Figuring out which running shoes to train or race with can go a long way. Wearing the right pair of shoes could mean the difference between breaking your personal records and being under a lot of pain at the start of training. To start, you'll need to take a quick glance at your feet.
Telling your feet apart
The first step is identifying the arch of your foot and how that plays into shoe selection. The “Wet Test” is the quickest and easiest way to identify your foot type. You will either have flat, normal, or high arches.
- Neutral arch typically causes the foot to roll to a healthy spot.
- Low arch generally causes the foot to roll excessively inward, or overpronate.
- High arch causes the foot to roll in only slightly at impact, or underpronate.
For those wondering, pronation is a natural movement of the foot that occurs during foot landing while running. If you overpronate, you tend to push off almost completely from the big toe and second toe. As a result, the shock from the foot’s impact doesn’t spread evenly throughout the foot and the ankle has trouble stabilizing the rest of the body. Pronation is also referred to as supination, which occurs when the foot rolls outwards at the ankle.
To identify how you pronate, you can simply look at the wear patterns on your current running shoes and then compare them to the chart below:
Finding the right shoes
Now you have hopefully identified how you run and we can now help you decide what shoe is best for you. We will cover 5 different types of shoes below, and help you decide which shoe type is best for you.
- Stability: Stability shoes are best for people with mild to moderate overpronation. The perfect pair of stability shoes is the Hoka One One Gaviota. The Gaviota features superior cushioning along with new HOKA ONE ONE J-FrameTM technology. The HOKA J-FrameTM delivers support and protection while guiding your foot without the use of rigid and unforgiving materials.
- Neutral: Neutral shoes are best for people with normal pronation. They can also work for mild overpronators and also work for people who underpronate. Those looking for a pair of neutrals should check out the Saucony Kinvara 9. Perfect for road, gyms and flats, the Kinvara 9 is very lightweight at about 7.5 oz and has just the right amount of its EVERUN topsole to balance speed and responsiveness. Another pair of neutrals you can look into are the Nike Zoom Pegasus 35 Turbo. The Pegasus 35 Turbo delivers revolutionary responsiveness while the feather-light upper looks as fast as it feels. The shoes' ZoomX foam sits directly under your foot for heightened responsiveness.
- Motion Control: Best for people who have moderate to severe overpronation. Runners with severe over-pronation tend to see very significant wear on the medial side of the sole of their shoes and often experience shin splints, knee pain, and plantar fasciitis if they are not wearing the correct shoes for their training. Those looking for motion-control shoes should look into a pair of Brooks Addiction 13. The Addiction 13 adapts to every step and stride, in addition to guiding the body back into its natural motion path.
- Racing Shoes: Recommended for runners looking for a pair of lightweight shoes to race in. I also recommend using this shoe during track or interval workouts to ensure that it works for you before the racing. Be careful though, running too much in a racing flat can increase the risk of injury. Adidas' Adizero Boston 7 is among the best-selling shoes for racing on Clever Training. The Adizero Boston 7, made of highly-breathable air mesh, features a Microfit system that locks down the heel and midfoot for a tight, secure fit. The shoes' responsive cushioning and a flexible outsole deliver a smooth and energized running experience.
- Trail: Trail running shoes are typically heavier and designed to support and protect the foot on rough terrain. These shoes offer durable soles with better tread to defend against rocks, roots and other obstacles that you may find on the trails. Trail shoes are intended for runners who have a higher, more stable arch that does not pronate excessively (roll inwards). These shoes offer very little or no pronation support while still maintaining the durability needed to handle trails. The Saucony Peregrine 8 is among the must-have pairs for those looking to run through the rough terrains. Not only are they one of Clever Training's best-selling trail shoes, but the Peregrine 8 gives runners a more comfortable feel without sacrificing any bounce in your run. Its 6 mm outsole ensures a great grip on trails while also providing long-lasting durability. Another trail shoe popular among Clever Training customers is the Altra Superior 3.5. The Superior 3.5 features the fully-cushioned Zero Drop platform and FootShape toe box designed to improve natural foot positioning, toe splay and comfort.
- Zero Drop: Zero drop means there is no drop from the heel of the shoe down to the forefoot. Whereas traditional shoes typically feature an 8 to 12 mm drop from heel to forefoot. This shoe type is for people looking to run by midfoot striking rather than heel striking. The Altra Torin 3.5 is the perfect zero-drop shoe as it places your heel and forefoot at the same distance from the ground to promote natural, low-impact running form. The Torin 3.5's A-Bound cushioning is an energy-return compound that sits directly under the foot to reduce ground impact and add a spring to each step. Another solid option is the Altra Escalante 1.5, which features an internal midfoot strap and sleeker heel cup for a more secure fit, as well as increased breathability in the upper.
The bottom line
Personally, I am a big fan of the ON Cloudflow as an everyday running shoe. The ON Cloudflow features a patented Speedboard, which encourages the natural rolling process and promotes an explosive take-off.
When it comes to racing, my feet really like the feel and lightweight ON Cloudflash. At 7.7 oz, the Cloudflash is extremely lightweight and rigid. Its patented CloudTec sole transforms impact energy into forward momentum, perfect for racing.
As for everyday trainer, I also like mixing in the Nike Zoom Fly with my routine. Its Flyknit upper delivers ultra-lightweight support with a sock-like fit. Under the feet, Nike's React technology combines with a full-length carbon fiber plate to deliver revolutionary energy return.
Now that you have an idea of what type of shoe should work for you, it’s about finding that perfect shoe for you. Finding the right shoes for your feet is the difference between running with comfort or sustaining a serious injury.