The Complete Guide to Choosing the Best Running Sneakers


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According to a report published in 2020, about 15% of the American population, or 50 million Americans, engage in some form of running or jogging.

This makes perfect sense, given how running is immensely beneficial for our physical and mental health. Not only does it boost cardiovascular health, but it also boosts confidence.

However, before anyone can hit the ground running — literally — they need to find a good pair of running sneakers. This allows for more comfortable running and also prevents injury and pain during running. The problem is, with so many options, picking the best running sneakers can be a huge challenge, but we’re here to help.

Today’s post is the ultimate guide on how to choose the best running sneakers for your running. So whether you’re doing competitive running or just need a shoe for your morning jog, you can find the perfect pair.

Why Running Shoes?

Of course, there’s always the question of why you should run with running sneakers. After all, you can run with any type of shoe, or even run barefoot. So what’s all the fuss about running sneakers?

Well, there are a few reasons.

Cushioning: Running sneakers have a lot more cushioning than other shoes. This helps to absorb the impact of each step and makes for a more comfortable run.

Lightweight: Running shoe designers design them to be lightweight and provide good support for your feet and ankles. This is also important because you don’t want your shoes to weigh you down when you’re running.

Stability: Some running shoes have extra stability features to help with overpronation, which is when your foot rolls inward too much when you run. This can cause pain and injuries, so it’s important to find a shoe that helps correct this problem.

Performance: For competitive runners, there are shoes designed for speed and performance. If you’re just starting out, you don’t need to worry about this too much, but as you get more into running, it’s something to consider.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Pair of New Running Sneakers

Buying running sneakers is a bit more complex than buying regular fashion sneakers. To get the right one for your needs, you’ll need to consider a couple of factors. Some of these factors include:

Your Running Location

If you live in a rural area with mostly dirt roads, you won’t need the same type of sneakers as someone who lives in an urban area and runs on concrete sidewalks.

You also need to consider the weather conditions in your location. If you live in a place with mostly hot weather, you’ll want a shoe that’s well-ventilated to keep your feet cool.

On the other hand, if you live in a cold climate, you might want a shoe with more insulation to keep your feet warm.

Here’s a brief rundown of how location impacts your choice of running sneakers:

Road running: For running on paved roads, you want a shoe with moderate to maximum cushioning to prevent any injuries. Remember, paved roads are hard surfaces, so you can’t compromise on the padding. The same goes if you run on a treadmill.

Trail running: If you love to hit the trails, you need shoes that have grippy soles and lugs for improved traction. That’s because trails can be extra slippery, especially during the rainy season. You should also consider getting weatherproof sneakers to shield the shoes from the mud.

Road Racing: For individuals running on a competitive front, you’ll need specialty running sneakers. We’re talking sneakers with track spikes that are light in weight.

Cross Training: Since cross-training doesn’t involve too much running, you don’t necessarily need running sneakers. Any pair of thin-soled sports shoes will do just fine.

The Fit

Fit is arguably the most important factor to consider when choosing a pair of running sneakers.  A good fit will not only be comfortable but also provide the support your feet need when running.

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to finding the right fit.

First, you’ll want to make sure there’s about a thumb’s width of space between the end of your longest toe and the front of the shoe. Second, you’ll want to make sure the shoes are snug around your midfoot and heel.

Third, you should be able to wiggle your toes inside the shoe. And fourth, you’ll want to make sure you can lace up the shoes so they’re snug but not too tight.

If you’re unsure about what size to get, it’s always best to go to a running store and get fitted by a professional.

Once you have the right size, you’ll also want to make sure the shoes are comfortable. The best way to do this is to take them for a test run. If you’re buying online, most stores will allow you to return the shoes if they’re not comfortable. However, brick-and-mortar stores rarely allow returns, especially if you overstay with the sneakers.

The Cushioning

Cushioning is important for two reasons. First, it helps to absorb the impact of each step, making running more comfortable. Second, it provides support for your feet and ankles.

There are two types of cushioning: soft and firm. Soft cushioning is best for long-distance running because it’s more comfortable. Firm cushioning is best for short-distance running because it provides more support.

If you’re not sure which type of cushioning you need, it’s best to go to a running store and ask for help. The staff there will be able to recommend the best type of cushioning based on your needs.

You can further divide cushioning in running sneakers into four other types, namely:

Maximum cushioning: As the name suggests, these are running shoes with heavy padding. It’s best for long-distance runners or runners with high arches because it provides more comfort.

Moderate cushioning: This contains a bit less padding than shoes with maximum cushioning. It’s best for all types of runners and provides a good balance between comfort and support.

