There is no Perfect Running Shoe

Lately, I’ve been doing a short blogging challenging and writing about different topics.  Most questions are related to running and training, but after all, this is a running blog.  I’m enjoying writing about different subjects, and it’s kept my thinking hat on.
Other Topics I’ve Written About: 
One Mistake I’m Glad I Made
Why Training for Shorter Distances will make you a Better Distance Runner

Blog Topic 3: There is No Perfect Running Shoe

There is no perfect running shoe

Working at a running store has it’s perks.  I get to learn more about shoes than I ever thought possible.  Before working at the store, I knew a little bit about the shoes I ran in.  I knew I liked them, and I knew they worked for me.  I knew nothing about other brands or models.  Considering I did the majority of my running in Newtons, I had a lot to learn about other brands.

There is no “perfect shoe” because the greatest shoe for one person is not the greatest for another.  

Some people thrive on minimal shoes; some people thrive on maximum cushioned shoes.  Some need a lot of stability, and some need none…Stability is just one factor. However, someone’s foot shape has a lot to do with shoe selection too.

Each brand style is cut a little different, and while most brands have both a narrow and wide option (some even double wide), it’s important to realize you might wear a different size.  I wear anywhere between a 9.5 wide to a size 11 depending on the cut of the actual shoe.

The question of “What is the best shoe?”, Depends on a person’s foot shape, their activities, and their goals.  Just thinking out loud, every running shoe is the best for someone.  Similarly, every running shoe is the worst for someone. 

There's a shoe for that...

Second, no one tells you the prices of a good pair of running shoes!  A good pair of running shoes will cost you between $100-$120.  The cost isn’t because you are being ripped off, but companies develop technology that cost that much to create, plus labor costs, etc.

There are plenty of ways to find sales on shoes such as older models or discontinued styles.  You might have to sacrifice the shape of the shoe matching your foot.

For instance, on paper, I love a neutral high cushioned shoe.  The Adidas Boost or Brooks Glycerin appear to match that criteria. However, neither match the shape of my foot.  I find the shoes extremely uncomfortable.

Find out the month your favorite shoe is updated and buy a few on clearance as they are making the change.  To me, my feet are important and finding shoes that work well is important so I will budget appropriately.

Running shoes are expensive, but it’s the most expensive part of the sport.  Once you find your shoe, you can find out when sales and deals are.  I always recommend signing up for your local running stores emails because they often have the best deals of any place! 

Tweet: The Perfect Running Shoe @fueledbylolz

Questions for you:
What is your perfect running shoe? 
How often do you replace shoes?



28 responses

  1. So true and good advice on buying shoes. I have purchased last year’s model on line for half price. Once you know which brand, model and size you wear you can shop around for some really great deals.
    I always advise first time runners to ALWAYS buy their first pair of shoes at a real running shoe store. Most sporting good stores do not have staff trained to help you buy the right pair of shoes.

  2. I used to only run in the Glycerin 12s, but they changed to the 13s and I hate them. They just don’t treat my feet nearly as well. I ended up switching to the newest ASICS which I usually hate because they’re so heavy, but these seem light so we’ll see.

  3. I’m currently in the market for a new pair of running shoes, so I can definitely appreciate a post like this! It’s funny because it wasn’t until I started reading running blogs that I realized that a shoe wasn’t really a shoe, and that you couldn’t just run in any old thing you picked out of the back of your closet. I’ve been running in the Glycerins for a while now, but I don’t love them so I think I’ll look into a different style this time around.

  4. Oh man, I do not replace my running shoes often enough. I’m not very injury-prone, so as long as I’m only running 15-20 miles a week, I can get away with it. I got my old running shoes in the spring of 2013 and wore them throughout my half-Ironman training. I finally got a new pair last month for my marathon training because I started to get spooked about getting injured.

  5. I agree and it makes a lot of sense. I haven’t found the “perfect” shoe for me but currently I am liking the Brooks Ghost 8s. I find that they offer good support and cushioning without being too heavy. I like to rotate between 2-3 pairs of shoes too. I like the Kinvaras and GEL-cumulus and run in them as well. I guess I like some variety 🙂

  6. You know I pretty much only wear mizunos. I’ll put on Brooks Glycerins or a pair of sauconys whenever I’m working at Charm City and they just don’t feel right on my foot. My legs hurt after just a couple of hours. It’s pretty incredible how even if it’s the “right” shoe for us, it doesn’t mean it will be the best fit. But I guess the same can be said for diets, sleep, exercise, etc. People ask me all the time what shoe they should buy (one of Tim’s friends was asking me on twitter yesterday) and it’s physically impossible to tell someone without 1) seeing their feet and 2) having them try on a bunch of pairs and deciding what is most comfortable for them.

