Running Shoes for Beginners

Running Shoes for Beginners

It doesn’t matter if your goal is to run for half an hour three days a week or to complete a marathon or other endurance event. The most critical element for a beginner runner is to buy proper running shoes. This is the biggest investment you will make and it may ultimately determine whether you stick with running or not.

Every time you go for a run, your feet hit the ground around eight hundred times in every mile. Running is a high impact sport. And, if you want to be able to run throughout your adult life, you are gong to need running shoes which fit you properly. Nothing wears down your feet like bad shoes. You can train for a race for months only to have to exit early because of running shoes which fit poorly.

Find a running shoe store

The best piece of advice for beginning runners is this: Never go to a department store to buy beginner running shoes. Go to a sports store, or a local running store which specializes in running shoes. You can find them just about everywhere in the U.S. You need to talk to sales people who know the pluses and minuses of every shoe they sell.

In a store that specializes in running shoes, you will find that most of the people who work there run themselves. They know how to evaluate your feet and gait to select the right shoe for you. They also can tell if a running shoes fits properly or not.

When you go to a store in person, take along with you a pair of socks which you normally wear while running. Always plan to buy running shoes well in advance of any event you might be running. If you plan on doing races or endurance events, make sure you have broken in new running shoes.

As an example, if you are going to run your first 10K race, plan to train in new running shoes for close to that distance on several occasions miles before the day of the event. While you are at the store, lace up the shoes exactly as if you were going for a run that day. Try to run inside the store if there is enough space. If not, ask the store clerk if you can try them out outside–in the parking lot or maybe on a nearby sidewalk. You are going to be running on hard surfaces, so the ideal situation is to be able to try out your running shoes outside and not on the carpeted floor of the store.

You also need to get rid of a myth that is passed around from runner to runner. Have you ever heard someone say, “the shoes don’t feel just right but I’ll break them in before the race.” A runner never needs to break in shoes in terms of fit and comfort. Running shoes should feel just right when you buy them. Putting some base miles on shoes is one thing. Making them fit differently is another.

What kind of feet do you have? Plus Advice for Buying Running Shoes Online.


Know what type of foot you have before you go to the running shoe store. Ideally, the sales people should be able to look at your foot and diagnose your situation. But be prepared for an experience where the shoe clerk may not be as well trained as you would like. You also need to know what kind of feet you have if you intend to purchase your running shoes online (If you are going to purchase online, Road Runner Sports is our preferred store).

It is quite easy to figure out your foot type at home. The first thing to do is to remove your socks and shoes and to stand on a flat surface on which you will be able to see your foot’s imprint. Ideally, this works on a dark surface better than a light one. If you have slate or tile on your bathroom floor, this would be the perfect place to experiment.

You need to see a wet outline of your footprint on the floor. So, wet your feet and walk across the surface you have chosen. If you have a high arch, you will see an impression of the heel, the ball of the foot and then the toes. If you should see the entire surface area of the ball of your foot, it means you have flat feet and a low arch. This impression will look very rectangular. The third option is that you can see an outline of the of the middle of your foot but not heel or toes. If this is the case you will definitely need extra cushioning in the mid-foot area.

So what do these wet impressions really tell us?

If you have a foot with a high arch, you need lots of arch support and shock absorption in your running shoe. Someone with a classic high arch underpronates. This means that your foot does not roll inward very far and you land on the outer edge of your foot. If you have high arches you likely need neutral shoes with extra cushioning and flexibility in your shoes.

If you fit the profile of the rectangular flat foot, you most likely overpronate instead of underpronate. That means you fall off the inside of your foot instead of the outside. You are going to need a stiff shoe and should look at those in the category of motion control running shoes. A normal arch in someone who overpronates might want a stability shoe.

If you are still unsure as to what type of foot you have, turn over your current running shoes and look at the soles. If you overpronate, the soles are most worn on the inside edge. If you underpronate, the shoes will be most worn on the outside edge.

Most people need good cushioning through the mid-sole of their running shoes. Often the company will use a gel cushioning system in this area. A heel counter which is stable is also a necessity. Your heel should not be able to move in a side to side manner, especially when your foot is touching the ground.

You also need to have plenty of space in the toe box. Your toes should not hit the sides or the top of the shoes. Likewise, your heel should be stable and never slip up and down within the shoe itself.

Three types of running shoes


Just about all runners fall into one of these three main categories of running shoes:


1. Motion control shoes

For people with flat feet, low arches, and moderate to severe overpronation. They need a lot of rear foot control and extra arch support. Runners who are heavy also need a good motion control shoe.

saucony progrid stabil sc2

Saucony Progrid stabil SC2

The Saucony Prodgrid Stabil SC 2  a fine example of a motion control shoe and it is newly updated. It gives excellent support and now has plenty of room for your toes to move around. The Saucony Progrid Stabil is a flexible and supportive shoe with cushioning to absorb the impact of each stride.


