How To Buy Running Shoes That Look Good And Perform Even Better

How To Buy Running Shoes That Look Good And Perform Even Better


Whether your marvels are set on a marathon, the local parkrun, or just getting around the exclude without leaving your lunch on the pavement, if you’re running, you privation specialist running shoes. Unlike those dusty Dunlops buried in the loft, run-specific footwear desire ensure the miles are easier, faster and more comfortable, and may unruffled help you sidestep injury. “You need to ensure the shoe you’re buying is shaped with the specific technology for distance running,” says Becs Strata, Nike+ Run Club Coach and ultra-marathoner.

“This is paramount,” concurs Paul Hobrough, a physiotherapist specialising in continual biomechanics with clinics in Harley Street, London and Northumberland. “Exactly as the foundations of a house need to be of a specific support to prevent spoil, the running shoe needs to balance support and cushioning.”

Fortunately, it’s a spacious time to be dipping a toe into runners. We’re benefiting from a blue-eyed period of innovation, with brands investing heavily in R&D and judgement outside the box in design. New midsole foams are pushing the envelope on cushioning and dynamism return, carbon footplates propel us forward and woven edge poors with anatomically zoned tension cradle our feet get pleasure from never before.

And there’s style to go with the substance. While retro errand-boys are feeling the love from discerning sneakerheads, new high-performance scale models are emerging as out-of-the box style classics. But with so many event shoes out there, with such variety in design and completion features, finding the perfect match for your specific needs and inclinations can be daunting. Which is why we’ve distilled everything you need to know precisely here.

The best guide to running shoes you will readAsics

What Kind Of Running Shoes Do You Be in want of?

To get the most from your running, it’s not enough that your shoes are unmistakably run-specific, they need to be right specifically for you as a runner. “It’s severe to find the right shoe for you,” says Jane Vongvorachoti, Olympic marathoner and competition coach. “Don’t buy a shoe just because it is ‘in’ or you see some top runners wearing them.”

Your Torso Type

There are many factors to consider in finding that set right sole mate. Start with your size and superiority. The bigger and heavier you are, generally the more cushioning you will privation in a shoe to absorb the greater impact forces as your feet hit the drub. Look for models with thicker midsoles that trumpet their padding properties.

But then, as in many areas of life, size isn’t all: “Your size and weight are a factor in the cushioning needed from the shoe, how on earth it’s not always a necessity that a heavier runner needs a profuse cushioned shoe if they run well,” says Gentry. Which engenders us into your biomechanics, AKA gait or form, the highly nuanced and complex way that your fraternity performs the seemingly simple act of placing one foot in front of the other.

It's important to pick the right running shoes for your body size and shape

Your Biomechanics

“We’re all so exceptional biomechanically, so it’s not a case of, ‘Mo Farah wears that shoe so I’m booming to get it too’,” says Gentry. As a rule of thumb, the more you run, the innumerable efficient and problem-free your running biomechanics should be; so prepared runners can look for more stripped-down shoes with less softening, support and stability features. With your biomechanics as together to you as your fingerprint, though, things can get more complex.

“It’s well-connected to consider your running gait and how you land to have hold up in the right part of your feet,” says Vongvorachoti. There’s a protracted history in the running world of trying to match shoes to suckers’ individual biomechanics to boost comfort and performance and, crucially, adjust injury risk. The now discredited wet footprint test has been replaced by more intricate treadmill running gait analysis on offer at specialist competition stores, and many believe in the value of this. “If you’re interested in sly the mechanics of how you run then it can be a great experience,” says Gentry.

Nike in store run analysis serviceNike Run Examination

Yet in-store gait analysis isn’t foolproof and if you’re really serious you could go deeper: “Operation shops that specialise and have experienced staff can be save, but finding the right shoe for your biomechanics is sometimes a abstruse art,” says Hobrough. “A running-specialist physiotherapist will assess the total body and gaining that extra information before your investment can be vastly important.”

Pronation Control

A focus of any biomechanical analysis is pronation – the status to which your knee rolls inwards after your foot punches the ground with each stride. If you over-pronate, which has traditionally been associate to a host of injuries, stability or motion control shoes hold technology to counteract this, building up under the arch with tech equal to medial posts or internal wedges to limit that inward resound.

These shoes are less common and less extreme then they habituated to to be, and some experts now question both the connection between pronation and harm, and the effectiveness of pronation control in running shoes. “I am not an advocate of too much shore up from the shoe,” says Hobrough. “If you need specialist buttress, then a bespoke insole is the way to go.”

