Which running shoes should I buy?

The right choice in running shoes can make a big difference in:

  • Preventing injury

  • Reducing muscle soreness

  • Enjoying your running

Here's my top tips to help you pick the right shoes. Be warned, there is no exact science to this, and you need to be tuned in to what your body tells you as you try new shoes.

1) Look at your old shoes

Take the time to assess what you do and don't like about them. Decide if you'd like to try something similar, or very different.

If your old shoes have been pretty good for you, then it's PROBABLY A GOOD IDEA to stay with something similar.

(There's the most important sentence of this post. Did you stop to think about it?? Perhap re-read it just to make sure.)


Pick them up - How heavy are they? How flexible are they? How 'chunky' are they?

Look at them - Where are the laces done up tighter? When has the sole worn on the bottom?

Put them on - How do they feel when you jump up and down? What do you love and hate about them?

Now, TAKE THEM WITH YOU when you go shoe shopping. This will help the sales person find the best shoe for you. Also take:

  • Your normal running socks

  • Any orthotics you normally run with. If you have orthotics, but never wear them running, consider getting an orthotic review with your podiatrist, BEFORE you go shoe shopping to make sure you're buying the right shoe.

2) Go to a running focussed shoe shop (later in the day!)


The shoes won't be any more expensive than a normal sports shop, and you will end up with a much better shoe match. If you want a recommendation, email me and I'll point you in the right direction. Your feet swell during the day, so try shoes on after lunchtime to make sure you're getting a good fit.


There's a lot of science behind running shoes, so make the most of their knowledge and experience.

3) Control or neutral shoe?

Neutral - If you're a runner with 'good arches' (i.e. your arch doesn't drop when you're running), or if you wear orthotics, neutral is the way to go.

Control - For runners that need a little more arch support, although there's a big range in how much 'control' a shoe has, and also where that 'control' is positioned. This is where your sales person will be extremely valuable in your shoe-finding journey.

4) Try on 5-10 pairs of shoes

All new shoes will feel foreign to start with, but trialling a lot of shoes will help you figure out what feels 'more normal' to you. If possible, take them for a quick jog up the street, to see how they feel.

5) Find 'THAT' feeling

'THAT' feeling is the feeling you get, when you feel the shoes were made for your feet, and they make you want to go out and start running in them.

  • The heel is snug, but not tight, and not slipping out of the back of the shoe

  • The forefoot feels spacious, but not 'floppy' or 'loose'

  • Your big toe has plenty of space from the end of the shoe

'THAT' feeling is something only you can feel, so take time to think about how each shoe feels for at least a few minutes.

6) DO NOT:

- Buy shoes online

- Buy shoes based on colour, brand or pattern

- Buy the cheaper pair, to save a few $$

All these generally result in a poor shoe to runner fit, and often lead to injury, blisters or unhappy runners. It's just not worth it, even if the shoes do look pretty.

As I mentioned earlier, if your old shoes have been pretty good for you, then it's PROBABLY A GOOD IDEA to stay with something similar.

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Did this article help you?

Then check out our FREE GUIDE:

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Your body gets used to a particular style of support or movement, so if you do decide to try a different type of shoe, make sure you read the next post I'm writing:

"How do I 'break in' my new running shoes??"

Aspire Physiotherapy SA

18 Partridge St Glenelg

8376 8816

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Aspire Physiotherapy SA

18 Partridge St Glenelg, Adelaide, SA 5045

8376 8816

Fax: +61 8 8219 0061

admin@aspirephysiotherapysa.com.au

Open 6 days - M-F 8:30am-6pm, Sat 8.30am-1pm

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