7 Tips for Choosing the Best Running Shoes

Finding a good pair of shoes is arguably the most important component of your running. It’s not a decision that you should make lightly, and be prepared for an investment (anywhere from $50 on clearance to $120+). Whether you are a new runner or have been running awhile, these tips will help you find the perfect match for your feet!

1. Go to a running store.

We always suggest to support local stores, but if for some reason you can’t find one, at least go to a running-specific store, like Road Runner Sports or Fleet Feet Sports. Never go to a discount or department store for your running shoes (unless they happen to have your brand and style on sale or something). Any running-specific store will ask you some questions, check out your form and then have you try on a few different pairs of shoes. You should be able to run around in them and see how they feel. Take as much time as you need – don’t rush this decision.

2. Go to the store prepared.

This means go at the end of the day, when your feet are a little swollen (like they would be during a run), and bring your own socks. Bring any orthotics with you, or put in the insoles that you plan to use, if at all.

3. How much padding do you want?

Some people love cushioning, while others prefer a more minimalist design. While most brands have options that are in between both – some cushioned options, some lower drop options – there are brands known for each. Hoka is a brand known for cushioning, and Vibrams are super minimalist.

You may be asking, “what the heck does “drop” even mean?” It’s basically the difference in height between the ball of your foot and your heel. The difference in running shoes used to be between 12-15mm, but now most shoes are somewhere between 4-10mm, with some even advertising no drop (0-4mm). If you decide to do a lower drop than you might be used to, go for less mileage and take it easy while your achilles and calf get adjusted to the difference.

4. Do you have any “special needs”? 

Some of us (many of us) pronate while we run, which means our foot rolls inward when it hits the ground. Over time, this can lead to injury, so if this is something that your foot does, you will want a shoe with support. While a running shoe expert will watch you run in a neutral shoe and check your foot strike, if you look at the bottom of a pair of shoes you wear often, and the inside is more worn than the outside, you likely pronate. If the outside is more worn than the inside, you may supinate (roll your foot outward).

Other “special needs” include a high arch or a flat foot.

5. The fit. 

Personally, I go anywhere from a half size to a full size bigger because I like to have room in the toe box (about a thumb’s width). Even if you don’t want that much space, your toes should not touch the front of the shoe. The shoe should be snug, but comfortable around your foot. Your foot should not slide around or feel constricted.

6. Ignore the colors/design.

The way the shoe looks should not be more important than the way the shoe feels. Think function, not fashion. That being said, you can usually get both. Shoe companies usually make a particular shoe in multiple colors, so if the store doesn’t have any colors you like, try checking another store or online.

7. Don’t (always) listen to your friends.

While your friend may have found the perfect pair for her, that doesn’t mean it’s the perfect pair for you. By all means, ask friends for brand recommendations, but keep in mind that you may have entirely different needs and that brand may not work for you.

Now that I’ve picked the perfect pair, how often do I need to replace them?

Generally speaking, every 300-500 miles, depending on how quickly you wear them down. If you run a few miles a few times a week, it’s about every 4-6 months.

Feature Photo Credit: LifeFitness

11 Tips for Running When You Really Don’t Want To

We get it – sometimes it’s just plain hard to get out the door to run, even though you know you will feel better afterwards. But don’t worry, we put together a list of tips that will help you get motivated to go the distance!

  1. Try new music.
    Whether you create a new playlist or just try a different set of tunes on Pandora or Spotify running, mix it up a little bit!
  2. Run a different route.
    It can get boring to run the same direction, the same loop, and the same neighborhood every day. Check out Strava or Map My Run for new ideas.
  3. Just walk.
    Get outside and start moving. Tell yourself you will just walk for 15 minutes. Whenever I do this, it’s guaranteed that I will pick up the pace and probably spend more time out there, too.
  4. Sleep in your running clothes.
    If you’re a morning runner, this eliminates one big step from your routine, and makes it so much easier to get out the door as planned.
  5. Call a friend.
    Assuming you aren’t running at the crack of dawn, call a friend to run with you.
  6. Find a running group.
    The accountability of knowing others are expecting you will get you to that workout (and you’ll make new friends!).
  7. Get inspired.
    Whether that’s watching a clip of Meb winning the Boston Marathon or checking out what other runners are up to on Instagram, get psyched and get out there!
  8. Try a new workout.
    If you usually head out for a few easy miles after work, try a track workout. If you always run on the roads, hit the trails. A change of pace is always a good thing!
  9. Sign up for a race.
    If my motivation starts to wane, I register for another race. If I’m registered for a race, I’m going to put in the work.
  10. Plan a reward.
    For some of us, that might be frozen yogurt, for others, that might be pizza, or a reality TV show. Whatever you want, make yourself wait until after you run to get it. And hey, it might even make you run a little faster.
  11. Think positively.
    Snap out of those negative thoughts! Instead of dwelling how terrible/long/hot/cold it is, focus on the positive feelings you will have afterwards. Think about the overall benefits of running. Think about how close you are to your race or weight goals, and get out there!

Feature Photo Credit: Green Yatra Blog

6 Ways to Find a Running Partner

Even those of us who love the solitude of running by yourself can benefit from running with a buddy or a group every once in awhile. Running with a friend can challenge you to get past a plateau, be a great way to knock out a workout and a catch-up chat at the same time, and most of all, give you some accountability on those days when lacing up might feel especially tough. But what if you aren’t one of those lucky people who have a significant other or good friend who is already into running as much as you are? Don’t worry, we put together a list of places where you can find a running partner in no time!

1. Running Store

The best place to start is at your local running store. Most, if not all, offer group runs at least once a week. Sometimes they offer discounts for the run club or have local races/companies sponsor the run and giveaway some good stuff!

2. Training Teams

Not just for professional athletes, getting a coach or joining a training team near you is a great way to meet new people who will challenge you and push your limits. There are usually a couple different kinds of workouts each week (usually including a long run and a track workout), and you can get form or pacing tips from a coach at the same time. Typically, there is a fee for this kind of running group, but you can always make friends and run on your own as well.

3. Facebook Groups

There is a Facebook group for just about everything, and running groups are no exception. Try searching your city or even state and running and see what comes up. This is more hit or miss, depending on the activity of the members of the groups, but is worth checking out.

4. Meetup.com

Much like Facebook, there is a Meetup group for just about anything you can think of, and you can look for trail runners, road runners, ultra runners, or anyone in between. Many groups try to have at least a mid-week and a weekend run, but it depends on the particular group.

5. Local Running Club

You can search by state on RRCA.org and find a list of all the RRCA-affiliated running clubs in your state, or search RunningintheUSA.com by state, too. You can also just do a quick Google search and see what comes up!

6. Register for a race

Some of the bigger national races and even some local races coordinate training groups tailored to that specific distance. Sometimes, local gyms will put together training groups for a specific race, too, so ask at your gym.

Feature Photo Credit: i heart running