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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Surefire Tips for Choosing the Right Running Shoes

Dec 23, 2015 01:50PM ● By Allen Adelman

Finding the perfect pair of running shoes can be a daunting experience with so many styles and high-tech features to choose from. Whether shopping online or at a running specialty store, here are some surefire tips become a smarter, more confident shopper.



Know the Arch Shape: An easy footprint test at home will show if we have a low, medium or high arch.


Determine if the Foot Rolls Inward or Outward: During the running stride, a slight inward roll (pronation) is normal. If it’s excessive (more than 15 degrees from center), it’s called over-pronation, and if it rolls in an outward direction (to any degree), it’s called under-pronation or supination. Shoes are available for each foot type. To gauge the degree of pronation, have a friend watch the stride from behind while walking or slow jogging on a level surface. When the foot strikes the ground, have them observe which direction the foot rolls and by how much. The shoe wear pattern is also a basic indicator. Under-pronation causes the outer edge of the shoe to wear out faster, while over-pronation does the same to the inner edge of the shoe. A professional gait analysis is offered as a free service at most running stores as well. 


Have Feet Measured for Size and Width: Feet can change as we get older, but don’t get stuck on any particular number or measurement. Judge each shoe by how it actually feels and fits on the foot, not by the size number on the label.


Choose From the Correct Running Shoe Category: There are four basic categories:
1) Stability shoes are the most common type for people with medium arches that pronate normally. 2) Motion control shoes offer maximum stability and support. They are for people with very low arches that over-pronate. 3) Neutral cushioned shoes are designed to be softer and more flexible for people with high arches that tend to under-pronate. 4) Ultra-light shoes include competitive racing shoes and minimal-type shoes for barefoot-style running.


Decide Based on How the Shoe Actually Feels and Fits: Trying on different styles and sizes is essential to zeroing in on the best choice. Be sure to wear the same type of sock used for runs. How the shoes actually feels on our feet is the most important factor to consider. Don’t let the color or look of the shoe influence a decision too much. Take time and judge whether the shoes feel comfortable all around. A good-fitting shoe should be comfortably snug along both sides of the foot, while allowing for a bit of space in front of our biggest toe (about one-quarter inch).


Going to a store that specializes in running shoes is usually the best way to get precisely measured, receive expert advice and try on all the shoes before buying.


Allen Adelman is the owner of New Balance North Shore, located at Port Clinton Square, 610 Central Ave., in Highland Park. For more information, call 847-266-8323 or visit