So fall marathon season is coming to a close, and most of us are definitely in need of some new running kicks! Here are a few guidelines to buying new running sneakers!

General rule of thumb – get new running sneaks after 300 miles. Go to a running store and speak with a knowledgeable salesperson, and see if they think the time is up on them too. Also, check the treads on the bottom of your shoes for wear. It’s important to note that each time you buy new shoes try them on at the store, and either run on the treadmill there and have someone evaluate you in them, or see if you can take them for a spin outside before buying them.

When picking out a shoe, try as many on as you want, the more the merrier! You want your running shoes to feel like a glove on your feet. So, if they’re not the prettiest shoe, but fit the best, BUY IT! Also, always go about 1/2 size bigger. Our feet swell when we run, so you want to leave room for that, and it also helps when running downhill, so you aren’t jamming your toes incessantly.

Keep in mind, that sneaker companies change the models of shoes without even telling the running stores, so take the extra time to try on your favorite pair again and again. Furthermore, it is important to note that some shoes have factory defects. About 3% of all shoes are defective. So, when buying new shoes I suggest running them through a few tests. Below are videos I highly recommend viewing on testing shoes for defects and how to lace your shoes properly as well. Kudos to a super smart friend Christopher Johnson, Physical Therapist, and crazy awesome triathlete!

Check For Shoe Defects

1. Shoe Anatomy & Screen
2. Break Test
3. Shoe Platform and Heel Counter
4. Symmetry
5. Symmetry & Medial-Lateral Stability

Heel To Toe Differentials

Here is a great video on drops in shoes. A zero drop = minimalistic shoe. I am not crazy about the barefoot running fad, so I suggest sticking with drops between 6 – 12mm.

Athletes who have stiff ankles and can’t progress the leg over the foot would benefit from a higher heel to toe differential such as 10mm. Someone who has clean ankle motion can go lower (gradually) such as <6mm. -Chris Johnson

Pronation, Supination, & Overpronation

Pronation – Neutral pronation is the slight inward rolling movement of the foot during its foot-strike. Neutral pronation is considered to be the ideal motion of the foot during running and walking and greatly reduces the risk for injury. People with neutral pronation tend to find success in neutral shoes or mild support shoes.

Supination – is where your foot rolls outwardly upon ground contact. A foot that supinates needs a soft ride and quick heel-to-toe transition. Also, excellent flexibility in a shoe is desirable. Minimum neutral shoes and moderate neutral shoes work well for supination.

Overpronation – is excessive inward rolling (pronation) of the foot during its foot-strike and often creates alignment problems within the legs. There is a wide range of degrees of over-pronation. Minimium support shoes, moderate support shoes and maximum support shoes are designed for feet, which need some guidance to steer the foot along a path of neutral pronation. Moderate motion control shoes and maximum motion control shoes are designed for the most excessive degrees of over-pronation and work to control the motion of the foot.

Now that being said, if someone at a running shoe store says that you overpronate, and wants to put you in a motion control shoe, and you are not injured – run the other way. The theory behind all of the above is somewhat questionable, because there are more variables that go into foot motion. My suggestion when picking a shoe is go with the shoe that literally feels like it was made for you, and when you run in it, it doesn’t feel off.

And last but not least – How to properly tie your laces!


*All linked in article

Happy Training!!

*****Natalie Johnston is USATF & RRCA certified runner coach & Certified Personal Trainer serving areas PA, NYC, & NJ.*****