How to Choose Running Shoes

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The information in our "How to Choose Running Shoes" infographic can help you make the right decision about which shoes to buy. We lead you through the most important details to consider.

running shoes infographic

1. Know Your Running Shoes

Road Running Shoes: For pavement and surfaces with only slight irregularities. They're light and flexible and cushions or stabilizes feet.

Trail Running Shoes: For off-road routes. They're enhanced with aggressive outsoles for solid traction and fortified to offer stability, support and underfoot protection.

2. Know Your Feet

Know your ankles: Pronation affects the sideways motion of your foot as it propels the foot forward.

Know your arches: The height of your arch can affect the direction your ankles roll (pronation).

3. Know Your Environment

Running Surface: Like tires, outsoles are designed to accommodate certain surfaces. For roads, choose shoes that are light, flexible and cushion your feet. For trails, choose shoes that offer stability and traction with sturdy outsoles.

What drives you? Keep track of your speed and distance to determine the lifespan of your running shoes.

4. Know Your Laces

Here are four lacing techniques to keep your shoes snug for road or trail.

Hammer Toes: Lifts up toe box to help keep toes from curling down.

Heel Slipping: Locks heel into place to reduce blisters caused by excess heel movement.

High Arches: Removes pressure points on sensitive nerves on the top of the foot.

Cats Cradle: The world record Cat's Cradles is 21,200 in 21 hours.

5. Know Your Shoes

  • Here are a few tips for trying on running shoes.
  • A thumbnail's length of space in the toe box allows room for normal swelling and running downhill.
  • Try on shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are at their largest.
  • Use orthotics? Bring them when trying on shoes.
  • Get improved cushioning and stability with custom insoles, like Superfeet or Spenco.

The REI experts are here to help. Check out Running Shoes: How to Choose for more information or view or collection of women's running shoes and men's running shoes.