Finding and picking the right pair of running shoes to fit your exact needs isn’t always easy. There are simply too many choices in today’s saturated footwear market. In fact, the global market for athletic footwear was valued at around $98 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow to $120 billion by 2026, according to research firm Facts and Factors. That’s a lot of new footwear to search through. So if finding the right running shoes for your feet sometimes feels impossible, here are some tips that can help narrow down your choices.
Know Your Feet
The ideal pair of running shoes will ultimately be determined by the shape, size, and condition of your feet. If you have the condition known as Ples Planus – also known as flat feet – there are shoes designed to help you optimize your running. Flat-footed individuals often overpronate or lean their feet inwards too much when moving. And many modern athletic shoes are designed with supports and shapes to correct this movement.
Meanwhile, for those with wide feet, there are tons of different options as well. Brands like HOKA, New Balance, and Asics have a variety of models that are perfect for wide-footed runners. When you’re picking running shoes, the journey always starts with knowing your own feet. While most people just consider shoe size and the overall look, it’s time to also factor in the shape of the shoes, the technology behind them, and whether or not they actually cater to your feet’s current condition.
Know Your Shoes
It also helps if you’re familiar with the anatomy of a running shoe. The upper part is everything that’s above the sole. In addition to aesthetics, pay attention to how the material breathes, and especially how the ankle collar feels against your ankle bones and Achilles tendon. Meanwhile, the middle part or the midsole is arguably the most important part of the shoe. Typically made of EVA plastics, your midsole’s ability to resist indentation is measured in durometers, where higher numbers translate to tougher and more robust material. And last but not least is the outsole or the outer sole, which determines the traction of the shoe.
Lighter soles are often composed of EVA plastics while heavier ones are made of either natural or synthetic rubbers. If you’re looking for a pair that’s meant for road running, you need a segmented outsole for proper traction. But if you’re a trail runner, look for bumpy lug patterns that will give you a comfortable grip even in mud. When picking shoes, you might find that you prefer the upper, midsole, and outsole parts of different shoes. Because you will be wearing them, your job is to see which pair has all the right elements you’re looking for.
Know Your Community
Your quest for the perfect shoes can be streamlined if you turn to a community filled with shoe and running enthusiasts. Old-timers in the game are often more than willing to chew your ear off about what to look for when it comes to the perfect shoe. And considering how everything is now online, there’s no shortage of ways to tap into this expert community. Positively obsessed with sneakers, the SoleSavy sneaker community is no stranger to newcomers looking for the perfect shoes. Apart from what will feel comfortable on your feet, sneakerheads can even tell you the best time to purchase the pair that you’ve been eyeing, or when new models are coming out.
Meanwhile, you’re also bound to find an expert or two in our own Run Trails running community. Veteran runners who’ve likely seen too many injuries to last a lifetime are often very willing to offer practical advice when it comes to not just picking, but also wearing and carrying the right shoes.
While the choices seem infinite and endless, it’s actually not that hard to pick the perfect pair. Just tap into your community, understand the basics of shoe anatomy, and get to know your own two feet a little better.