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Running shoes buying guide


When it comes to buying new running shoes, it doesn’t really matter how cool they look or how sweet a bargain they were. If the shoes don’t fit properly, you won’t be running much of anywhere — except maybe back to the store.

Picking the right shoes for road- or trail-running is tough stuff. So for some handy tips and tricks we tapped former Boy Scout and ex-running store employee Alan Webb, who also just so happens to be one of the fastest distance runners on Earth.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned runner, read on and we guarantee you’ll learn something from Webb that will make your next trip to the shoe store better than ever.


“The best thing to do is try to find a good running specialty store,” Webb says. “Sure, you’ll pay $10 or $15 more than at some big-box shoe store, but you’re getting service and you’re getting the right shoe.” Salespeople at specialty stores will take the time to help you find a shoe that properly fits your type of foot.


Everybody runs differently, but we all do something called pronating when we run.

Basically, every time your shoe hits the ground your foot rolls from the outer edge to the inner edge. Guys whose feet roll excessively inward are called over-pronators. Those whose feet don’t roll in much at all are called under-pronators.

Most running shoes are designed for one type of foot or the other (and most say so in the printed product details on the tag or box).

A salesperson at a running store can tell you right away what kind of a foot you have. Or try this: Put your old pair of shoes side-by-side on a table, toes pointing away from you, and look at how the cushion has worn down. If the shoes tilt outward you are an under-pronator; if they tilt inward, then you are an over-pronator. If they do neither, you have a neutral gait.

“Figure out what kind of runner you are, then find a shoe that matches your foot,” Webb says. Over-pronators need a shoe with added stability and motion control. Neutral runners and under-pronators are usually best off with a shoe with cushioning that minimizes impact without directing the foot in a specific direction.


Once you know your foot type, think about where you’ll be running most often. Regular running shoes are best for streets or well-maintained jogging paths, but if you plan on heading off-road on rough or undeveloped trails, go for a trail-runner. Trail-runners are usually heavier but have sturdy knobby soles and additional foot support.


Is it hot where you run? If so, look for a lightweight shoe with lots of mesh. Cold and rainy? Then pick a pair made with fabrics such as Gore-Tex that will protect you from cold while keeping your feet dry.


Some guys, like Webb, prefer their shoes to be tight.

“I wear my shoes at least a half size smaller than most people do,” he says. “I jam my foot inside my shoe, so I’ve grown to like that tight feel.”

But for most, a thumbnail’s width of space past your longest toe and the end of the shoe is fine. Also, make sure you have enough room to wiggle your toes freely. Be careful about buying shoes bigger so you’ll have room to grow into into them, because a loose shoe can cause blisters and foot problems if you’re running often.


Always try on the the shoes before you buy. The best time of day to shop for shoes is the evening, Webb says, because your feet swell throughout the day and are largest late in the day. Try on shoes while wearing the same kind of socks you’ll be wearing when running. Finally, don’t be shy: Run around inside the shop. Do your best to simulate the bouncing and bounding you’ll do while actually running.

43 Comments on Running shoes buying guide

  1. I’ve tried all but by far I like Asics and Brooks were the best. For long runs like 10 miles brooks but for short and fast, Asics!

  2. I have Nike fs lite run 2 and love them.


  4. really guys? I have tried nikes adidas sauconies, and new balances, and by far you will get the best bang for your buck with adidas. The Duramo adidas series is cheap and comfy… I use it all the time for high school gym class when we run track and never feel any pain

  5. vibram 5 fingers are the best

  6. my kanadia trail runners had very good cushioning.

  7. Brooks, Asics, and Saucony are your best bet. I like Asics the best because of the great cushion that the shoes have.

  8. Mountain Man // February 8, 2014 at 3:10 pm // Reply

    My favorite running shoes for winter time are snow shoes made by Mountain Man. They don’t slip or cost too much and run on top the snow like nothing else. Best thing is when they start to wear out I make a new pair. Try that Vibrams!

