It’s so exciting!

Buying New Shoes It’s so exciting! You’ve envied your running buddies’ shoes, you’ve goggled at the Google searches and now it’s time…

And although you’re excited about getting your new shoes and can’t wait to go for your first run in them, there’s a problem: there are just too many to choose from. Where do you start?

So many shoes

The global running shoe market is huge. It’s estimated to be worth more than £20 billion, with Brooks having the largest slice of the market as it controls more than a quarter of all running shoes bought.

And with mountainous climb of trail running in recent years, trail shoe sales are growing fast, currently worth more than £4 billion each year.

it’s no wonder with all that money to be made by shoe companies, that there is a mind blowing array of running shoes to choose from – after all, they need to keep you coming back somehow!

And if the selection of colours and styles isn’t confusing enough, there is all this stuff about neutral, overpronation, stability, motion control and minimalist.

Even when you think you know what you need, running shoes are so expensive that it’s all a bit of a gamble. Because of this, many runners choose to go to their trusted local running shop where they can get help and advice from the expert staff. And if we assume for a moment that this is a specialist running shop so the staff are experts, this is a great idea. There are lots of benefits over buying online such as:

  • Supporting your local economy
  • Actually having the shoes fitted to your feet
  • The opportunity to run in them either on the treadmill or up and down the street.

Ready to buy yet?

So, you’ve decided your local running shop is the best option, but what now?

There are still several things to consider before you part with your hard-earned cash, and number one is comfort.

No matter what the expert staff tell you about pronation control, stability or any other clever technology a shoe has, the shoes must be comfortable. If you are in doubt, it’s really quite simple: don’t buy them.

To help you look at the other things to consider, I’ve created a checklist for you below, but before we get to that there’s one more thing to consider. 

If you are buying new shoes to help with pain or improve your running, I would stop right there and take a step back. While shoes can help, they can also make things worse and there may be a better approach. You can find out more in my Run strong Guide.

OK, here’s the checklist you’ve been waiting for. I’ve adapted this from the excellent list at TheRunningClinic.com

  • Shop for shoes late in the day, after activity. (The foot swells slightly with activity.)
  • Choose a store that offers a wide choice of sport-specific shoes with recommended features.
  • Try on both shoes in the store. Wear sports socks and lace the shoes securely.
  • Practice some dynamic moves such as running or jumping.
  • Make sure the shoes feel comfortable as soon as you put them on. (Good fit, no pressure points, heel doesn’t slip, etc.)
  • Look for manufacturing defects. Even if they are small, they can change how you run: Be wary of discounted shoes
  • Leave a centimetre between the toes and the end of the shoe.
    (Toes should be able to wiggle freely in the toe-box)
  • The price of a shoe is not an indication of quality and definitely not one of protection from injury.
  • Shoes have a limited lifespan. You need to monitor the wear of the shoe and any deformations that can affect the incidence of injury, rather than monitor the cushioning.
  • Your weight should not determine the size or the cushioning of the shoe, but only the quality of the shoe’s upper, which should be a little more sturdy.
  • Give your feet time to adjust. Wear your new shoes in very gradually so that the body adapts to the new biomechanics, even if they are the same make and model you always wear. 

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