5 Rules for Best Running Shoes for Beginners

5 Rules How To Pick Up the Best Running Shoes for Beginners

Nenad A.
By Nenad A. / October 7, 2014

Fun fact: A study has shown that an average person makes around 10,000 steps a day. I guess those from New York double it. And runners could easily double New York. So it is only natural that if you are beginning running, you start to think about the importance of having good shoes for running.

How to Pick Up Shoes for Running if You are a Beginer?

We’re going to approach this question from a different perspective: The main purpose of your new running shoes is to protect your feet well, and to provide comfort during exercise. This will give you good experience while running, and probably help you avoid pain and possibly injury. Why is it important that we are clear on that?

Saucony Hurricane 16 Women Beginner Running Shoe

Picture: Saucony Hurricane 16 Women’s Running Shoes

Because, depending on how you want to start running, or how you run if you have already started, it might be that you need different types of shoes, different cushioning and protection.

In order to better understand what type of new running shoes you really need, answer the questions below, follow these simple rules and you will find the best for you:

Rule #1: Where do you plan to run the most?

First of all, we need to determine where will you be running. On what surface.

Generally, there is four that you can chose from:

  • Track
  • Asphalt (Road)
  • Trail
  • Treadmill

If you are a total beginner, the good way to start is on Treadmill or on Track. Both offer a smoother surface, kind of bouncing mechanism that will ease you into the whole concept of running. If you will be running on road you can still be okay (for people living in big cities it is the only option sometimes). Just make sure that the cushioning of your shoe is slightly better and you watch your knees, since concrete can really mess them up. Finally, trail is also an option although for beginners I wouldn’t recommend it. You might start with walks, though and eventually over time it will become a fun running experience for you too.

Generally, if you use Trail you will need a more special shoes (Trail-, or perhaps Crossfit running shoes), and for the Track, Asphalt and Treadmills you can basically have the same shoe, but it all depends on:

Rule #2: How often are you, or will you be running?

It is often advised for beginners not to run more than 2 times a week. It’s not that fitness experts don’t want you to get better and faster in a short period of time, it is more a precaution to make sure you won’t injure yourself, your body and start hating running from day 3 (if you try to run too much, that is more likely to happen).

But what about shoes? 

If you are a novice runner, you need good cushioning to keep you floating on ground but it wouldn’t really make sense that you go for a special expert shoes that cost $400 just so you can show off. Personally I’d recommend Asics GT 1000 2 (but please read below too) for beginners, and Asics Gel-Kayano 21 if you are a little more experienced (meaning you run 3-4 times a week).

All shoes have a life-span, so you need to calculate this into your budget too. For regular runners buying new shoes should be happening every 4-6 months.

Do not run in worn out shoes, because it could lead to injuries. If you plan to run more, you will need to be buying shoes that have more durability in them. Personally I’d always go for those but it is also budget dependent.

Rule #3: How Well Do You Know Your Feet And Your Running Style?

Next thing is very important: you absolutely must know what type of feet you have (or sole, as you like it). Know your arch, and shop accordingly . What does this mean?

There are three types of arches: high arch, normal, and low arch (sometimes called flat feet). And, cool as it is, there is types of shoes for each type of feet. Because different arches need different support. For example, people with high arches are often known to so call under-pronate, and will need shoes with more cushioning.

If you have flat feet it is more likely that you overpronate, so you will need more support near the arch. You can read more about running with flat feet right here. If you are lucky and have normal arches, then go for so called “neutral” shoes.

But also think about the way you run. Some people run like they are on their toes all the time (this is called being a forefoot runner), and some people run heel-to-toes style. For the first one (forefoot) you need shoes with most cushioning in the front of the shoes. For those who run heel to toe, one of the best shoes out there is the Asics Gel Kayano types (at the time of writing, the latest one is Kayano 21).

Rule #4: Does Price Really Matter?

It’s a tricky question and hard to answer. What’s cheap for some is a lot for others so it’s hard to be a good judge here. But I will share something my Granddad told me (and he was a shoemaker back in the days, you know, like in the old movies) probably 30 years ago: “If you are not sure which one is good, buy the one that is more expensive”.

I know how it sound like you need to spit out $599 for a pair of running shoes but it’s not. I mean, don’t go overboard just as you can. From what you can basically find out there, a price range of $110-150 is a good median.

That amount could probably buy you a nice pair of Saucony Men’s Triumph 11 shoes (see picture below)

Saucony-Triumph-11-Men

Picture: Saucony Triumph 11 Running Shoe

You would rather go for brand new latest and greatest? Be prepared to pull out $170-200 from your wallet. But if you are okay with good but still affordable shoes, you can easily find those for less. Honestly I would never ever consider going for something that costs less than $100 but that’s just me. And it also depends on the current sale (Amazon has a huge sale from time to time), on Brand (yes, sometimes we do have to pay just for the name of the company) and on your personal preference. Someone loves yellow, the other one loves red.

Rule #5: Little Known Tricks for Wrapping it Up

Don’t Judge a Shoe By its Looks

Now we’re in a bit of a trouble if the only thing you look for is looks. Mostly, all running shoes look nice, like space-shuttles you know. But their looks should not be your main concern. Rather go for something not so chic but with good reviews out there, than to ruin your feet.

Don’t Try Shoes Early In The Morning

This might sound crazy but it’s true. In the morning your feet is relaxed and nice and beautiful, and then you go out walk your 10k steps or more, and they got swollen and, well, generally a little bigger. So if you do need to try some shoes on, make sure it’s in the afternoon or you will suffer the consequences.

Don’t Buy The First Shoes That You Like (unless you want to have more pairs)

If you are only looking for running shoes, take your time with decision. It is often the biggest problem that people don’t want to think too much about running shoes and they end up buying the wrong ones. However, some people love to wear running shoes on a regular day too, which is okay. Especially if you have 17 pairs like I do, you can pick more pairs and use them as street shoes (know that some people in some neighborhoods will look funnily at you).

Running shoes sole a lot of them

If you are unsure, go out and Try it Out!

Picking up your shoes online is awesome, but only if you know what you are doing. My last couple of pairs came by post and I never had problems. But if you are unsure, go to your local store and try out as many as you want. Ask for help and advice.

Conclusion

While it may be enticing to pick up the newest pair of flashy name brand shoes so you feel that you look good while out running, it’s not always the best choice. You can seriously injure yourself when out running in the wrong type of shoes, especially if they’re not designed for running. Choosing the right gear for your feet is important, and will go a long way towards keeping you and your feet healthy as you begin your new running activities.

About the author

    Nenad A.

    Runner, hiker, beer drinker, loving husband and a father of the cutest little girl ("has a daughter, a gun, and an alibi"). When not running his company, Nenad is trying to spend time outside. Even if it's only for the sake of a barbecue.

    Leave a comment: