I hope this message finds you safe and well! I wanted to see if you had any recommendations for a good pair of running shoes. I run mostly on roads right now and average about 15-20 miles per week. I would like to run more in shoes that are most comfortable for me. I have been hitting the ground heels first and would like a shoe that supports a better gait, hitting the ground on the ball of my foot or mid-foot. I have size 9 feet that are narrow-normal, and I have normal pronation. I am looking to spend between $50 and $100. I like a little bit of cushion. Are there any shoes you can recomend?
I so appreciate your help!
Thanks so much!
At 15-20 miles per week, it's definitely time to invest in a good pair of running shoes.
In terms of changing gait from a heel-strike to a midfoot or forefoot strike, your body's locomotion, rather than the shoe, is going to be the most important tool to develop. It's a head-to-toe change, rather than a change that impacts your foot strike only. Check out this article on "The Perfect Form" from Runner's World which discusses the importance of keeping a relaxed body and quick leg turnover.
In terms of running shoes, I'd recommend the following options for entry level, neutral running shoes:
Brooks Revel 3: This shoe is a lightweight, springy shoe that will help promote quick leg turnover.
Altra Viho: All Altra shoes feature zero-drop construction which helps support a natural gait, as the drop, or difference between the height of the the heel and forefoot is zero--they are both on the same level, as opposed to having a rise in the heel. The Viho is also lightweight, and a more narrow-fitting shoe in Altra's lineup.
Hoka Rincon: The Hoka Rincon is a lightweight shoe that provides a responsive "feel" where you can feel the ground under you, but in a positive, springy manner. I use these for my quicker workouts, and I find they help me turn my feet over (also known as cadence) very quickly, allowing me to focus on my upper body's running form.
It's important to note that all these shoes are around the top of your price range. Generally, most new running shoes (including those we sell at REI), have a price point higher than what you're seeking. While the longetivity of a particular running shoe depends on the runner, where she's running, and her running gait, a rule of thumb is that the lower the price point, the less wear you'll get out of the shoe, usually due to the lighter materials used in its construction. Most runners might see anywhere from 300-500 miles of wear on a particular shoe; for me, a woman who has a heavier footstrike, runs 30 miles/week, and has a large body frame, I find that there are certain shoes that I have to replace after only 200 miles, so I'll buy two pairs so I can switch them out and extend their lifespans. For more on running shoe construction, check out this article from On Running.
I hope these ideas get you started. If you have more specific questions on running shoe fit, feel free to stop in your local REI and speak to a footwear expert, or reach out to a running expert via our virtual outfitting service! See you on the road!
Hi @mfast - when I started running I wore Asics and since then have tried many different brands and models to find what works best for me. I think you will find that running shoes are a very personal decision. What works for me or someone else may not be most comfortable for you. As @REI-PearlD mentioned having shoes that promote a natural gait and working to have the best form possible can help get you off those heels. For natural gait shoes I also like Altra's but have found that Topo Athletics work best for me. They have a wide toe area and a narrow heel with just the right amount of cushion and they have all levels of cushion too. Their shoes are also around the top of your price range. Unless you find them on sale or get a previous year's model (which is perfectly ok) you won't find many around $50. Also many brands and of course REI, will allow you to run in them for 30 days or longer to determine if they work for you so be sure to check out the return policy.
Good luck and Happy Running!