't know it until a couple days later when I went to put them on for a 5k on a cross country course.

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  2. I hate it when that happens, but hey that is what happens when you run as fast as you do :-). I have heard lots of good things about the 110's. I am lucky, I have small narrow feet, so usually not a problem in my world, except for the old Brook Villanova's which had a bazillion miles on them and were held together by a wing and a prayer 🙂

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