Lightweight cushioning: It is best for short-distance runners because it provides more support. However, the padding is super minimal, so runners have to compromise on comfort for the short run.

Minimalist or barefoot: It’s best for runners who have a good sense of balance and are looking to increase their speed.

The best way to figure out which type of cushioning you need is to experiment with different types. You may also want to talk to a professional at a running store for more guidance.

Support

The level of support you need in a running sneaker depends on the type of running you’ll be doing and your foot type.

For example, if you have high arches, you’ll need more support than someone with low arches. The same goes for runners who overpronate (when their foot rolls inward too much) or supinate (when their foot doesn’t roll inward enough).

If you’re a long-distance runner, you’ll also need more support than someone who only runs short distances. This is because long-distance running puts more strain on your feet and ankles.

There are three types of support: high, moderate, and low. High support is best for long-distance runners with high arches. Moderate support is best for all types of runners. Low support is best for short-distance runners with low arches.

Once again, the best way to figure out which type of support you need is to experiment with different types. You may also want to talk to a professional at a running store for more guidance.

Midsole Shape

The shape of the midsole is important for two reasons. First, it affects the level of support you get from the sneaker. Second, it affects the level of comfort you feel while running.

The midsole shape helps the shoe bend like your foot when you run. As such, you want a sneaker with a midsole shape that flexes the way your foot moves when you run.

There are three types of midsole shapes: flat, semi-curved, and curved. Flat midsoles provide the most support and are best for long-distance runners with high arches. Semi-curved midsoles provide moderate support and are best for all types of runners.

Curved midsoles provide the least support and are best for short-distance runners with low arches. The best way to figure out which type of midsole shape you need is to experiment with different types. You may also want to talk to a professional at a running store for more guidance.

Heel-Toe Drop

The heel-to-toe drop is the difference in height between the heel and the toe. This distance determines how force is distributed on your foot and leg. This alters your stride and also determines the likelihood of injuries.

For casual runners, the heel-toe drop shouldn’t be of much concern. However, if you’re a habitual runner or hobbyist, then it’s something you want to consider. The only way to tell whether the heel-toe drop is right is by testing out the shoe itself, right from touch-down to toe-off.

You might also stumble upon zero-drop shoes, which are shoes where both the toe and heel are equidistant from the ground. As such, they keep the feet in a natural position, allowing for easier rolling. This is especially advantageous for people with neutral arches.

Running Sneaker Buying Mistakes to Avoid

Now that you know how to pick the best running sneaker, let’s highlight a couple of shoe-buying mistakes. Whenever you’re in the market for running sneakers, avoid doing the following.

Buying Shoes That Are Too Small

Although it sounds like a no-brainer, most people make this mistake because they want a shoe that fits “snugly.” The truth is, your running shoes should be a half size larger than your everyday shoes.

This is because when you run, your feet swell from the impact. If your shoes are too small, they’ll start to feel uncomfortable after a few miles. This can lead to blisters, calluses, and other problems.

Assuming Your Shoe Size Is the Same as Your Last Pair

Even if you’re buying the same brand and model of sneakers, your shoe size may have changed since you last bought a pair. This is because our feet change shape over time, especially as we age.

It’s best to get re-measured every time you buy new sneakers. This will ensure that you’re getting the best fit possible.

Failing to Ask for Deals

When you’re buying running shoes, always ask for a discount. Most stores are willing to give you one, especially if you’re a loyal customer. If not, there are always coupons and sales happening that you can take advantage of.

Don’t be afraid to haggle or ask for a better price. For the best deals on running sneakers, visit kickscrew.com. You won’t be disappointed.

Shopping at the Wrong Time of Day

The best time to buy running shoes is at the end of the day. This is because your feet swell throughout the day, so you’ll want a pair of shoes that can accommodate that.

If you buy shoes in the morning, they may feel too tight by the evening. So, if you can, wait until later in the day to make your purchase.

Buying From the Wrong Vendor

There are tons of shoe stores across the country, both physical and online, but not all of them are the same.

Department stores typically have the best selection, but they may not have the best prices. Specialty running stores usually have knowledgeable staff and good deals, but their selection may be limited.

Online retailers like Amazon often have good prices and a wide selection, but you won’t be able to try the shoes on before buying. The key is to find a vendor that works for your specific needs and avoid any sketchy shoe stores, especially those found online.

Choosing the Best Running Sneakers Simplified

Buying running shoes don’t have to be rocket science. With the information above, buying the best running sneakers should be a breeze. Just don’t forget to find a reputable vendor with the best deals, and most importantly, have fun with your shopping.

There’s plenty more from where that came from. For more informative content, don’t forget to check out the other posts on the site.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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