  9. I have a pair of bright orange filas and niek flex experience run 2. They are insanely light, comfortable and over all great running sneakers. I am though interested in VIbram 5 fingers. Around how much money are they?

  10. shotgun scout // November 22, 2013 at 6:39 pm // Reply

    I prefer filas

  11. I go to fleet feet sports and get Brooks. they are the best!

  12. crazy flight // April 6, 2013 at 2:44 pm // Reply

    i like avia training shoes we got them at famous footwear(r)

  13. These thing make my feet feel…. Confirtublelllllllllllll

  14. floridascout // October 23, 2012 at 10:33 pm // Reply

    I love my Vibrams, I’ve had them for 10 months and I’ve worn them canoeing, hiking, running, weightlifting, worn them at Sea Base, and everything in between.
    I have Bikila’s they are they best thing I have ever worn, but I’ll need to get a new pair soon (I’ve worn them a lot) they are starting to wear out a little. I recommend them to everyone and you can use your scout account money for them!

  15. Nike Free’s ar ethe best I have two pair!

  16. Were did you find those vibrams i really want a pair so my mom told me to learn about them

  17. cam Benes // May 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm // Reply

    I bought my 3 pair of vibrams in only 1 month and continue to buy them for a long long time.
    I would recomend the “KSO”, “Bikila”, “Bikila LS”, “Komodo Sport”, and the “Komodo Sport LS”.

  18. Mr. cool // May 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm // Reply

    I love vibram five fingers my dad has black kso`s and I might get those they are so awesome!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Off-Trail Monkey // April 18, 2012 at 8:36 am // Reply

    I like Addidas.

  20. I found the perfect type of shoe called “Vibram Five Finger” and I love them soooo much!!
    There perfect for any sport and I found out you can put on tow socks and use them in it.

  21. there horrible in all ways

  22. I love running and have been looking into a pair of Vibram Five-Fingers. They are actually only training shoes, though. Most of the time, people will train in their Vibrams and race in Brooks Adrenaline or Nike Free.

  23. SeniorPatrolLeader // December 19, 2011 at 10:37 pm // Reply

    I love mine I have three pairs of Vibram FiveFingers. KSO, KomodoSport, and the FLOW. I took the KomodoSport and FLOW to Philmont and Sea Base… and i love them SO much! I am going to be getting 2 more pairs before the end of the year!! 😀

    • SeniorpatrolLeader,
      Are the Vibram Fivefingers shoes comfortable and easy to slip on & off?I’m asking because I want to get some myself. One other thing, are they water-proof or is there a water-proof version?

  24. mathteamer101 // December 7, 2011 at 7:59 pm // Reply

    I did my science fair prodject on the vibrams to find out if they make you run faster. they do! i got an A on the prodject and a cupon for half off a pair online! i got komodosport 🙂

  25. PartrolLeader4317 // November 29, 2011 at 5:24 pm // Reply

    All cost to much

    • The cheapest place to get running shoes is Deseret Industries, I found an awesome pair of basket-ball shoes there for the low, low, price of 6$.

  26. good price for them it is a awsome value


  28. i have the nike lunar glide + these are great because you can track you runs and get you current speed and other cool things with the Nike + chip. Also very comfy and light.

  29. i got some good nikes and they work great

  30. i have zig techs and i strongly recomed they they are GREAT for running!!!!


  32. I have a pair of adidas trail-running shoes. they’re great! they’re only $50!!!!!

  33. I have a pair of Brookes Adrenaline and they are great for running and have great support.

  34. I have a pair of bright green Asic’s GEL-Speedstar 5’s and they are AWESOME!, they look really cool and they fit well!

  35. EscapeArtist // July 17, 2011 at 2:35 pm // Reply

    I got a pair of Reebok Realflexes. They’re awesome!

  36. i have vibram and i really!!!!!!!!!!recomend this shoe for any one who loves nature and a serious trail blazer

  37. Bepepared#1 // July 9, 2011 at 9:05 pm // Reply

    i have a pair of vibram five finger kso and i love them. i wear them everywhere even hiking and backpacking. they are well worth the money.

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