Whether you’re training for a marathon or just looking for the right shoes for the treadmill, your running shoes are the most crucial gear you will buy. Learning how to pick the right shoes is a skill and not as easy as it sounds. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by shoe debates and fads, but always remember that the best shoe for you is one that feels best to run in.
Ready? Check out these tips on buying running shoes online and get the best buck for your money.
Know the Size of Your Feet
Did you know that many people are wrong about their shoe size? Well, that’s true. It’s probably why many runners never get a satisfying running shoe. Besides, your size might change.
For instance, women’s feet may change after pregnancy. If you want to buy the best fitting shoe, be sure to measure your feet size. Keep in mind that your feet swell when running, so you need a thumbnail of space at the forefoot.
Don’t Assume the Sizes
Unfortunately, shoe sizes aren’t standardized. When looking for a running shoe, you shouldn’t assume that number 8 is the same for every brand. Every shoe is made differently, meaning the sizing will be different. An 8 in Brooks may not be the same for an 8 in Adidas. It’s why you need to try the shoes on and not just assume the size.
Keep in mind that running shoes should be between half and a whole size bigger than your everyday shoes. The thumbs rule is to have 1cm of space at the front of your longest toe. Given that your feet slide forward and your toes curl, they shouldn’t fit too snugly to avoid issues like busted toenails and irritation of tendons.
Also, lacing is different among brands. Other shoes are designed with different laces, which can bring issues such as tightness at the top, heel slipping, toe bruising, and pain on top of the foot. As such, researching the best lacing techniques for your feet can you find the perfect fit.
The Speed and Location Matter
When buying your shoes online, pick the shoe based on the speed you want to avoid the risk of injuries. For slow speed, for instance, you need a highly cushioned insole and soft shoe. Such a shoe can also be used for recovery runs.
Consequently, light and responsive shoes are ideal for high speeds. For more speed, spikes or racing flats work great. Spikes are featherweight and incredibly responsive. High responsiveness is necessary when competing in a race.
Location is also a vital factor to consider when picking a running shoe. You’ll likely be running on different routes and locations, but it’s essential to know the place you’ll be using most of the time. For instance, you need trail running shoes if most of your running is on trails because they offer better traction and protect the feet.
On the other hand, road running shoes should be made of light materials to boost speed and responsiveness. On a treadmill, however, both shoes work, but road running shoes work feel more comfortable.
Stick to a Budget
Moreover, have a figure or range you’re willing to pay for your shoe and stick to it. Keep in mind that a higher price doesn’t always mean a better shoe. At the same time, you don’t want to settle for less. If your budget won’t allow you to get the best fit, it’s perhaps wise to reassess and make another decision.
A majority of online stores usually divide the shoes into categories. This makes it easier for shoppers to find the section where they can find exactly the type of shoe they are looking for. Still, you can look outside of the category of the shoes you were originally looking for because there might be a better choice.
However, avoid getting carried away. For instance, if you are searching for an everyday trainer, it’s wise if you resist a sleek speed shoe. It’s easy to get distracted by things like colors, forgetting the comfort level.
Understand the Return Policy
This seems obvious but more important than it seems. Ensure you go for brands that have a legit return policy because you may have to try a range of shoes until you find the best fit.
Most brands provide a 28-day return policy, while some offer a 60-day policy, but take note of brands that don’t accept back worn shoes. You might have to order a couple of pairs and sizes depending on your location and keeping the best.
Look Up Reviews
When buying shoes online, it’s also important to check the shoe reviews of the model before you order. Running shoes keep changing with innovation as more companies are going with fit and foam technology. There might be a newer well-reviewed model than the shoe you loved three years ago.
Looking at reviews can help you know the changes on older models and help you decide if this might work better for your feet. Still, it’s all about you, and your friend’s favorite shoe may not always be your best-fitting shoe. While reviews can guide you, let your feet be the judge based on the shoes you try on.
For starters, pronation is the way your foot rolls through to the forefoot. It might seem like an insignificant detail but a crucial factor to consider when buying running shoes. You don’t want a shoe that underpronates or overpronates.
Overpronation happens when your foot rolls too much to the inside, while underpronation happens when your heels roll to the outside. If you aren’t sure about the correct pronation for your feet, it’s worth asking.
You may not be able to ask for help on pronation when buying shoes online, but there are ways to know whether you underpronate or overpronate. Just grab a pair of your used athletic shoe and observe how they tilt on the bottom of its sole.
If they tilt inward, you tend to overpronate, whereas if they tilt outward, you’re likely to underpronate. Looking at your foot can also give you an idea; people with flat feet tend to overpronate, while those with a higher arch are likely to underpronate.
Check Your Old Shoe When Buying New Ones
Let’s agree – it’s easy to get confused by the huge range of running shoes on offer these days. The problem with the approach, you might pick a different shoe that won’t work as great as your older shoes.
One tip to avoid getting caught in this dilemma is to check your old, worn-out shoes when buying your new kicks. This will guide you and allow the dealer to determine how your feet roll when you run.
Choose the Right Brand
There are endless shoe brands, meaning it can be tough to separate the wheat from the chaff and find the right brand. Here are a few big players.
Brooks – this American shoe brand was founded about a century ago and almost faltered in the 80s. They rebranded by the turn of the millennium and stressed on performance technology. Brooks continues to be one of the best-selling running shoe brands in the US.
Mizuno – Based in Japan, Mizuno has been providing sporting goods for over 100 years. They are also one of the most prominent brands today when it comes to running shoes.
Saucony – another global brand that’s renowned and whose shoes you can find almost anywhere. They started in 1898 in Pennsylvania and is definitely one of the pioneers when it comes to running shoes.
Asics – this is a Japanese brand that started by designing basketball shoes in 1950. It’s popular for silicone-based gel and generous foam for cushioning. It’s a great place for runners looking for a softer ride.
Hoka ONE ONE – a lesser-known brand, but one that’s taking the running shoe industry by storm. Hoka ONE ONE serves a more niche market with their running shoes designed with a super thick sole that offers a rocking motion for long-distance athletes. It’s believed that if you run in a Hoka shoe, your legs won’t ache at the end.
The best way to buy running shoes is at your local shop or store. However, while most stores may seem like they provide a variety, they may be paid commission to sell only certain brands, so you may get partial advice and end up with not the best. Also, you may not have the time to visit a store, and online is the easy way for you.
If you’re thinking of buying running shoes online, reviews can help you buy the right shoe. Keep in mind that one brand’s size may differ from another, so you need to be cautious. Remember to confirm the shoe size before ordering and if you are unsure, go with half a size bigger.
When you take a step back and give yourself a bit more time to consider your choices, there’s a high chance you’ll choose shoes you really like and want to use regularly. Be sure to check out our list on the most popular running shoes of today as well.
While you’re here, check out the most popular questions people ask on running shoes.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.