Skip to content

Buying new running shoes?


November 3, 2021

Buying new running shoes? Here is what you need to know before you go:

1.     Do you already know which brands and styles work for you? If so, don’t fix it if it ain’t broken

2.     Wear your running socks! Not a pair of dainty work socks…

3.     Try shoes on at the end of the day when your feet are naturally most swollen

4.     Take the shoe and bend to see where the shoe breaks: Some will bend at the met heads, also known as the ball of the foot, some won’t bend at all or some will roll up into ball. This test also demonstrates the stiffness of a shoe. If you have a really painful bunion for example, you might want a stiffer shoe that won’t cause you to bend at the toe as much as a shoe that breaks at the ball of the foot and bends easily.

5.     Twist test: can demonstrate the ability to help with side to side stability and lateral control of the foot and ankle. This can be useful if you need some extra control in your shoe.

6.     Take the liner out of the shoes and stand on them on the floor: look to see if your foot hangs over the liner at any point. This could mean the shoe is either too narrow or too short and will either squish the toes or fore-foot or rub the toes. You need adequate room in the toe box

7.     Feel along the inside of the shoes for any rough spots or defects

8.     Heel to toe drop: This simply shoes the difference in height from the heel of the shoe to the toe of the shoe. Do not go from a 10mm heel to toe drop shoe into a 2 mm drop shoe overnight. These shoes load the structures of your legs very differently when worn running and need to be eased into or you could end up giving yourself a running related injury, especially a plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis if going from 12-2mm shoes.

9.     If you do wear orthotics, bring them with you and put them in the shoes. The orthotics should not compromise the fit of the shoe

10.  Fit the shoe to the longest toe of the longest foot or say bye-bye to your toenails.

11.  Try them on: are they comfortable?????

12.  Take them for a little test run, either in the store or at home on the treadmill. Most running shoe stores have a good return policy to allow this trial period.

Things to keep in mind: how do you define over-pronation or supination and also know that these are not true dysfunctions and do not necessarily need to be corrected for. Pronation is a natural occurring and much needed mechanism in the foot. Most of the time it causes no pain or dysfunction in runners.

A recent study in the British Journal of Sport’s Medicine, looked at novice runners with different foot positions to see if they had more or less injury by simply wearing a neutral shoe.

The results of the study are as follows “There appears to be no risk that overpronation or underpronation can lead to running injuries through using neutral shoes for this special group of healthy beginners.” “We have now compared runners with neutral foot pronation with the runners who pronate to varying degrees, and our findings suggest that overpronating runners do not have a higher risk of injury than anyone else.”

—> Healthy and beginners being 2 keywords here.

The Author, Ramus O Nielsen emphasizes that the study has not looked at what happens when you run in a pair of non-neutral shoes, and what runners should consider with respect to pronation and choice of shoe once they have already suffered a running injury.

With this in mind, choose a shoe that feels comfortable and feels efficient. The more of a novice runner you are the more I would advocate for a lighter, more neutral/minimalist shoe to allow your foot to get strong as you increase your running tolerance. This will keep your feet from becoming reliant on an orthotic or “motion-controlled” shoe and will let your feet do their thing!

You most likely do not need orthotics so please hold back from buying a pair that the shoe salesman is trying to sell. Orthotics are most appropriate only if you have an acute injury that needs a temporary, 6-weeks to 1 year MAX, change in load to that structure. Orthotics can hide true weaknesses and dysfunction that can be corrected with specific exercises. If you feel that you have become reliant on an orthotic or motion controlled shoe and want to work out of it call me at 407-476-6613 today or click the contact us tab to schedule. More to come on orthotics in a future post.


R. O. Nielsen, I. Buist, E. T. Parner, E. A. Nohr, H. Sorensen, M. Lind, S. Rasmussen. Foot pronation is not associated with increased injury risk in novice runners wearing a neutral shoe: a 1-year prospective cohort study. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2013; DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092202

The Endurance Phsyio: @theendurancePT

Christopher Johnson: @zerenpt