How To Buy Running Shoes: An Authoritative Guide

imagesHow hard is it to buy running shoes? Slightly less hard than buying craft beer is these days, but only slightly. Fortunately, runners have the American College of Sports Medicine to turn to for advice, lots of advice. Look, here’s some now: The college recommends that a running shoe have “minimal heel-to-toe drop: This drop is the difference in the thickness of the heel cushion to the thickness in the forefoot cushion area. Shoes with no drop or a small drop 6mm or less are the best choice for allowing the foot to normally support loading during each gait cycle.” Here’s more: a running shoe should be “neutral, meaning the shoe does not contain motion control or stability components. These extra components interfere with normal foot motion during weight bearing.” And more: a running shoe should be “light in weight (10 ounces or less for a men’s size 9; 8 ounces or less for women’s size 8)”.  And more: “Avoid buying shoes based on advice given after someone in a store has watched you walk. Your gait and foot motion are very different when you walk and run.” More advice from the American College of Sports Medicine can be found here.


  1. Jeri Brown

    I agree with part of the article. Light shoes, low profile but; definitely not the 350 mile to replace and the diagnosis of a competent Shoe Store employee comment. A shoe should be replaced when it doesn’t do the job of providing proper protection. The thinner the outsole the less excessive medial or lateral motion and those the less likely to cause injury. People not only Pronate but; they Supinate. These are the two parts of the normal foot strike cycle. What is important is the amount of each. Most employees in Running Stores ask you to run outside the store rather than make a decision on walking in the Store. Using the Sock Liner to determine proper forefoot width is good but; hardly necessary. Buying shoes late in the day is correct. Breaking in shoes may be necessary for some but; certainly not all. One of the best ways to select a shoe is to look at the wear pattern of a shoe if possible. The best way to determine the proper shoe is to look at the wear of the forefoot outsole. Proper wear is the center of the forefoot. Wear the inside (medial) of the shoe is over pronation and should be fitted with a shoe with medial support in the heel. Most shoes have a dark material on the medial side of a higher durometer (hardness).These come in shoes to control the medial motion or excessive Pronation. Wear on the outside (lateral) is excessive supination and should be fitted with a Neutal shoe.

    • I appreciate the previous writer trying to add clarity to the “How to Buy Running Shoes” article, but…I have absolutely no idea what the writer is talking about. Very technical. Is the author a podiatrist, orthopedist, or bone and joint authority. I am totally lost. I did get one idea of going late in the day to buy running shoes. Good point! The rest, well, I just didn’t understand all the techie terms. Thanks for trying to enlighten us anyway. Have a blessed day everyone!

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