2. Stability

For people who have low to normal arches with little to moderate overpronation. Basically, these people need cushioning in the mid-sole area of the shoe and support.

new balance 760

New Balance 760

The NEW BALANCE® 760 has excellent stability and cushioning throughout the mid-arch region. It is meant for runners with relatively normal arches. The shoe has New Balance’s special lightning dry lining for wicking moisture away from the foot.

There is plenty of shock absorption in the heel and the New Balance 760 has a proprietary TS2 transitional support system for control of pronation.

3. Neutral-Cushioned

This is the shoe for people with high arches. You need a lot of mid-sole cushioning to be comfortable..

Nike Air Pegasus

Nike Air Pegasus+ 27

At 9.1 ounces, the NIKE® AIR PEGASUS+ 27  is a light and super responsive running shoe. It has the cushioning needed by people who have high arches. The newest design has a partial bootie style fit which is extraordinarily comfortable. The outer sole is BRS 1000 carbon which is very durable. There are nice treads for traction as well.

The AIR PEGASUS+ has the sensor insert pocket in the sole so that it can be used with the Nike Plus Pedometer/Ipod System (purchased separately).

How much do running shoes cost?


Basically, a good pair of running shoes costs between $50 and $350. The majority of runners spend between $75 and $150 for their shoes. If this is a lot of money for you to spend, you should watch for sales and look for outlet stores which do huge shoe clearances a few time every year. Purchasing online can often save money but be sure you can return the shoes if they don’t fit. In all other cases, the rule is “try before you buy.”  Beginner runners can often start with a lower end model from a company and move up as they add miles. For example, you might start with the Nike Air Pegasus and then next time buy more expensive Nike Vomeros. Extra expense usually buys less weight and more features, but the lower end running shoe models often are perfectly good shoes, especially for beginners.

Shop For Running Shoes

Running At Night, Products to Help You Be Seen and Stay Safe

With so many unknown factors lurking for those running at night, it’s critical that runners planning an after-dark jog take measures to ensure their safety. Factors such as poorly lit areas, distracted drivers, fog, and even predators are all hazards that are out of a runner’s control. Firmly in a runner’s control, however, is how visible the runner makes themselves to others in the dark. While many runners rely on simple measures, such avoiding dark clothing and small bit of reflector tape on their shoes, too many stories exist of nighttime running accidents that could easily have been avoided had a runner been properly equipped.

The proper night running gear can help solve the problem of safety after dark and can have you covered from head to toe. Many running stores, including Road Runner Sports, one of our preferred stores, features a catalog of safety equipment designed to match any runner’s comfort, style and need. From lighted headbands to reflective shoestrings, the variety of products available make it possible to stay safe without compromising an enjoyable running experience.

Nathan running vest

Nathan Running Vest

Amphipod reflective running vest

Amphipod Running Vest

Reflective vests remain one of the most popular running safety articles, largely because they’re effective, comfortable and less intrusive than some other night running wearables. Road Runner Sports offers an assortment of vests, including the ultra-light Amphipod Reflective Xinglet Vest, an over-the-shoulders configuration of straps that offers zero restriction, as well as the Nathan Streak Vest, which delivers 360-degree visibility of a runner’s entire torso.

Nathan reflective arm band

Nathan Reflective Arm Band

For more subtle safety gear, browse Road Runners Sports’ reflective arm and leg bands. With offerings from makers such as Nathan, Brooks and Fun Source, the variety makes it easy to match the style you’re looking for. The Brooks Nightlife Arm and Leg Bands are comfortable, elastic-fit bands that dramatically increase how well you’ll be seen when running after dark.  Or, take a look at he belt-like Nathan Reflective Snap Bands, adjustable bands that use L.E.D. technology to make drivers aware of you from as far away as 400 feet.

Petzl running headlamp

Petzl Running Headlamp

To improve how well you can see, in addition to how well others can see you, turn to Petzl’s line of headlamp lighting bands, such as the Petzl Tikka XP 2 Headlamp. At its maximum level, the Petzl Headlamp beam reaches 60 meters, but it also offers an adjustable beam width to help you adjust the brightness to your needs. The strap also comes equipped with an integrated whistle to call for help, and features two kinds of lighting (red and white) to let you further adjust it to your needs. (Run Gadget Editor’s note: I personally use the Petzl Tikka XP 2 Headlight and am very happy with it)

To the runner who is inclined to simply wear a white t-shirt with intentions of staying in well-lit areas while running at night, these may seem like extreme measures to ensure running safety. But with so much out there that runners don’t control, it’s important to smartly handle that which they do. And, just as properly stretching before any run, or getting fluids up before a big race, are important parts of any training regimen, so too is making sure that when you are visible when running at night. There is nothing more important than wearing appropriate night running gear. Making certain that you’ll be seen should be priority one.


Many crimes happen to runners at night. Utilizing these ideas can help prevent that from happening. If identifying and preventing crimes like this from happening is important to you, consider taking courses in the Regis Online criminology masters program.