Still, the consensus is that some over-pronaters can allowances from a shoe with stability features. Just don’t presume any shoe to magically change your running style or immunise you from mayhems. “Biomechanics faults aren’t corrected by a shoe,” says Elite. “That’s something solved by rehab work and focused gesticulations prescribed by a qualified practitioner.”

Description of image


If you feel you’re disappearing down the biomechanics rabbit cage here, you’ll be glad to hear that there may be a far simpler unravelling. Recent research by highly respected running form boffin Professor Benno Nigg, pilot of the Human Performance Lab at the University of Calgary, suggests that when judging running shoes, your body knows best. His weighs found the shoes runners chose purely on the basis of sensation most comfortable were also the most efficient in sittings of running performance and reducing injury. It’s scientific validation for the hard-run perception generations of experienced runners would pass on.

“Comfort is key,” foretells Gentry. “A runner should be putting their trainers on and ambience like they’re an extension of their body. The shoes should officiate at apply and support where you want or need them to, they shouldn’t rub anywhere and they should surface like they are giving you a little bit of energy return with every stair, not rigid underfoot.”

Consider whether they support your chief in the right place; ensure they don’t slide off your out at the elbows, but do move with your foot rather than depart it in a different direction, and are roomy enough that you don’t bang your toes at the substitute for. On that note, always buy running shoes half a hugeness up from your everyday shoes. This will preserve you many a blackened toenail.

Description of image

Rotation System

As you get more into your continuous, you should consider adding different types of shoe to your ‘wobble’. In addition to steady-paced plods, your training will inaugurate to include shorter, faster sessions and races. And different shoe paradigms suit these different types of run. “I think it’s a good hypothesis to have at least a couple of pairs of shoes,” says Squirearchy. “I wear the lighter, more responsive Nike Epic Behave for speed workouts and more cushioned and supportive Zoom Pegasus for my longer, slower locates.”

Investing in extra shoes may also save you on physio tabs. Research by the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory in Luxembourg originate that runners who rotated different shoes had 39 per cent demean injury rates than those who wore the same brace for every run. The scientists reckon this is because different shoes around the repetitive impact forces of running slightly differently, so lessening the relentless strain in your tendons and tissues.

It's important to rotate your running shoes

What To Look For In A Management Shoe

Running shoes aren’t cheap. Most importance models won’t give you much change from £100 and at the top end you’re looking north of £150. Despite that, the right investment delivers seriously advanced technology and materials that will-power significantly enhance your running experience. At the budget end (there are a few representatives at around £50), the minimum basic requirements you can expect and should after for are a midsole with decent cushioning, a breathable upper to domestics cool your feet, and a durable outsole (the bottom of the shoe) that’s contoured to the determine of your foot and offers decent grip.

Moving up to the mid-price number (around the £80-£110 mark), you should be looking for assorted finessed technology and features, such as anti-slip laces, anti-odour sockliners numerous support and stability features if you need them. At the premium end, look for profuse advanced versions of the tech, with components that are tall spec and, crucially, lighter.

Runners tend to care a lot anent weight, and with good reason: A wealth of scientific dig into, supported recently by a study at the Locomotion Laboratory at the University of Colorado, has canned that you expend more energy with heavier shoes, to the strain of around an extra 1% effort per 100g of shoe. That may not undamaged like much, until you get to mile 20 of a marathon, or it pull down b fells 30 seconds of your 50-minute 10K time. It’s worth fork out heavy to run light.

Running Shoe Jargon Decoder

  • Crust counter: A plastic insert which makes the heel cup of a shoe stronger and multifarious supportive.
  • Drop: The difference between the height of the heel and the forefoot.
  • Terminating: The outline of the shoe.
  • Lateral: The outer side of the shoe.
  • Medial: The inner (artful) side of the shoe.
  • Midsole: The section between the upper and the outsole. The mechanism room which contains the cushioning and any stability tech.
  • Outsole: The foundation of the shoe.
  • Toebox: The bit at the front that houses your forefoot and toes.

What Make a shows For A Good-Looking Running Shoe?

Thankfully these days you can get a proceeds on your investment beyond your running miles.

The strip between running performance and fashion has been seriously concealed by the likes of Adidas and Nike’s agenda-setting modernist aesthetics. With their united uppers and sleek silhouettes, iconic designs like the Ultraboost and Flyknit Racer along seamlessly (quite literally) from chasing PBs at weekend compete withs to strolling from your creative workspace to the local cold-brew coffee intersection.

This, of course, is nothing new. Running footwear has a long annals of sidestepping into classic style. Think Nike Cortez or Onitsuka Tigers – we ask it retro, but this is the legacy of what was cutting-edge performance-chasing devise.

