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Sole-searching when shopping for running shoes

Looking for the perfect pair of running shoes can be daunting to both the rookie jogger and the seasoned competitor.

"It's like buying a car," said Dave Frazer of Runner's Edge in Farmingdale. Each company manufactures every type of shoe, making your options almost endless and the process far more complicated than just deciding between Nike or New Balance.

Running stores such as Runner's Edge and Super Runners Shop in Huntington can put your troubled sole at ease. Each store analyzes your bare feet to effectively guide you through the selection process. Examining things such as the height of your instep, the nature of your arches, your walking / running gait and even an old pair of running shoes helps the salespeople direct you toward your foot's best fit. If you don't have time to make a trip, here's a guide to help find the shoe for you.

FOR THE OVERPRONATOR

The most common problem in running, overpronation is marked by excessive inward motion. The overpronator should seek a stability shoe such as the Asics 2140 ($100) or a high stability / motion control shoe such as the Brooks Beast ($130) for severe overpronation. You can tell if you are an overpronator if the soles of old running shoes show more wear on the inside sole of the shoe than the outside.

FOR THE NEUTRAL FOOT/ HIGH ARCHES

If your foot is neutral, you have medium to high arches and you can get away with a neutral shoe. Neutral shoes such as Nike's Pegasus ($70) tend to be more cushioned than specialty shoes.

FOR THE SUPINATOR

The opposite of pronation, supination is characterized by running on the outside of your foot. If you are prone to supination, your shoes will show excessive wearing along the outer sole, and the New Balance 800 ($120) or other neutral shoes would be a good switch.

FOR THE FLAT-FOOTED

A motion control / high stability shoe is suggested for people with flat feet because it provides adequate arch support. The Brooks Beast is a good example.

FOR THOSE

WITH ORTHOTICS

"Be sure to put them into a neutral cushioned shoe so that the orthotic can lie flat," said Matt Walsh of Runner's Edge. Adding an orthotic to a specialty shoe could "overenhance" the orthotic, creating more of an angle and increasing the chance of injury.

ADDITIONAL TIPS

Running shoes should generally be a half-size bigger than your dress shoe so your foot has room to expand.

Runners should buy new shoes every 300 to 500 miles.

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