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How to Buy Running Shoes: Tips to Treat Your Feet Right

Experts offer 13 tips for finding the running shoes that are best for you.
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Norman M Heyman, MD

Looking for the right running shoes?

These days, the search can be daunting. It used to be so simple. As kids, we had sneakers that we wore for everything from riding a bike to climbing a tree to playing baseball in the backyard.

Now there are shoes for every sport -- and countless varieties to choose from. Asics, Nike, Mizuno, New Balance, Saucony -- these are just a few of the companies that sell running shoes. It's hard to pronounce these brands, let alone remember them.

So how do you know which running shoes are right for you?

We asked some fitness experts -- all of them runners -- how to buy running shoes. Here is their advice:

Know Your Running Profile

The best first step in finding the right running shoes is knowing what you will be doing with them, says Bruce Wilk, physical therapist and owner of The Runner's High, a running specialty store in Miami. Are you a jogger or a runner? Do you run 15 miles a week or 25? Do you run on trails, asphalt, or a treadmill? Are you training for a race?

"A high school track runner is different than a middle-aged marathoner," says Wilk.

You also have to take into account your body type, he says.

"A big round person is different than a narrow skinny person," says Wilk, and there are running shoes out there for every body type.

Identify Your Running Style

Know how you run, says Wilk. It's important to determine where a person first comes in contact with the ground. Is it the outside of the heel? Is it at the inside of the forefoot?

"If the point of initial contact is mainly through the forefoot (as for many athletes and sprinters), then there's not a lot of shoe needed behind the forefoot," says Wilk. "Why would you want to have a lot of cushion in the heel when you're not going to spend any time there anyway?"

If you're a forefoot runner, you should be wearing a running shoe like the Nike Vomero, which has most of its cushion in front. If you run from heel to toe, the Asics Gel Kayano might be the right running shoe for you.

Be sure to identify any injuries you have developed from running, as well. Problems like shin splints, blisters, tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis often can be reversed with the proper fitting running shoes.

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