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

How to Choose the Best Running Shoes

As someone who works in a running shoe store, I’ve personally fit about 1000 people for running shoes. It is hard to choose the best running shoes (for you!). That’s what run specialty stores and experts are for.

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. Learn why you need to be fitted here. People working 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.

How to Choose the Best Running Shoes

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 Choosing the Right Running Shoe Long Answer:

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

Size (Length): 

I cannot emphasize this enough.  Do not buy your shoes too small.  Your feet swell and lengthen anywhere from a half-full size during the day.  This is magnified during running!  Make sure there is a thumb’s width of space between your biggest toe and the end of the shoe. When you choose the best running shoes, you must choose them bigger than your casual shoes.

Also, 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 in brands that offer it!  Do not be scared to go into a wider shoe.  No one cares if you choose the best running shoes in wide. 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.  The heel is an important part of choosing the best running shoes for you. 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.


The feel and ride of the shoe are ultimately one of the most important components in choosing the best running shoes.

You can be fit into the appropriate shoe, but it doesn’t feel good, it doesn’t, and it will only feel worse while running.

You want a shoe that feels natural to your foot.  You don’t want a shoe that “you’ll have to get used to.”  Don’t get a shoe to alter your stride because that can create many more issues. Stores recommend taking the shoe for a quick run in the store.  Those initial few steps often can tell you an immediate yes or no.  Also, most running stores have an exchange policy to work with you.

Choosing the Best Running Shoes Conclusion:

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 to choosing the best running shoes, but only what feels good and keeps you healthy.

Love running? You can subscribe to my weekly newsletter or read more about running shoes in my ebook.

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


  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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