How to Choose the Best Running Shoes (For You!)
Gear Review, Running, Running Reads, Training

How to Choose the Best Running Shoes (For You!)

As someone who works in a running shoe store, I can tell you I’ve personally fit about 1000 people for running shoes, and I’ve watched hundreds more be fit too.

Searching for your own personal shoes can be tough.  What do you look for?  How do you know when they are “right”?

When searching for running shoes, I always advise people to get fitted at their local running store.  Thinking out loud, people that work in a running store have seen dozens of brands, styles, and companies. Plus they know shoes well.  That being said, you know your feet.  You know what feels most comfortable.

Most people come in and have no idea what to look for in a running shoe. 

The short answer: Does it feel good? 

Yes, then it’s the right shoe for you.

No?  Then it’s not the right shoe for you.

The Long Answer:

Here are some important details you should look for in shoes.

Size (Length): 

I cannot emphasize this enough.  Do not buy your shoes too small.  During the day, your feet can swell and lengthen anywhere from a half-full size.  This is magnified during running!  Always make sure there is a thumb’s width of space between your biggest toe and the end of the shoe.

Yes, your feet lengthen over time and age so make sure you get your measured frequently.  After putting your shoes on, make sure you can wiggle all of your toes.  If you can’t the shoe is too tight or too narrow.  This brings us to point number 2.

Size (Width): 

The width of a shoe is one of the most underlooked aspects of a shoe.  Most running specialty stores carry at least wide if not double wide!  Do not be scared to go into a wider shoe.  If you are getting holes on the side of your shoe from your pinkie toe, this could be a sign the shoe is too narrow.  Having extra room is always better than not enough.  I never knew I needed a wide until working at the store.  Now, I love it.


In any running shoe, your heel should feel both snug and secure.  It should never feel tight.  If you feel as though you are “slipping,” lace your shoe to the final eyelet. This will you’re your heel more into place.  Some shoes are cut lower than others but make sure you’re comfortable in the cut of the back too.

The heel should never feel tight, but there can be a little bit of movement.  If the heel feels uncomfortable in the store, then it won’t feel good while running.


You can be fit into the appropriate shoe but it doesn’t feel good, it doesn’t.  How a shoe feels to you is one of the most important aspects of the shoe.  You want a shoe that feels natural.  You don’t want a shoe that “you’ll have to get used too”.  Don’t get a shoe to alter to your stride because that can create many more issues.  Running Stores recommend taking the shoe for a quick run in the store.  That initial few steps often can tell you an immediate yes or no.  Also, most running stores have an exchange policy to work with you.

With so many different shoes out there, it can be hard to figure out which one is “best for you”.  Remember, there is no right or wrong answer but only what feels good and keeps you injury free.

Other Running Store Topics:
Thoughts While Working at a Running Store
How to Get the Most Shopping at a Running Specialty Store
Should You Wear Running Shoes Outside of Running?
How to Find the Perfect Pair of Running Shoes
There is no Perfect Running Shoe

Questions for you:
What is your current favorite running shoe?
When was the last time you bought running shoes?

6 thoughts on “How to Choose the Best Running Shoes (For You!)”

  1. Thanks for this post – it’s so helpful and I’m definitely going to think about this when I get new running shoes (post-injury)!

    I’ve been running in Nike Vomero 8’s for like 5 years… might be time to switch things up.

  2. I agree with your post! The shoe should feel good- no long break in periods.

    Also, we have Wednesday night group runs here where shoe reps will come with test shoes, and that’s a great way to try out a pair of shoes. The runs are three miles, which is short but it’s long enough to decide if a pair of shoes just isn’t for you. I was eyeing a pair of shoes and planning to buy, then tested them out and decided they were not the shoes for me. I’ve also tried a few pairs at these runs and been surprised because I’ve found a shoe I liked. It’s a different company each month here, and they give away coupons, keychains, and other freebies… always really fun.

  3. Great post. For me, it’s all in the arches. A shoe doesn’t work for me unless it has the proper support because my foot flattens when I run.

  4. Excellent post! Much needed for many. Sharing! Anyway, I run in Altras. Only Altras. I once was a die hard mizuno fan but always had a few little ‘niggles’ (knee tweaks etc) here and there. Once I discovered Altra my runs just felt natural, fluid and comfortable. Been running in them (The One2.5 is my fav) for a little over a year now.

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