Have you ever been shopping for running shoes and not known what to look for? Have you ever bought a pair of running shoes, only to realize a few weeks later that they were entirely wrong for your feet?
Running shoes are like jeans—you want to find one that fits you well and is comfortable for your body type. But unlike jeans, running shoes aren’t all created equal. There’s a lot to consider when buying new running shoes, so we’ve compiled this list of the eight most common mistakes people make when shopping for their first pair—and how to avoid them.
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1. Not knowing what type of running shoe is best for your needs
You don’t want to be that guy who buys whatever, but you also don’t want to spend money on something that won’t fit your needs. If you’re a runner who runs for fun occasionally, you can get away with buying a cheap pair of shoes from Target or Walmart. But if you’re training for an upcoming race, investing in a more expensive pair of shoes that will last longer and help protect your feet is worth it.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you go shoe shopping:
- What’s the purpose of your shoes? Are you training for a marathon? Running to work every day? Training for a 5K?
- How much support do you need in your shoes? Do you have high arches or flat feet? Do your knees ache when you run?
- How much cushioning do you like in your running shoes? Do you prefer a soft ride or something more firm?
- How much do you want to spend on a pair of shoes?
2. Buying shoes based on aesthetics alone
We get it: You want to look good while you train. Fashion is important, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you consider when buying a running shoe.
Running shoes are designed to protect your feet and joints while helping you achieve your goals, whether running a marathon or just getting out the door for a run. If you’re shopping for fashion alone, you may end up with shoes that don’t offer the support and protection you need, which could lead to injuries down the line.
When buying a running shoe, think about how the shoe will look on your feet. Will it fit comfortably? Will it support your ankle? Will it provide enough cushioning for your stride? Try to answer these questions before you buy shoes solely based on appearance.
3. Buying shoes based on the price tag rather than comfort
People frequently believe that the more expensive shoes are, the better. However, just because something costs a lot doesn’t mean it is high-quality or long-lasting—and vice versa!
While price is often a good quality indicator, it’s not the only factor. You may find a pair of running shoes made by a well-known brand that cost less than $50 or even less than $20 per pair. These shoes can be as good as those very expensive shoes but will cost much less.
According to RunRepeat research, people are 8.1% less satisfied with expensive shoes than with less expensive ones. While this may not make much difference, it can significantly impact the whole experience.
It is always best to spend your money wisely and buy high-quality running shoes instead of the most expensive ones.
4. Not measuring your foot and just guessing at what size to buy
If you want to purchase a brand new set of running shoes, you must first determine your foot size and shape. Many people grab the closest size they can find, leading to blisters and other problems once they start wearing them.
If you don’t know how to measure your feet, ask someone at the store for help or find an online guide to walking you through the process. Once you know what size shoe you need, try it on before purchasing it to ensure it fits properly.
Also, people assume that size is size—a 9 in Nike is the exact same as a 9 in New Balance. However, this isn’t necessarily true! Different brands use different measurements to determine shoe sizes, so you must check with your brand when purchasing your shoes and make sure they fit correctly.
5. Shopping at the wrong time of the day
If you’re in the market for a new pair of running shoes, you may be tempted to hit your local athletic store early in the morning. But don’t do it!
The preferred time to buy footwear is later in the day. Your feet begin to swell in the morning and continue until approximately 4 p.m., so if you buy your new sneakers during the day, chances are they won’t fit by the time you get home (and even if they do now, they probably won’t a few hours later).
So, it is best to wait until the evening, when your feet are at their largest size for the day, to try on running shoes.
6. Assuming every running shoe is the same
It is one of the most common mistakes people make when looking for a new pair of running shoes. But think about it: Different running shoes have different purposes and needs.
Some running shoes are designed for road running, while others are specifically designed for trail running or other types of terrain. If you walk into a store and see a pair of neutral-stability running shoes, don’t assume they’ll work just as well for you on the pavement as they would on dirt paths—or even if you’ve never made any trail running before!
When shopping for running shoes, choosing a pair that fits your feet, supports how you run, and feels comfortable is essential.
7. Failing to consider the critical shoe features
When buying running shoes, it can be tempting to focus on the shoe’s style or color and ignore the crucial features.
But the truth is, you should only buy a pair of running shoes if they are comfortable and supportive enough to help prevent injuries while allowing you to execute your workout correctly.
There are many essential features that you should look out for, such as:
- Arch and ankle support
- Pronation Control
- Cushioning and Impact Absorption
- Drop from the Heel to the Toe
Even seemingly insignificant details, such as the tongue of a shoe and its lacing system, can affect performance.
When buying a pair of shoes, it’s essential to compare their various features to make an informed decision.
8. Not taking time to read shoe reviews before purchasing them
If you buy a running shoe, rely on something other than what the salesperson tells you. It would be best to read up on reviews of the shoe or shoes that interest you. There are many websites and online communities where runners can talk about their favorite brands and models. These reviews are often beneficial because they contain information a salesperson might need more time to tell you.
It is especially true if you’re buying online because it might not be possible to tell what kind of fit or comfort level you’ll get from a shoe just by looking at it. Read other people’s experiences with the shoes and try to find out what they liked or didn’t like about them.
For example, if someone says that their feet hurt after wearing the shoes for a few days, that might mean that the shoe isn’t suitable for their particular foot type or needs.
All in all, this article has helped you learn the correct way to buy running shoes.
If you’ve made any of the above-mentioned mistakes, don’t worry—we all do! Just remember that buying a little too large or too small is always better. Don’t forget to try different brands until you find one that fits your foot the best.
And finally, make sure you get fitted by someone with experience working with runners.