Buying trainers for running.....
Avoid the pitfalls with our guide....

Running shoes today are more comfortable, protective and durable, but....oh boy does it make life more complicated when it comes to trying to buy a pair of shoes.

So how do you ensure that you are purchasing the correct pair of running shoes? The ones that will be the best for you feet and your style of running? Well, we'll try to help and give you a few pointers to finding the shoes that lives up to all your expectations.

And don't forget to replace your running trainers every 400 - 600 miles, 'cos they lose their padding benefit. Also for gym work you have to be careful you don't wear old trainers that have lost their lateral support. Both of these can be bad for you feet

Buy a Good Pair to start with.....

Firstly, you must acknowledge that a pair of running shoes are the largest outlay you will have for this sport, so decide from the start that you are going to buy a good pair - don't cut corners, otherwise you will just wish that you had bought the good pair in the first place.

A good pair will offer protection from injury and reduce the occurence of muscle or joint aches resulting from poor footwear.


Pay from around 45 upwards will get you a decent, basic shoe, and from 60 upwards you are getting more durability, quality and features beyond the basics.


How do you run?

Seems a daft question, but the answer is fundamental in deciding which type of shoes are best for you. The mechanics of the running process are complex and every runner pronates - a word that simply describes the way your foot hits and leaves the ground.

The Mechanics of Running

Your foot hits the ground on the outside of your heel and your foot rolls downwards and inwards as you move forward. This movement of the foot when you land on the ground is known as pronation and everyone pronates to some degree or other.....bear with me here.....this is essential reading!

Pronation helps the foot absorb shock. However:

  • some runners overpronate - feet roll too far inwards. Can lead to lower leg and knee injuries in particular
  • some runners underpronate - feet roll inwards only slightly and their feet don't absorb the shock as well. Can also lead to injury over time.

to work out what your foot type is......... Check your arch way is to use the "wet test".
Wet the bottom of your foot and then make a footprint on a flat, dry surface such as a white piece of paper on a hard floor.
If your wet footprint is:

  • Very full and wide = low arch and flat foot = probably over pronate (25% of runners)
  • Print of heel and toes mostly = High arch = probably underpronate (25% of runners)
  • Print of full foot with moderate curve for arch = Normal arch = probably pronate to correct degree (50% of runners)



The Anatomy of running shoes

The most important feature to consider is the shape of the shoe as this is related to your foot type. You can see the shape of the shoe clearly by looking a the bottom of the shoes.
In general there are 3 shapes:

  • Straight shape for overpronators
  • Curved shape for underpronators
  • Semicurved shape for normal pronators

Other characteristics:


For flatter feet that overpronate......then you will need a shoe to control motion......otherwise known as a motion-control shoe..... strangely enough. With a straight shape (normally) the shoe gives max. support to the foot. Also look for:

      1. An anti-pronation post
      2. A firm rather than soft midsole with denser material alog the inner edge of the shoes
      3. A firm heel counter to reduce rearfoot motion .


If you have a high arch......your feet as not so good at absorbing the you need to look for a cushioned sole. A cushioned sole tends to work with the foot rather than control it. You need a soft cusioned midsole with a curved or semicurved shape to allow your foot to move as you run.

Normal Pronators

If you have a normal arch and pronate normally....then congratulations! You don't need to search our for special features. Just ensure that you get a shoe that fits and feels comfortable. Often shoes in this range, with a semi-curved shape are referred to as stability shoes and lie between the motion control shoes and the cushioned shoes.

Buying your shoes

Now we have all that sorted out, get yourself along to a specialist running shoe where you can rely on the staff to sell you what you need rather than what they have extra of in the stock room. Don't go to your run-of-the-mill sports shop in the high street.......a specialist running shop is the way to go as they will understand and advise you of the best shoe. The sales person should always talk to you about your running and running style before you try on some shoes.

  • Shop late in the afternoon or after a run - your feet will be expanded then
  • Wear your running socks
  • Get BOTH feet measured in the shop - one foot is always larger.
  • Your shoes should be snug but NOT TIGHT.
  • Your shoes may need to be a half to a full size larger than your everyday shoes.

Check that there is adequate room at the front of the shoe. There should be a thumb width between the end of your largest toe and the end of the shoe Shoe should fit the foot snugly at its widest point and when you walk your foot should not slide around either. Upper should fit snugly and hold foot securely. There should be no irratating seams or bits that press the foot to tightly.



....... just stick with them and don't be tempted by other "newer/faster/flashier" models.
However, saying that don't forget replace your running trainers every 400 - 600 miles to ensure
you don't tempt injury.


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