Updated: May 14, 2019
Finding the right shoe is a constant runners struggle. How do I know which brand to buy? Which style? Which store? It can be overwhelming. Shoes are very important to a runner. They are an investment. You don’t want to just settle for one because they are on sale, they are going to be with you for a while. I use to be against local running store because I thought they were overpriced and I could get the same part at a chain. Local running stores are the best place to buy shoes in my mind because this is their specialty and what they know. The associates will measure and analyze your foot to check what type of arch you have. In addition, they will ask you questions so they can make sure they prescribe the right brand and type. I know from personal experience as well that their goal isn’t to sell you the most expensive shoe if it isn’t right for you. What’s also nice that if you become a member of Minnesota Distance Running Association (www.mdra.org), you will get a discount off shoes and accessories at local stores. The list does not just include MN or the twin cities, it includes a wide range of cities along MN and also SD, and ND.
My favorite place to go is Marathon Sports in Minneapolis. The Running Room is also a close second. The associates are so knowledgeable and helpful. They fit my foot using some high tech 3d machine that measured my foot. They were able to tell me what type of arch I had, what type of shoe I needed, and my correct size. I came to find out that I had been buying a size to big. In addition, I was introduced to super feet. Super feet are a special kind of insole that helps provide you with either extra support or stability. They are a little pricey ($50 per pair), but they last on average 2-3 years per pair instead of 1-2 months like dr scholls.
Things to consider when buying shoes:
1. Correct size
2. Stable vs Supportive
3. Wide vs Narrow
4. Trail vs Road
My shoe of choice since I started running as an adult has been Brooks. People that know me, know that I am a Brooks groupie. You get me talking about Brooks, I sometimes have to be told to calm down because I just love them so much. I never heard of Brooks before because when I ran in high school, they didn’t have Brooks. I started with Nike and then turned to Asics because they have added cushion. I went to a local store to get my Asics 3 years back and the worker asked me what type of shoe I wanted. I went to what I knew, Asics, and they worker directed me to Brooks because of their stability and cushion. I was hesitant at first but now 7 pairs later, I am sold. I am a big fan of the adrenaline series but am currently on my 2nd pair of the Bedlams. The day before the Bedlams came out, I researched online where to buy them the next day because I was so excited. The have a new form of energy yield in them along with guiderails. The energy technology gives you an extra spring to your step and leads you with an edge for speed. It also has guiderails in them so if your foot starts leaning too much to one side, it stabilizes your foot to where it needs to be. A downfall to the shoe is there is no traction on the bottom. If you’re running on any form of ice, you will slip. But, if you are looking for a fast shoe, with good stability, this shoe is great!!
I currently have 2 pairs of shoes so I have a substitute for trail and ice runs. My Bedlams will not survive a MN winter, so finding a good trail/traction shoe is key to staying outside. My winter shoe is the Saucony Peregrine Ice. The shoe has grips on the bottom that repel the ice. They have saved my winter running. In addition, they are good for puddle weather because they have wetproof technology to absorbed the water better.
My best advice for finding a shoe:
1. Plan to spend time: Learn your foot and the options out there. You know your needs and what works best for you. Research the shoe brands before you go to a store so you are prepared to talk shoe. There are a lot of differences between the materials each company uses and that makes an impact on how your body will react. Certain companies tend to sway more to being more for wide shoe or narrower. The first 3 questions you will get asked are what size are you, do you have a wide or narrow foot, and what shoe brand do you like? If you don’t know straight up the answer that is ok because that is what the associates are there for. I recommend always getting your foot measured the first time to make sure you are wearing the right size. You may be surprised.
2. Be open minded! You may go in with a certain shoe deadlocked in your brain but there may be a better option that may be more suitable to you. That’s how I found Brooks. In the same aspect, you don’t want to be too open minded or you will be in the store all day trying on shoes. As fun as that may seem, you will just leave confused. Listen to suggestions from the associates, but remember you know your body better than anyone. Don’t be sold just because they make it sound really cool. Make sure what making it sounds cool is what you need.
3. Don’t focus on the price: Just because it is a $170.00 shoe, it doesn’t mean that it’s got what you need. I use to think, oh it costs a lot well they must know what they are doing. Truth is most shoes are that much and there are a lot of differences between each. On the other side, don’t rule out the lower priced shoes. It all depends on your needs at the time.
4. When to buy: Shoes typically last between 300-500 miles depending on the shoe and the amount of impact you place on them. Adding insoles, and taking good care of the shoes can extend the life. My recent pair I got close to 700 miles off of them before my feet told me I was done. The lady at the store was in disbelief but when you take care of things, it can pay off. When you do find a shoe you like, finding out when they clearance is a good find. Most shoes clearance at the end of the year to make ready for the new model. If you liked last years model, there is no need to spend full price on the next years when the previous worked just find. Start looking late December because if you wait til January, it may be too late especially if you have a popular size. Best places to look are the shoes company website and then outlet locations. Also, when you sign up for races, there be links on there as well. Active Gear up is a good site!
Hope this helps!