Which Running Shoe to Buy?

It can be a very confusing and over-whelming experience trying to shop for a running shoe. Its great that running shoe companies are offering such a wide range of shoes with technical features, but in-turn this has left the public feeling even more confused as to what shoe they should get. We hear your struggles and understand that you may also not be in expert hands when getting fitted. Hence we have created a shoe table (Updated 2015) that compares different shoe brands. Some may know what they require but others don’t. If you don’t , then see a podiatrist for an expert opinion. Selecting a shoe is not simply about your arch height or shape. It is actually a bit more complicated. Shoes vary in their shape, density, elevation pitch, cushion, and weight. Patients often ask me “What brand do you recommend ?” and I often reply ” Its not about what brand is the best, but what shoe is most suitable for you ?” . Podiatrist will determine the most suitable running shoe for a person by asking the following questions:

– What is the frequency, mileage, speed, surface of you running ?

-What injuries have you incurred in the past ?

-Do you have any current or past foot or leg pain ?

-What shoes are you currently wearing and why ?

-What is the weight and build of your body ?

-Are you using orthotics and why ?

Then we carry out a biomechanical assessment looking at your lower limb. We look at how you run on a treadmill to see your style of running and if there are any problem areas.

Once we have established the information we need, then we can recommend the running shoes for you.  At our clinic, we are annually meeting with technical representatives of running shoe companies to get an update on their footwear, to ensure we provide the most uptodate advise to you. Hence there are no simple answers for everyone. But for those who have already an idea of what they need or seeking, having this shoe table helps you to compare what is on the market.

Points to remember when shopping for a running shoe are :

– Don’t assume your size. Always get re-fitted each time and ensure the width of the shoe is suitable. Many shoe brands come in standard ‘B’ fitting but many offer extra width such as ‘D’ fitting which is great if you have that foot with narrow heel and wide front.

– Always try atleast 3 different types of shoes and walk around the shop trying to gauge which feels the best.

-If you use orthotics, always try them on with the shoe before you commit to buying. This ensures you have adequate length, depth and width.

-Most people have a half size difference between each foot. Ensure you try  shoes on both feet and accommodate the longer foot. If you don’t, this can lead to toenail damage or other pressure spots.

-Try shoes on at the end of the day. Feet swell up during the day and it can make a half size difference between morning and afternoon. Since your feet also swell up as your run, its important you factor this into the size of the shoe.

-Running shoe companies are reviewing their shoes every year and sometimes they make changes and other times they don’t . If you have a favourite running shoe that you repeatedly purchase, ensure you ask the store or do research on the internet to find out if your shoe brand and model has been altered before you commit to re-purchasing it.


Vanessa Hadchiti