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Try, Try, Try

Once a salesperson can narrow down the type of runner you are and the type of foot you have, he or she will likely have several options for you. Try them all, says Isphording. Don't rush. Take your time trying on and testing shoes.

"Plan on trying on about six pairs that will range in price from $70 to $100," she says. Don't buy for price. Buy the pair that feel the best, she says. "There are a lot of good shoes out there. You'll find a pair that works for you."

Test Drive

Most good specialty running stores will have a treadmill in the store where you can try out your shoes. If there's no treadmill, ask to run somewhere close by. Trying on a shoe is much different than running in it. After all, you don't just sit in a car and decide you want to buy it, you start the engine and take it around the block.

At Wilk's Miami store, he calls this stage of the shoe-shopping process "feel."

"We can do everything to try to fit you to the right shoe," he says, "but we can't feel it for you."

This is a key step in the process, he says. Wilk asks customers to run at pace and then asks these questions: How does the shoe feel on initial contact? How does it transition? Is there anything that's rubbing you wrong or hitting wrong on the shoe?

Shoe Odometer

"Always date your shoes when you buy them," says Isphording. Don't keep them longer than six months or 500 miles. "Even if they still look pretty, throw them away," she says. There is a high risk of injury when running with worn out shoes.

Published January 2007.

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