The Top 5 Tips for Buying Running Shoes

Posted by Filed Under: Gear & Apparel, Running Tips, Shoes

I often encounter patients who have difficulty in finding the right shoes. Here are some suggestions to help you find the proper pair.

1. Try on shoes later in the day, not in the morning.

  • As the day progresses our feet enlarge due to gravity pulling fluid from our body to its lowest point, our feet;
  • People have been puzzled when shoes that they bought the previous morning, no longer fit them the next afternoon. It’s just gravity doing its thing.


2. Get both feet measured each time you get new shoes.

  • Usually one foot will be slightly larger than the other and you need to get the size to accommodate the larger foot;
  • Foot size can change over time. As we age the ligaments holding our arches up can stretch, leading to a larger, flatter foot.

3. Make sure the forefoot flexes in the right place.

  • Some shoes do not flex where your foot naturally flexes as you toe off. This will make the shoe feel overly stiff and make faster running more difficult, possibly leading to a calve muscle strain.

4. Bring any orthotics or shoe inserts that you use with you to put in the shoe.

  • Orthotics or inserts are generally more built up than the insoles that come with shoes;
  • An orthotic can make your shoe too tight so you may have to go up in size;
  • Some orthotics have a heel cup that is elevated; this can cause your heel to slip out of the back of the shoe.

5. Most importantly- get the proper shoe for your foot type.

  • Overpronators should have stability or motion control shoes;
  • Oversupinators should have cushioned shoes;
  • Normal foot mechanics can have cushioned or neutral shoes;
  • When in doubt, ask for an assessment to see what foot type you have;
  • Foot types can change over time. The most common change I see is from a normal foot to an overpronator due to a collapsing of the arch in the foot.

These five tips should go a long way to serving you well in your quest for the right running shoes.

Don’t forget that going to a specialty running store with properly trained staff is as equally important in getting into the correct pair of shoes for your specific needs.

About Lee Miller D.C.

9536 - 87 Street Edmonton, Alberta T6C 3J1 Phone: (780) 426-6777 Fax: (780) 469-6930

  1. Caylynn on September 11th at 11:02 pm

    I’ll add one other point: make sure your feet are measured not only in length, but in width as well. I always hated running, since it pained my feet to no end, until I finally was fitted by someone who knew what they were doing, and placed in a wide width shoe (2E width – very wide for a woman). So if a shoe feels too tight in the width, don’t settle for the ‘regular/average’ width shoe, even if that’s all the store carries.

  2. Mike on September 12th at 4:31 am

    What do you think about the Nike Free running shoes? Are the claims they make about it strengthening your foot muscles true? It doesn’t seem to give much padding or support. Is that bad?

  3. Dr. Lee Miller D.C. on September 12th at 9:27 am

    I agree that the Free is capable of strengthening the foot muscles, but like any type of working out, you must build up gradually. I am also of the opinion that if you have poor foot biomechanics that are structural in nature, this may not be the shoe for you. As with any new product, time will tell if this is a “step” forward, or a niche for for those blessed with proper biomechanics.

  4. Joe Ely on September 12th at 1:04 pm

    Lee, nice advice here.

    I can’t emphasize enough the criticality of going to a real running store rather than the discount sports store at the mall. The young, $6/hour clerks at those stores wouldn’t know a pronation from a donation.

    Particularly if you are having foot problems or leg problems or back problems, go to the store.

    I’ve found that a running store is seldom more than $5/pair higher than internet or discount store pricing on good shoes. And that is very, very well worth it.

    Athletic Annex in Indinapolis saved my running life…and I don’t forget it!!

  5. Dr. Lee Miller D.C. on September 12th at 1:37 pm

    Good point Joe.

    Most reputable running stores will set you up with 2 to 3 pairs to try, and have a treadmill available for a test run. There is usually a no hassle refund or exchange policy, in case the pair you bought don’t work out.

  6. Free Brighton Fred on March 3rd at 3:50 pm


    i just listed a feature on “free running” is this waht these shoes are for??

    Free Brighton Freds last blog post..Listings

  7. Rick Flilckinger on April 14th at 2:40 pm

    I’m a 56 year old man who has recently lost 100 lbs,quit smoking and had a double hernia repair.

    Now I ‘d like to take up jogging an cycling.  Problem is I haven’t a clue what kind of shoe to buy.  Is there a clearing house that can help me find a quality footwear store in my area?