  7. I agree with this! I sometimes get fixated on a certain shoe that I have had good luck with, but then I remind myself that it’s just a shoe – it matters, but it’s not what makes me the runner I am. I’ve been running in the Brooks PureFlows and Pure Connects, and I really like the look of the new Launches. So many shoe brands have nice shoes that it’s just about finding what feels good on your feet!

  8. It’s funny that I stumbled across this post today! I am actually looking for a new pair of running shoes! My Nike Frees have had it and I desperately need a new pair. I have no idea where to begin to look. I know I want to try a different shoe this time, but there are too many choices and everyone has a different opinion. I guess I’ll just have to try them on and see what works. 🙂

    • That’s awesome and I would agree that trying shoes on and getting the opinion of someone who works in a running specialty store could be really beneficial!

  9. I agree with this so much! I’ve also learned that once I find a shoe I like, it’s hard for me to branch out. I almost feel like I’m being disloyal to that shoe.. as if shoes had feelings haha. I wear the Brooks Pure Flow 4s now and love them so much. I also have the Saucony Kinvaras which I like, but only for shorter distances. I usually go 6-8 months before buying a new pair.

  10. Indeed, I’ve had my share of both bad and great shoes. I would love to try a pair of Asics but I never seem to branch out of the Nike realm. I absolutely love Flyknite Frees and would consider one of those as my “perfect” running shoe.

  11. This is such a touchy subject. I ran 8 marathons in my beloved Mizunos. Until they changed them. Now I’m in Asics. I love Newtons for shorter races and speedwork. I had that exact pair you wear in the pic, until somebody barfed on them at the finish line of the Flying Pig. Ugh.

  12. So true! I hate it when people ask me what kind of shoe they should get. I have no way of knowing what will work for them! Brooks are the shoe that always feels best for me. I’ve tried other brands and I can tell right away that it doesn’t fit as well or feel as good!

  13. My perfect running shoes are the Mizuno Wave Inspires and the Brooks PureFlow. The Pureflow have more cushion/responsiveness but both are pretty low profile, which is what I’ve found feels best for me.

    I rotate shoes (3 pairs in rotation now) and it depends on the shoe. I try to pay attention once they pass 250 miles and see how my feet are feeling in them. By 400, it’s DEFINITELY time 🙂 great post!

  14. There are perfect running shoes out there and they are discontinuing them! My perfect shoe was the Brooks Pure Connect. But you are right – there are so many out there that there isn’t just one perfect one. I’ll find my perfect shoe again…until then, I will buy every last pair of the Pure Connects in a size 7.5 that is left on the planet 🙂

  15. I had a terrible high school cross country running experience (a million and a half years ago) because, while I was investing a ton of money into shoes, no one was taking into account the terrain we were running on and I was constantly injured. After many, many (can you tell I’m feeling old today?) years I still don’t always get it right, but I currently have a shoe I love. I have terrible plantar fasciitis a, screws in my ankle from a rock climbing accident, and run mostly on side walk, and the On cloudsters seem to support my body without aggravating my arches. This is a great post! I cringe every time I run with someone who doesn’t use running shoes…

  16. All so true! I was a die hard Mizuno fan until I recently fell in love with Altra because of the wide tie box and zero drop. Feels natural to my foot. But then again I have pretty ‘normal’ feet with little pronation issues. So this shoe could cause pain for others. Like you say everyone’s feet are different!

  17. I am always asked what shoe someone should by and I can’t answer it because everyone’s foot is so different! I love the Energy Boosts and you find them uncomfortable so there’s the classic example right there.

  18. Amen! I have been a Zoot TT and Mizuno Wave Rider fan for a long time. Both series have changed enough recently for wonky things to happen to my hips and ITB. Because of this, I made my first switch in five years to Brooks, and the PureFlows have been pretty nifty!

  19. saucony kinvaras fit my foot like a glove (but their other ones aren’t always perfect) I do like brooks a lot, and after seeing the new pure line i might migrate back to them if i can try them first. I’ve definitely bought too many shoes on a whim online and sacrificed feeling out the shoe first. terrible idea.

  20. Yet again, you’ve nailed it with this post. It’s also interesting to see how running shoe preferences change over time. We see a lot of runners who start with a stability shoe and eventually move to a neutral one. And personally, I started running in gel, but prefer foam today.

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