I’ve been running on and off since 2004, mostly on since 2012 when I entered my first 5k. I’ve put many miles on many shoes. I have always been a shoe lover in general and have decided it’s time to talk running shoes!

I’m not an expert. I did not stay at a Holiday Inn last night either. Although, I do need to ask, what makes someone an expert to review shoes?! I never really thought of it until now.  I’m not a fast runner. I will never win a race. I am definitely a middle of the pack, do this for fun and fitness, runner. 

So, if you want reviews from an average runner, stick around.

In August I will have two road and two trail shoe reviews ready. After that I will have THREE brand spanking new road shoes I gotta put some miles on before I let you know what I think. We found some smoking deals on some carbon plate shoes, so keep an eye out for those!

running shoes

But before we get to the reviews, let’s talk all things shoes.

The shoe world offers three types of running shoes: stability, motion control, and neutral. If you overpronate or have flat feet, you may benefit from a motion control shoe. If you pronate a little, you may benefit from a stability shoe. Pronation means your foot falls inward when you walk while neutral is what they call “normal”, neither rolls in or out. 

I cannot tell you what you need. I can give you some starting info but you’ll have to do some research and figure out what works for you. Like a lot of running stuff, it really is trial and error. I can only tell you the specs and how they feel for me. For example, I pronate a little and wear both stability and neutral without issues. 

If you want more guidance, head to a running store to get fitted.

They will analyze your foot type and gait and pull a bunch of shoes that may be best for your foot and gait type. You get to try them all on and run around the store to see which ones feel best.

I know not everyone is close to a running store but you can check your own foot type at home! You just need your feet, some water, and like a brown paper bag. If you don’t have one of those, you can do it on cement but be quick in case it evaporates quickly! Maybe have someone take a photo right after you walk. 

Layout your brown paper (or go to the cement), wet both your feet and walk across the bag/cement. Then look at your footprints and compare them to this infographic. You will either have a high, normal, or flat arch.

That will at least give you a place to start when selecting shoes.

Two questions to ask yourself before you start shopping:

  • Where are you running? Road or trail?
    • If you are mostly going to be running in your neighborhood, get a road shoe
    • If you are heading out to dirt trails especially those with rocks or roots, grab some trail shoes
  • How much cushioning do you want?
    • You can feel like you are running on clouds or have more of a ground feel. This is very much a personal preference!
    • And you may now know the answer yet, that’s ok! This is why we try on and test out shoes before we commit!

A few more tips when figuring out what shoes to get:

  • You may need to go up a half (or whole size) for running 
    • Your feet will swell while running 
    • My street shoe size is 7.5, I run in 8
  • You will want a thumb width of space between your toe and the end of the shoe
  • Make sure it does not slip off your heel when you run
    • It should be snug but not tight
    • If the heel slides a bit but isn’t slipping off you may be able to change how you lace your shoe to lock it in place
  • Try on shoes at the end of the day
    • Your feet will be swollen and you’ll get a better idea of how they fit
  • Fit to your larger foot aka TRY ON BOTH SHOES 
    • My right foot is slightly longer but looking at my feet you can’t really see it
  • Wear socks you plan to run in
  • Each brand fits different, try them on, walk/run in them before deciding. 
  • If you have your own inserts or orthotics try your shoes on with them. You may need to go up a size because of them.
  • Don’t be afraid to run in the store or your home. You want them to fit when you run!
    • Also, check the return policy. Some stores/shoe brands will allow you to run outside and return them within a specified time period 

Running shoes should fit and feel “right” on day one, run one. There should be no need to break them in. If they don’t feel good right away, they may not be the shoe for you. Running shoes should only be used for running. You should get 300 (minimalist shoes) to 500 (traditional shoes) miles on your shoes before they need to be replaced. If you start feeling discomfort when running in older shoes, that is your sign to get some new shoes and relegate your old ones to around the house/mowing the lawn shoes. If you can afford it, get two pairs of shoes and rotate to help them last a little longer. 

What else do you want to know about running and shoes? Let me know in the comments!

And be sure to follow me on YouTube to see the video all about running shoes!


Jenna

Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.

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