Shopping for running shoes can be hard if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Overwhelmed by the number of shoe options? Don’t know how or where to get started? All you have to do is follow these pro strategies for buying running sneakers to make sure you leave with happy feet:
1. Go to a specialty store
If you’re new to the running scene or want expert advice on your next purchase, go to a specialty store rather than a department or outlet store. At these locations, such as True Runner in Chestnut Hill or the South End Athletic Company in Boston’s South End, customers receive gait analysis, shoe fittings and experienced advice to ensure every runner leaves satisfied.
2. Ask if there are free returns after your first test run
Maybe your new shoes felt great in the store. But when you laced them up for your first official run, they didn’t do what they were supposed to do. No one wants to get stuck with a pair of running shoes that don’t work for them. So make sure to ask if the store allows free returns after your first trial.
3. Do not settle on size
If you absolutely love the style and qualities of a shoe but the only ones in stock are a little too small or just a bit too big, move on to a similar product. Don’t try to convince yourself that breaking a pair in or wearing thicker socks will make them fit better. Instead, wait the extra time to order online or ask the carrier for a close alternative. You’ll be happy you avoided the blisters and bruises.
4. Be honest about what you need as a runner
Make sure you are spending your money on what you need, not what you want. The most stylish and trendiest looking shoes may not provide the right amount of stability support and cushioning you need as a runner, so it’s important that you move on to a more practical alternative. Also be sure to share with the person assisting you the amount of mileage you typically cover in a week and any injuries you have or have had to ensure that your sneakers will help you, not hurt you.
5. Once you find a shoe that works, buy more
Finding the best running shoe for you is like winning the jackpot. My first year as a runner, I just wore a pair of sneakers that looked good. As a result, I ended up in physical therapy and took Calcium supplements to combat the ongoing pain I experienced in my calves and ankles. Once I went to a specialty store and got fitted for my first pair of Brooks Ghost 7 sneakers, my running lifestyle changed drastically for the better. Now that I know the Brooks Ghost series provides me with the perfect amount of smooth cushioning, streamlined support and durable comfort, I buy them whenever they’re on sale. You also never know when a brand is going to release the next installment in a shoe series and discontinue the older version, so make sure you stock up on your favorite sneakers before it’s too late.
Know any other tips for sneaker shopping that we missed? Let us know in the comments and give us feedback on our Facebook page!