Although there is somewhat of a technique to finding the right pair of running shoes, the best thing you can do is to go in with as much knowledge as you can possibly gather upfront, to help you make the right decisions when the time to choose comes.

Remember that brands have a job, and that is to sell their wares. Each brand will come up with a huge list of reasons why their brand is the best. This is where knowing what you need and what will benefit your body based on your build, weight, and preferences, comes in handy.

Let’s break it down into smaller pieces, and let’s take the mystery out of running shoes.

Start with your environment

The area where you will find yourself on the bulk of the runs you will undertake in your new shoes, is a cornerstone of the decision-making process. Different types of shoes are designed for different environments, and wearing shoes that have been designed for use in one environment, in another, will set you up for failure. Consider the running surface of a road. It is flat, hard and rough. Ideally, you will need a flat, hard shoe to run on that kind of surface. It needs to offer joint protection from repeat impact on the road, while offering stability in order to prevent injury and strain.

Off Road runners need a shoe that will be of value on slippery or otherwise unstable surfaces, like mud or gravel. The studs on these shoes offer the best protection against losing your footing on strange surfaces and inclines, and other than the fact that they are of no use on the road, it is important to remember that the surface of the road will destroy these valuable studs.

It is definitely not a good idea to use these shoes on any unnatural surface!

Let’s talk about gait

A gait analysis is an excellent starting point to figuring out what your pronation style is. It’s easy to do – if you simply pop into any of the Asics stores in AU, they will be able to help you with this test. Pronation is the way that your feet roll from side to side during your natural footfall. The result of this simple test will guide you as to what the best shoes would be to support your feet.

What’s the deal with insoles?

Although they are an add-in to the original shoes, there is many people are major fans of insoles. Even if they are strictly speaking not “necessary”, they can make a difference to your comfort levels. If you are an insole wearer, make sure that you bring them along to any fitting, so that you know what the final fit will be once your insoles are part of the picture. There are quite a few benefits to adding insoles: additional padding over the heel can make for a more comfortable footfall, and the additional padding can prevent the foot from sliding around sideways in the shoe, which can lead to chafing. If you are prone to shin splints, try adding a pair of orthotic insoles to try and mitigate the instability.

Socks also make a difference

Even though they may seem insignificant, the socks you wear with your running shoes can\ greatly affect the running experience. The fit of the shoe can be completely modified by adding a thin or a thick sock, and when your feet swell naturally from running, you will feel the difference.

It is not an old wives’ tale that you should try on shoes with the same socks (or at least, the same type of socks) that you would wear when you actually go running. This way, you eliminate any surprises down the line, such as an ill-fitting shoe, or unexpected chafing.

Does it make a difference what brand I choose?

Many people are brand loyal, based on positive experiences with their brand of choice, over the course of many years. The shoes’ function should always take greater priority than their appearance, no matter what. After all, nothing is worse than being halfway into a race, when your great-looking, but inappropriate shoes start chewing on your feet! Although the Asics store stock most types of shoes for any foot structure or pronation style, it is still worthwhile to shop around between brands for one that best meets your needs.

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