Start Running

Guide to Buying Running Shoes

running store, running shoes

What happens at the running shoe store?

Once you’ve decided that running is awesome, you need to invest in a great pair of running shoes.  It is important to find a specialty running store when shopping for your first pair of running shoes.  Specialty running stores are staffed by runners who love to talk about running (let’s get real, they’re not in it for the pay).  They are knowledgable and can answer many of your questions.  Most stores also carry equipment that can help them analyze your running stride and foot, making it easy to find the right shoe.

When you go to a running store, here is what will happen:

  • You stand on a foot pressure plate.  This helps them to see if you have high or low arches.  If the store doesn’t have a plate, they may ask you to take your socks off so they can look at your arches while you stand.
  • They’ll help you choose the right size of shoe to start.
  • You run on a treadmill, in a pair of their neutral shoes, and a pair of their socks, if needed.  Wear clothes you can run in.  They will video tape your feet (sometimes from the front and back).  What they are looking for is if your feet are rolling inward or outward.  If your feet roll, they will suggest a supportive shoe.  If your store doesn’t have equipment, they will have you walk away from them (probably barefoot).  They will look for the same foot patterns (rolling in or out).
  • Once your support needs are established, they will provide you with three of the most popular shoes in that category (neutral or support).  You will try the shoes on and hop back on the treadmill.  This gives you the opportunity to actually run in the shoe and see how it feels.  If your store doesn’t have a treadmill, you will want to ask if you can head outside for a run up and down the sidewalk.  You may feel silly, but do it!!!  You don’t know how a shoe will feel until you run in it.  You will repeat this process until you find your dream shoe
  • You pick your color.  Running shoes are fun.  When given the opportunity, I always opt for the neon pink shoe.  If your store doesn’t have the exact color, they will order it for you from a sister store, or from the manufacturer.

Running shoes are a big investment these days, with costs ranging from $100-$175.  Don’t skimp on this purchase though!  And get ready, because once you find a shoe you love, they will change versions, sometimes changing the way a shoe fits or feels, forcing you to start this whole process all over again.

I personally LOVE the Brooks Adrenaline.  I pronate slightly and these shoes have been a lifesaver!  There was one version that didn’t fit me right, but I was able to find last year’s model online to last me until the next update.  As far as socks go, I love these for long runs.  It’s important to point out that you will want to go up a half or full size, to account for foot swell.  Also, ask your store about their return policy.  Sometimes, a hot spot won’t pop up until you put a few miles in a shoe.  My running store has a generous 30 day return policy.  There have been times when I took advantage of this, returning a pair of shoes that were obviously worn, but just didn’t work for me.  The exchanged the shoes with no questions asked (shout out to Feet First in Tampa).

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