How to choose running shoes: basic criteria

Sneakers should be chosen not only for comfort, but also for the type of running you plan to do

Choosing shoes according to the type of surface

Training shoes are more solid and have good cushioning and stabilization. Their task is to fix the foot clearly during running and reduce shock loads.

Competition shoes are lightweight (up to 280 g), with a thin rigid sole. There is no cushioning in the heel or toe. In such shoes it is easy to develop high speed, but the load on the musculoskeletal system increases. Therefore, we recommend using it only for competitions. The exception is trail running, where heavy, wear-resistant sneakers with good cushioning are used.

Table of Contents

Choosing the right footwear for the type of surface

Sneakers for different running surfaces

Sneakers for different running techniques

Anatomy of the feet (pronation type)

Climate and time of year.

How to choose a running shoe in a store

Sneakers for different running surfaces

Park dirt paths, asphalt (or lack of it in some places), trainers and stadium give different traction and different impact load on the feet. Each surface requires special shoes to make your workout as safe as possible.

Running on asphalt

For hard flat surfaces you need shoes with good traction and cushioning: in the heel and toe or on the whole surface.


For permanent training choose models with good cushioning and a lightly ventilated upper. These shoes have a wider profile and higher level of foot support.

Women’s Asphalt Running Shoes

Running at the stadium and in the gym

You are fine sneakers for asphalt, if the surface at the stadium itself provides good cushioning.


Your trainer should be equipped with a cushioning system to relieve strain on your spine and joints.

Cross-country running

Cross-country running with different distances is gaining popularity. It requires special sneakers: heavy, well-protecting feet from injury.

A – rigid heel with fixed heel; – outsole with medium (4 – 8 mm) or deep (8 – 10 mm) tread; – top: reinforced, tight, with an additional protective tongue

For ground running

Medium tread and medium cushioning are adequate for dry, hard ground (forest paths, stony terrain).

Mud running

Mud running requires deep, aggressive tread to provide good traction on softened ground.

Running in the rain

Membrane shoes prevent moisture from getting inside the sneaker, this is relevant in rainy weather.

Running on bumps and stones

For running on bumps and stones, models with a hard toe, heel protection and good cushioning are suitable.

The sneakers you wear on the treadmill are not suitable for trail running: they have a softer sole and insufficiently protected upper. To protect your feet, use your shoes only for their intended purpose.

Sneakers for different running techniques

Different running techniques differ in the way the foot is positioned when landing on the surface.

Heel running is a classic technique for leisurely running or running long distances and is inherent to everyone from birth. The landing is on the heel, so it carries the brunt of the load.

Optimal shoes for this style are shoes with good cushioning in the heel and a high drop (about 9 mm).


Sneakers for running with the heel

Heel running is practiced by sprinters. Landing occurs on the toe. Sneakers are needed lightweight, with a thin sole.


Sneakers for toe sprinting

The technique of running on the outside of the foot reduces the impact load. Toe and heel are lowered simultaneously. There are no special differences from the first type of sneakers on the technique.


Sneakers for natural running

If you like a certain model, but not suitable pronation, you can pick up a good orthopedic insoles

Anatomical features of the feet (type of pronation)

Some people’s shoes wear more on the inside of the foot, others, on the contrary, on the outside. The reason for this is different types of pronation: how you position your foot and how the pressure is distributed. It’s worth determining your type before choosing a sneaker.

If the pronation is excessive, you will need models that provide extra support, with a good supination (insole). If it is not enough – you need additional cushioning to soften the shock load.


If you like a certain model but don’t match your pronation, you can find good orthopedic insoles

Men’s Speed Shoes

Climate and time of year

Here it’s simple:

Sneakers with a membrane protect against moisture, mud, snow, small dirt;

In the rain models with mud protection and water-repellent impregnation of the tops are topical;

sneakers with metal studs will provide maximum traction and stability on icy surfaces;

for training in sunny weather, pay attention to ventilation: the inserts are usually made on the sides, sometimes – in the sole.

How to choose sneakers in a store

Do not hesitate to ask questions to the consultants. When you find the right models, test them, walk, run, try to stand on the heel and toe directly in the sales floor.

When choosing a sneaker in an online store carefully read the specifications. Manufacturers specify all the most important: from the presence of water-repellent impregnation to the type of pronation. Be sure to check the size chart, measure the length of your foot and choose a size according to it.

Sneakers should hold firmly to the foot, but leave at least a few millimeters of freedom in the toe area. They should not hinder the movement, or shrink, or dangle on your foot. Pay attention to the quality of seams or gluing.

Try on your shoes with the appropriate thickness of socks that you will use during your workout. You can buy running socks at the store and try the socks on them.

You often hear complaints that the mesh at the toe of running shoes tears quickly and have to buy new ones. Wearing running shoes is very quickly addictive because of the special comfort. People try to combine it even with strict business suits. That’s great, but running shoes are definitely not a good idea to play soccer, walk through the woods, or ride a bike. This practice leads to injuries and rapid wear and tear of the sneakers themselves.

It is better to consider models for appropriate sports disciplines – read how to choose cycling shoes, shoes for tourism and outdoor activities and soccer cleats.