Here are the key decision points to help you find a shoe that fits and feels good:

Consider where you’re planning to run. Do you mostly hit the road? Or do you hit the trails and gravel paths? Your choices are road-running, trail-running or cross-training shoes.
  • Road-running shoes are designed for pavement and occasional forays onto packed surfaces with slight irregularities.
    • Light and flexible, they’re made to cushion or stabilize feet during repetitive strides on hard, even surfaces.
    • Best for people who run on sidewalks, road, treadmills or track.
    • Road-running shoes have flatter, smoother soles to create a consistent surface for running on paved roads.
  • Trail-running shoes are designed for off-road routes with rocks, mud, roots or other obstacles.
    • They have bigger lugs (the “cleats” on the outsole) than road-running shoes for better grip on uneven terrain.
    • They are sometimes fortified with plates underfoot to help protect your feet from rocks or sharp objects.
    • They’re generally stiffer through the midsoles for more support on rugged trails and uneven surfaces.
Decide if you want more or less cushioning underfoot. Do you want to feel like you’re running on a cloud with maximum cushion or to feel the ground underfoot? Cushioning—the thickness of material under the midsole and the firmness of the foam—and heel drop are two factors to consider in the construction of a running shoe.
  • Maximum cushion: These maximalist shoes offer thick padding in the midsoles for the ultimate plush feel. Runners may prefer the comfort of thicker, softer foam underfoot when running long distances or multiday races. But super-soft cushioning isn’t for everyone. Some don’t like the squishiness feel.
  • Moderate cushion: Shoes with moderate cushion strike a balance between pillow-soft comfort and thin or no cushion. You’ll likely find a variety of shoes in this category
  • Minimal cushion: Shoes with minimal amounts of cushioning at the midsoles are favored by runners who want to feel their connection to the ground beneath them. Runners who swear by minimalist shoes say they closely mimic a more natural gait while running.
  • Barefoot shoes: The term barefoot refers to shoes that offer the closest feel to being barefoot. Many have no cushion in the heel pad and a very thin layer—as little as 3-4mm—of shoe between foot and ground and provide no arch support or stability features.
Understand whether you need a specific type of support for your gait. Most runners will be able to choose a neutral shoe, but if your foot tends to roll to the far outside or inside, there are shoes that can help you.
  • Basic Pronation: (Also called Neutral Pronation) When your foot rolls inward a typical amount. It helps you absorb impact and relieve pressure on knees and joints. It is a normal trait of neutral, biomechanically efficient runners.
  • Overpronation: When your foot rolls inward excessively, leaving you at risk of injuries. Overpronators may want stability or motion control shoes. Look for patterns of wear near your big toe and the inside sole at the ball of your feet.
  • Supination: When your foot rolls outward when it hits the ground. Relatively few runners supinate, but those who do may want shoes with more cushion and flexibility. Look for signs of wear along the outside edge of your shoe.
Make sure the shoe fits. Your shoe should fit well from the start with no breaking-in period.
How long should running shoes last? In general, a pair of running shoes should last between 400 to 500 miles of running (3 or 4 months for regular runners). Take a look at your shoes and check if the midsoles and outsoles are compressed or worn. If they are, it may be time for a new pair.

Have questions or concerns? Call Bluestone Health Group. Contact us to schedule an appointment by clicking this link or calling (203) 220-6488