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It doesn't matter if you're a new runner or someone who has been pounding the streets for years, your choice of running shoes is critical to your ongoing enjoyment of the sport. If you don't get that choice right it can lead to week and months of persistent injury and potentially numerous costly visits to your local physiotherapist. We'll help you navigate the minefield that is 'choosing the right running shoe for you'.

If you're running already, when exactly should you change your running shoes? This isn't an exact science as there are a number of factors that can influence this but generally you'd be thinking of a change at around 400-500 miles (650-800 km). The type of shoe, the terrain you're running on and weight will make a difference but you can't go far wrong using that as a guide.

Don't be superficial

It is important to remember that we are all different and we all change. Just because a mate has a certain make and model of shoe doesn't mean you can grab a pair because you like the look of them. They may be completely unsuitable for you, at any given point in time, but as your training and aspirations change they might be ok. The key takeaway here is just to make sure you never act on a recommendation from someone else or be swayed by the look of a shoe.

Go specialist

Ideally you should buy your shoes from a specialist running shoe store or at least from a sports shop with staff that have specialist running knowledge. Just because they run doesn't necessarily mean they know how to fit a shoe. Don't trust your running future with people who don't know what they're talking about. Buying online is fine if you are looking for an exact replacement pair though. Make sure it is just that and don't buy a new model without trying it on. Manufacturers bring our new shoes every 6 months and generally upgrade a model every 12 months and these upgrades can be very, very different. An 'ABC' 10 can be a fundamentally different shoe from an 'ABC' 11. When you do go to your local running shop make sure you either take your usual running socks with you or use when of the pairs they should have available. Trying on shoes with normal socks is way different than trying them on with running socks and will impact on your ultimate buying decision.


We all want to keep costs down but you do need to invest in your shoes. Running is a relatively cheap sport compared to others and your shoes are the biggest part of your kit, so you do need to invest well. If you need to spend 15% more to get the absolutely best shoe for you then you should. You can of course choose a model from an older range that will save you a decent amount but you need to make sure you try it on.

Don't just invest your dollars, it's also about investing time in making the right choice. Do your research and look at as many options as you can. This is a really important decision and you need to make sure you get it right.

There are so many shoe options. Spend some time getting the right ones

What type of shoe?

In specialist stores you will more often than not come across the gait analysis approach to the fitting of running shoes. It's basically store staff watching you run for a short period on a treadmill and using computer software to decide on your foot type. Most of us are neutral runners but some of us 'pronate' and there are shoes for all types. Gait analysis can give distorted results so be careful. Runners who pronate will often wear the tread on their day to day shoes in slightly different places on the soles and this is what happens with their running shoes. Too often gait analysis will put neutral runners in shoes designed for runners who pronate and that can cause major injury issues. Stick with a neutral shoe unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise.

Don't forget the socks!

We touched on running socks above. Don't underestimate their importance. You absolutely must make sure you have really good quality running socks. Be kind to your feet, you are going to give them a real workout every time you run!

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