Going online or to the local shoe store there are literally thousands of choices to pick from; different brands, colors, trail shoes, and price. Now throw into that mess an abundance of running specific terms (like cushion shoes, stability shoes, motion control shoes, and minimalist shoes). Shoes for running specific problems (like supination, pronation, and over pronation) it can make your head spin and leave you saying ‘I just want a pair of shoes to run in’.
The first place to start is to find a knowledgeable salesperson at a running specialty store. That’s why we recommend local running stores like the Sneaker Factory Running Center in Basking Ridge. The staff at these locales tend to be avid runners with years of running experience at the high school, collegiate, and professional level. Additionally, they tend to obtain further certifications in proper shoe fitting The process starts typically with a LOT of questions like: How many miles/week do you run, what type of runner are you, what surface do you run on, what experience running do you have, and are you training for a particular event. Proper fit is the key for preventing injury, promoting longevity in running, and having fun.
We recommend that you go to the store in the afternoon due to changes in size of your feet from aging and/or swelling. Often times running shoes are fit about a 1/2 size bigger then your regular shoes. Bring your old running shoes in so the staff can gai insight into your running pattern by looking at the wear of your shoes. The worn smooth places on the sole of the running shoe from repetitive use can give a clue into things like if your foot lands normally or over-pronates (rolls inward) or supinates (rolls outward) and can be crucial in finding the right shoe.
Before you head to the store try a Wet Bag Test or wet test by wetting the bottom of your foot (figure 1 & 2) and stepping firmly onto a paper towel on a flat surface (figure 3). Observe the footprint pattern (figure 4). You can trace the footprint with a pen or marker to bring to the store for further insight into how your foot is positioned.
Additionally, if you wear Orthotics and run in them then bring them in to be fitted with as well. Orthotics are supports to correctly position your foot into the proper anatomical position. They should remove any foot dysfunction you would have while running and therefore remove any need for a specialty shoe. All to often people will attempt to get fitted for a shoe forgetting their running orthotics and will have wasted a trip.
Ultimately, running should be fun and pain free and getting the proper foot wear and fit of a shoe is the key to everything else!