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How to Pick the Right Running Shoe

As the weather warms up, runners across the country are ready to get back to pounding the pavement instead of the treadmill.

After a year of canceled and virtual-only events, it’s no wonder that 66% of those surveyed for Running USA’s National Runner Survey said that they plan to participate in a 5K or 10K this year.

It’s not always about competition, though: Respondents also said they run for their health (79%), stress relief (44%), and enjoyment (40%).

Whatever your reason for running, be sure you have the right running shoes before heading out. 

While they may look like any other pair of sneakers, the best shoes for running outside are specially designed to help you run at your very best while avoiding injury. This includes cushioning for shock absorption and proper stability control.

Whether you’re a seasoned marathon runner or a total beginner easing into it after quarantine, navigating the world of running shoes can be overwhelming. In fact, a simple search for “outdoor running shoes” and “best running shoes for outdoors” yield over 75,000,000 results each on Google.

At CORE Orthopedics, we take choosing the right running shoe for you and your needs seriously. That’s why we’ve put together a few guidelines to keep in mind when you start looking for your next pair.

How to Choose Running Shoes

Figure out which style of running shoe you should be looking for.

Before you do anything else, figure out which kind of shoe is right for you. There are four main types of running shoes you’ll encounter:

  • Everyday running shoes: These are the most versatile running shoes and can be used as a daily trainer and to log miles. They’re made with materials designed to handle regular running, and some include extra comfort-focused features such as extra cushioning. If you’re new to running, these are the ones to look for.
  • Lightweight running shoes: These are less durable than everyday running shoes, but are better for fast workouts or races. As the name implies, these shoes are lighter in weight and therefore tend to have less material under the foot. Lightweight running shoes are best used once or twice per week or for races by experienced runners. If you’re a new runner, you shouldn’t wear these more than three days per week for 45 minutes at a time.
  • Racing shoes: Racing shoes have little to no cushioning and no excess fabric to make running fast the priority rather than long runs. These are generally the least durable type of running shoe and should be used primarily in competition.
  • Trail running shoes: If you plan to hit the dirt instead of the pavement, a trail shoe is your best bet. These are made for running on dirt and rough terrain and have lugs on the bottom to provide a better grip. 

Understand your foot’s pronation and how it affects your gait.

It’s crucial to take your pronation (the way your foot rolls from heel to toe with every step) into consideration when shopping for a new pair of running shoes.

According to Runner’s World, normal pronation sees the foot roll inward about 15% and come in complete contact with the ground while supporting your body weight without an issue. This ensures proper shock absorption and gait while reducing the stress of impact.

Knowing your pronation will help you to choose the proper shoe and avoid injury. There are four types of pronation: severe overpronation, mild overpronation, neutral, and supination (also known as underpronation).

Use your pronation to determine the type of shoe you need.

Not all running shoes are created equal, especially when it comes to different types of gaits.

Motion-control shoes are known for their wide, straight shape across the bottom of the shoe. These are best for runners with flat feet or those who overpronate, as they prevent your foot from rolling too far inward while providing maximum support and control. 

Stability shoes have a semi-curved shape to provide more cushion and support for the foot. Runners with mild overpronation should choose stability shoes. 

Neutral cushioning shoes feature a curved shape to help absorb the impact for feet with neutral or underpronation. If you have a high arch, neutral pronation, or underpronation, these are the shoes for you.  

Try on running shoes the correct way.

Unlike other types of shoes, there’s a particular way you should go about trying on running shoes to ensure the best fit.

First and foremost, it’s important to wait until the end of the day or evening to try them on. Doing so will give you the most reliable feel, as your feet tend to swell throughout the day as they would on a run. In addition, be sure to wear the same gear you would typically wear on a run, including socks and braces, for the most accurate fit.

If you’re new to the world of running shoes, there are a few things to look for in the way a pair fits. 

Above all, your foot should sit comfortably in the shoe. The foot should be in the center of the shoe’s platform without being pinched or sliding. Keep in mind that shoe width could affect this.

To accommodate for any swelling that will occur during your run, leave about a thumb’s width between your foot and the end of the shoe. 

When shopping for a new pair of running shoes, you might experience a little bit of sticker shock: High-quality running shoes can range anywhere from $100 to $250. However, most runners can get what they need in a pair that costs $110-$150. 

When to Replace Your Running Shoes

Unfortunately, running shoes can’t last forever (but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep them on hand for everyday tasks like walking the dog). 

Typically, runners should replace their shoes every 300 to 600 miles. Depending on how often and far you run, this could be once a quarter or twice a year.

If you don’t log your miles, don’t panic. There are a few signs to look out for that will let you know it’s time: the shoes may begin to fit differently, show visible signs of wear, including a wrinkled midsole, or the treads are worn down.

It’s crucial that you replace your shoes soon after you start to notice these changes. If you don’t, stress and impact on your legs can increase, which leads to aches, pains, and even an increased risk of injuries

If you experience any abnormal pains or overuse injuries during your running journey, including in the knees and hips, schedule an appointment with our doctors today to discuss your options. 

Location Information

Elk Grove Village

555 Biesterfield Road

Elk Grove Village, Illinois 60007

(847) 690-1776  


Hoffman Estates

2380 Lakewood Blvd.

Hoffman Estates, Illinois 60192

(847) 690-1776  

Core Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Surgical Affiliations

Physician and Orthopedic Surgeon in Geneva
Geneva Surgical Suites

119 Elizabeth Ln., Genoa City, WI 53128

Phone: 262-295-1213

Alexian Brothers Medical Center

800 Biesterfield Rd.

Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

Phone: 847-437-5500


St. Alexius Medical Center

1555 Barrington Rd.

Hoffman Estates, IL 60169

Phone: 847-843-2000


Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital

450 West Highway 22

Barrington, IL 60010

Phone: 847-381-0123


Call (847) 979-9214 today for a Consultation