If you’ve been running for any time, you’ve probably heard all about choosing the best running shoes for you. While this information can be helpful, it can also be confusing, especially when there are many brands and types to choose from. 

How to Choose the Best Running Shoes for You

To help make your choice easier, here are some key questions to ask yourself and things to consider when choosing the best running shoes for your unique gait and fitness goals

If you've been running for any time, you've probably heard all about choosing the best running shoes for you. While this information can be helpful, it can also be confusing, especially when there are many brands and types to choose from. 

Foot Shape and Shoe Type

The first step in buying running shoes is identifying your foot shape. There are three basic shapes: high arch, low arch, and neutral. To determine your foot shape, stand barefoot on a flat surface and look at the outline of your foot. 

You have a high arch if you can see a noticeable dip in the middle of your forefoot. You have a low arch if you don’t see a dip, but rather two arches that come together in the middle of your forefoot. And if there is no visible sign of either arch, you have a neutral arch. 

Once you know your foot type, it’s time to decide what type of shoe will be best for you. Neutral runners should opt for stability-enhancing shoes like those with stability cages and extra padding under the heel. High-arch runners should wear lightweight racing flats with less cushioning in the heel. Low-arch runners may want to wear a cushioned shoe with plenty of shock absorption or get orthotics.

The Great Debate on Cushioning

Should you go with light shoes, or should you go with heavy-duty shoes? There is no correct answer. The decision comes down to your preferences. Heavier shoes will be best for you if you like a lot of cushioning. 

On the other hand, if you prefer a more barefoot feel and less weight on your feet, then lighter shoes might be better suited for you. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference and what feels best for your feet.

But before you can decide which shoe is best for you, here are some general things to consider: 

  • What’s your foot type? Flat feet need more support than high arches. 
  • How much do you weigh? Heavier people need extra cushioning in their shoes.
  • What’s the surface that you’ll mostly be running on? If it’s mostly pavement, ensure the treads have enough grip so they won’t slip. 
  • Are there any medical conditions that would affect how your foot responds to certain types of running surfaces?
  • What’s your budget limit per pair of running shoes?
If you've been running for any time, you've probably heard all about choosing the best running shoes for you. While this information can be helpful, it can also be confusing, especially when there are many brands and types to choose from. 

Get the Right Fit

The best running shoes will be a pair that are comfortable and supportive. The wrong fit will not only cause discomfort but could lead to injury, so take your time when trying on a new pair of shoes. When you’re standing, there should be about a thumb’s width between your toes and the end of the shoe.

If you don’t have enough space in front of your toes, try loosening the laces or going with a shorter shoe. If you can’t find a shoe where your heel doesn’t slip out even after adjusting the laces, it’s too big, and you need one size down. Make sure you have at least half an inch of space behind your heel.

Heel Height and Pronation

Pronation is a natural movement of your foot that occurs when you walk or run. The three most common pronations are neutral, supination, and overpronation. Neutral pronations occur when your foot rolls inward and flattens on impact with the ground. 

Supination is a movement in which your foot rolls outward and upon impact with the ground. Oversupination is a condition in which your foot rolls outward too much, causing excessive arching in your foot.

Support Systems

It can be hard to know what running shoes are best for you. Several variables go into choosing a shoe, including your weight and how high your arches are. The type of surface you run on is also essential.

For example, if you primarily run on pavement or concrete, choosing a running shoe with some cushioning and arch support is a good idea. If you’re running on trails, it’s best to buy shoes with more traction since slippery surfaces and uneven ground will occur. 

Movement in Action

Choosing running shoes is an important decision and should not be taken lightly. There are so many shoe options it can be hard to know where to start. The first step in choosing your best running shoes is determining your runner type. There are three types: neutral, overpronator, and supinator. 

You may want a gait analysis before buying new shoes if you do not fall into any of these categories. It’s also vital to determine what kind of surface you will be running on most often, as this will make a difference in your shoe choice.

Wear Them In

Many factors determine what running shoes are best for you. First, your foot type pronation or supination should be taken into account. Pronation is when your foot rolls inwards, and supination is when it rolls outwards. 

Next, you need to consider how much support you want in your shoe and how much cushioning. Lastly, note how wide your feet are so that there’s enough space in the front and back of the shoe.

Take Notes On What Works and What Doesn’t Work For You

The most important thing you need when shopping for running shoes is comfort. Finding a shoe that both looks good and feels great is hard. What works for one person may not work well for another, so it’s essential to try on shoes before buying them. Some people prefer a high-cut shoe because it offers more ankle support, while others prefer a low-cut shoe because it offers more movement flexibility. 

It’s also essential to consider the terrain you will be running on. If you are running on pavement, consider getting a lower-cut shoe with more cushioning in the heel; if you are running in dirt or grass, consider getting an even higher-cut shoe with less cushioning.


Running shoes are a very personal choice. There are many different brands, styles, and features to choose from. It can be hard to know what you’re looking for when you enter a store, so don’t hesitate to ask an employee. Once you have narrowed down your choice and found what’s best for your foot type, run style, and needs, make sure you get fitted by a professional before you buy.

Alicia Trautwein is an Autism advocate, writer, motivational speaker, and dedicated mom of four. Alicia’s desire to advocate for Autism comes from her own autism diagnosis and that of her three children, niece, and brother. Her life’s mission is to educate on autism acceptance and change the world for future generations of autistic individuals.

Convenient Online Speech Therapy. At Home. On Your Schedule.

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