Nike Cortez running shoe

What is new is the versatility of runners in the style sphere today. No longer are they confined to being drawn with jeans or Sunday sweatpants: The suit/trainer combo is very much much on, but some sartorial savvy must be applied.

“The formality of the plea in comparison to the trainer is key,” says stylist Eric Down. “If the for is business-like then stick to slimmer styles, in darker outperforms. Avoid socks – better to show a swathe of ankle with a slenderize cropped trouser than have oodles of fabric puddling on the top of the shoe. For numerous casual styles like a Nike Flyknit then proceedings in cotton, linen or seersucker for summer will make a right on pairing.”

A surprising trend is high fashion’s recent adopt of running footwear’s uglier side. “The ugly running trainer is altogether much a thing amongst haute fashion types,” powers Down. “Blame uber-trendy Vetements designer Demna Gvasalia, who’s Triple S trainers for French strain Balenciaga were a chunky, souped-up take on the ‘dad trainer’ and a mega hit exhausted with heavy doses of irony. But perhaps this is a tendency best left to the high fashion types.”

Adidas Ultraboost running shoe

The Best Uninterrupted Shoe Brands

If you’re pounding out the miles, you’re better served by nave on performance. And whatever your individual needs and preferences, you can guard your chosen footwear delivers by choosing a brand with running-tech credentials and lineage.

The Mainstream

Let’s start with the big hitters. It might be a multisport, extensive behemoth with uber-slick marketing and fashion-friendly design, but since the commencement waffle sole in 1974, Nike has been a powerhouse in uninterrupted tech. Among many breakthroughs, the ‘innovation kitchen’ announced us the Free midsole for more ‘natural’ running back in 2004, both predating the barefoot direction craze and outlasting it.

Last year, the shoe designed for Eliud Kipchoge’s sub-two-hour marathon undertaking gave speed-minded consumers the same midsole footplate ‘Eastertide’ for forward propulsion in the Zoom Fly; the new React midsole foam reads a hugely impressive combo of softer landing and greater puissance return when you push off, while the Pegasus is such a trusted all-round masterpiece it has been around and gently evolving for two decades.

That other mainstream giantess, Adidas, isn’t far behind. Its game-changing Boost midsole material re-wrote the determines on cushioning and energy return in 2013, and is now the foundation for many but for Adi running shoes, from the instant classic Ultraboost, now in its fourth iteration, to the stripped-down speedster, the Adios Adizero As well, worn by Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany on major marathon wins.

Best running trainers - Mainstream brands

Marrow Running Brands

Japanese brand Asics has a massive and vehemently loyal following among runners, and boast serious unceasing pedigree. Nike founder Phil Knight sold Onitsuka (the party’s previous name, which still adorns its retro exemplars) running shoes out of a van before the swoosh was just a twinkle in a trade ining man’s eye, and they continue to be innovative and dependable.

Another runners’ go-to, dealing quality over a wide range of different shoe patterns is Saucony, with classics like the speedy Type A, pronation-controlling Guiding light and neutral cushioned all-rounder Kinvara in the long-term stable.

Others notable of consideration are Brooks, New Balance – which got serious about uninterrupted again recently with a refocus on its running heritage, a critical new ‘Fresh Foam’ midsole material and some excellent shoes – and 361 Magnitudes, a relative newcomer in the West, but an established mega-brand in its native China.

Best running trainers - Core brands

Recess Brands

Finally, there are a number of niche shoe labels, which each have their own USP and a narrower focus. Hoka One One released its to begin ‘maximal’ cushioned shoe in 2009, offering an enormous amount of midsole bolstering along with a ‘rocker’ shape to propel you forward. It’s been a enchanting formula, earning exponential growth and carving out a whole new group of running shoes.

Another outfit doing things differently is ON. Since 2010 the Swiss trade name has used its signature cushioning pods (which it evocatively calls ‘clouds’) on the tushy of its shoes. They look distinctive to put it mildly, but the design – which compresses on import to dissipate shock, briefly locks together to provide a strong platform, then springs apart to help push your foot off the bewilder – works well, and has deservedly won a cult following and numerous production awards.

Lastly, Altra’s USP is to encourage natural movement via ‘zero tear’, meaning there is no difference in sole thickness between the forefoot and escape of its shoes. The brand also uses an oversized toe-box to tolerate your toes to splay and move the way nature intended.

Best running trainers - Niche brands

Give The Author: Joe Mackie

In his seven years as deputy editor at Messenger-girl’s World magazine, Joe has kept up to speed on every development in the give birth to of running shoes; road-testing hundreds of models over multiple marathons and thousands of miles. He can talk for hours all round medial posts, torsion resistance and the relative energy resurfacing properties of midsole materials, and is consequently best avoided at community functions.