If the shoe fits: how to pick the right running shoes

Buying a pair of running shoes? Before you head for the shoe store, do this first: Get your feet wet.

Then step on the floor or a piece of paper. Look closely at the shape of your soles’ impressions.

What is this for, you ask. The shape of your soles can tell how your feet roll when you walk or run, which is important to know if you’re into running.

Neutral, over or under

Rolling inward is how your feet absorb shock – the force the ground returns to your feet — during walking or running. This action is called pronation. The degree of your pronation determines how much comfort or pain you may feel and injury you are prone to. Here, we walk you through the three types of pronation and suggest the appropriate running shoes for each (some of them have been featured in the August issue of Women Running)

NEUTRAL1. Neutral pronation In neutral pronation, the sole impression concaves to the middle of the foot. This means that when you walk or run, your feet slightly roll inward, distributing the shock evenly between your feet and legs and supporting your body weight. Another sign of neutral pronation is when the line formed by the leg and inner ankle skews a little when you walk or run. If your feet are like this, your gait is stable and you’re safe against injuries.

What you need: You can wear practically any type of trainers, though you might want to pick those that combine good cushioning and durable outsoles (More on running shoe features later)

We recommend:

Onitsuka Tiger-Ultimate 81

Onitsuka Tiger | Ultimate 81 – $75
International shipping weight – 3.5 kg
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ASICS-fuzeX Rush

ASICS |  fuzeX Rush  – $100
International shipping weight – 3.5 kg
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Athletic Propulsion Labs-TechLoom Phantom

Athletic Propulsion Labs | TechLoom Phantom – $165
International shipping weight – 3 kg
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Brooks-Ghost 10

Brooks | Ghost 10 – $120
International shipping weight – 3 kg
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OVERPRONATION2. Overpronation If your feet roll inward too much, the sole’s impression is whole, without the concave seen in a neutral pronation. The excessive rolling leads to the inner ankle pushing inward farther than normal. Instead of the ball of the foot, it’s the inner edge that carries all the weight. Runners with this type of pronation run the risk of having injuries like shin splints, ASICS says.

What you need: To prevent injuries, choose motion control running shoes. Shoes of this type have dual-density midsoles, or made of two materials with different densities. They cushion the feet from the impact at heel strike that can be three times higher than the body weight. Straight outsoles also serve as additional support.

We recommend:

New Balance-Vazee Prism v2

New Balance | Vazee Prism v2 – $99.99
International shipping weight – 3.5 kg
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Adidas-Supernova Sequence 9

Adidas | Supernova Sequence 9 – $99.99
International shipping weight – 3.5 kg
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diadora-n-6100-4

Diadora | N-6100-4 – $67
International shipping weight – 3 kg
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SUPINATION
3. Underpronation If much inward rolling can cramp your run, very little rolling is a cause for concern, too. When your feet underpronates, or supinates, the impression their soles make has a deep concave that reaches up to the foot’s other side. The inner ankles almost don’t push inward and the legs remain straight when the feet strike the floor. The danger here is that the feet absorb very little shock and the pressure concentrates on the lower leg, causing much pain.

What you need: Get running shoes with cushioning everywhere: upper material, midsole, and heel. Shoes with flexible outsoles also help break the impact.

We recommend:

Salomon-Speedcross 4

Salomon | Speedcross 4 – $130
International shipping weight – 3.5 kg
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Hoka One One-Clifton 4

Hoka One One | Clifton 4 – $130
International shipping weight – 3 kg
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Nike-Air Zoom Pegasus 34

Nike | Air Zoom Pegasus 34 – $110
International shipping weight – 3 kg
Get it here!

Now that you know which pronation your feet do, it’s time to go the store and turn your attention to the shoes themselves.

Anatomy of a running shoe

A running shoe’s structure can be divided into three main parts: the upper, the midsole, and the outsole:

A. The upper is the fabric that wraps around the foot, secured by shoelaces or velcro.

B. The midsole is the part that cushions the soles, providing support and shock absorption. It is usually made of foam material like ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) and polyurethane (PU).

C. The outsole is the layer that touches the ground, usually made of carbon rubber. It provides support and traction.

anatomy running shoe

Reach your exercise goals with the right pair of running shoes. Not only will they make running feel more natural, they will also keep you out of harm’s way.

Still haven’t got a U.S. Address? Get one now for free at comGateway.com and start shopping!