Picking the Right Running Shoes

Because we all run differently and because our feet are all uniquely shaped, the perfect running shoe will vary from person to person. When choosing running shoes, there are several factors to take into consideration. The following slides will present things to consider and tips to help you pick the right shoes.

Running Surface

Road shoes: Made to be light and flexible to cushion your feet while you’re running on harder surfaces.

Trail shoes: Tend to have more tread for better traction, and offer more protection for the bottoms of your feet.

Arch Type

A “wet test” can help you figure out your arch type:

  1. Wet the sole of your bare foot.
  2. Step on construction paper or a paper bag.
  3. Compare the results with the arch types below.

Fallen: Fallen arches look flat and leave a wide footprint. 

High: High arches look curved and leave a very thin footprint.

Neutral: In between fallen and high.

Overpronation vs. Underpronation

Overpronation: The inward rolling of your feet when you run. The inside portion of your shoes will be the most worn if this is your running style.

Neutral pronation: Wear will show mostly on the balls of the feet and slightly on the heel.

Underpronation: The outward rolling of your feet when you run. The outside edge of your shoe will be the most worn.

Choosing Your Shoe

Fallen arches: You are going to want shoes with higher stability. This will help prevent overpronation.

Neutral arches: You can wear a wider variety of shoe types, but will probably want shoes with moderate stability.

High arches: Running shoes with added cushioning are best.

Other Factors

Body weight

Running experience

Planned running distance

Running Shoes vs. Walking Shoes

Fitness walking is a little different from running, and walkers should look for running shoes that have:

Lighter weight

Flatter heels

No flare in the heel

More flexibility in the toe than the arch


Finding just the right running shoes is often a trial-and-error sort of process involving trying on a variety of shoes and determining which ones are the most comfortable. In general, it is best to consult the professionals. Don’t give up. Once you find the right pair of shoes, you’ll fall in love with running all over again.


Did this answer your question?