1. Where to begin
With so many options on the market and a wealth of resources available at your fingertips, it can be difficult to know where to start. Rebekah Broe, Performance Running Footwear Product Manager at New Balance, advises making sure you get the right running shoe for your specific needs.
“We all love our running friends, internet forums, and YouTube reviews, but the shoe that works for your best friend who just qualified for the Virgin Money London Marathon might not work for you,” she says.
“Our bodies, our gaits and our feet are all different so finding the right high-quality running shoes that are made for our unique characteristics can make all the difference for happy and healthy training.”
2. The perfect fit
Getting the size of your running shoe right is important and having a fitting with an expert is the best way to ensure the miles ahead are relatively smooth sailing. There are also a few basic rules you can follow.
“A general rule of thumb actually involves measuring with your thumb,” says Broe. “When standing, there should be about a thumb width between the end of your longest toe and the front of the shoe. This will help ensure there’s room for your toes to splay and feet to swell when running higher mileages.”
Buying the right size runners is not as simple as matching them up to your casual shoes, and remember, a size nine in one model may not fit in the same way as another brand.
“It’s not uncommon for people to go up half a size to a whole size in their running shoes to accommodate foot movement and swelling during activity,” says Broe.
3. Timing is everything
This might seem like a strange suggestion, but getting fitted for your running shoes in the late afternoon will help you make sure you buy the right size.
Throughout the day, due to increased activity, your feet will expand just as they do during long distance running, so planning your shopping trip for after 16:00 will put you on the right path to perfect sizing.
4. Gait expectations
You’ve nailed the size of your shoe, but the way you run is also a factor in determining which option you should go for.
The best way for experts to assess your running style is via gait analysis, which will usually involve you running on a treadmill. The New Balance store on Oxford Street in London, for example, provides gait measurement through their Stride ID app. They’ll start by filming you doing a few strides and take a laser scan of your feet.
A 3D image is generated on an iPad from the scan, including measurements of your foot width, length and arch height. Sales staff can then offer you advice and recommendations on the right shoe for you.
5. Price point
The style and fit are in the bag, but how much should you be looking to spend on your new shoes? There’s an affordable option to suit most budgets, but when it comes to running shoes, you get what you pay for.
You’re going to be putting in some hard miles in your new pair of shoes and you want them to last, so don’t be afraid to invest in your feet – it might save you some money in the long run.
Broe recommends that a single pair of quality high-mileage trainers will cost RRP £130-140, but New Balance also have a number of designs in their Fresh Foam range available from £80.