How to Choose Running Shoes | Road Runner Sports
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Find Your Perfect Fit

Find Your Perfect Fit

It's so easy!

Find the best running shoes for you!


Need a little help finding your perfect running shoe?

You're not alone. When you're staring at thousands of running shoes, it can seem a lot more complicated than it needs to be to pick your perfect shoe. To make it a whole lot easier on you, we've simplified it to these 2 steps:

  • Choose your cushion level
  • Pick your arch type

Complete these two steps and you're well on your way to your best fit ever. And you'll find that when your shoes fit and feel perfect, you'll be more motivated, check off your goals faster, and even reduce injuries so you can keep on movin'. Let's get you started!


Your Cushion Level

You might be thinking, “cushion level? That's easy. Isn't more cushion better than less cushion?” Not always. Cushioning's great, but it's just like any other feature of a running shoe. And different amounts of cushioning are best for different reasons. Here are some guidelines for choosing your best cushioning level

Level 5 Cushioning

  • Your maximum cushion and top-of-the- line technology
  • Perfect for daily high mileage running and max impact protection
  • Built for longer races like half marathons and full marathons
  • Also ideal for new runners or runners with larger frames
  • Check out: Hoka Clifton , ASICS GEL-Kayano , Adidas Energy Boost , or Saucony Triumph

Level 4 Cushioning

Level 3 Cushioning

  • Your perfect balance of lightweight, moderate cushion and flex.
  • Pick up your pace with a fast, energetic feel for daily, tempo and race running.
  • Your exact midpoint between cushion and quick natural feel
  • Ideal for expert runners or those looking for a tempo shoe
  • Look to the Brooks Launch or the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante

Level 2 Cushioning

  • Your incredibly light, extremely flexible choice with just a touch of cushion and a minimal feel
  • Race, train, and feel connected to the road
  • Often used by highly competitive racers
  • Strengthen feet and practice form
  • Try the Nike Free or racing shoes

Level 1 Cushioning

  • Your lightest, most flexible designs offer only a thin layer of minimal protection
  • Strengthen feet while running, training or walking
  • Feel barefoot while protecting feet
  • Choose the the Vibram V-Run

Your Arch Type & Flexibility

You've picked your cushion level. Now let's talk about your arch. The height and flexibility of your arch affects the amount of support your feet need. The higher or less flexible your arches are, the less support you need. Shoes for higher arches are called Neutral. The lower or more flexible your arches are, the more support you need. Shoes for lower arches are called Stability.

Read on to learn more about which shoe category you should look for.

High Arch Type Medium Arch Type Low Arch Type
High Arch Medium Arch Low Arch
  • If you have high arches that don't flex very much, you typically stay on the outsides of your feet. Select a NEUTRAL shoe to guide lateral pressure inward by supporting your arch with cushion.
  • Check out these NEUTRAL category cushion faves: ASICS GEL-Cumulus or Brooks Ghost
  • Fall in love with these category favorites:
    ASICS Cumulus or the Brooks Ghost
  • If you're like most people (almost 80%) you've got flexible arches that cause your ankles to roll inward with each step. This is called pronation. Choose a STABILITY shoe to stabilize inward flex through midsole technology and arch support
  • Support & cushion your running with these STABILITY picks: ASICS GT-2000 or Nike LunarGlide
  • Check out some of these category favorites:
    ASICS 2000
    or the Nike LunarGlide
  • If you're asking "arch?" you probably have low arches. Your biomechanics are similar to the medium arch but more pronounced. Your highly-flexible feet angle inward so much that you have little to no arch. You'll want a Level 5 STABILITY shoe with maximum support. You may also see these called MOTION CONTROL shoes
  • Maximize your cushioned support with these Level 5 STABILITY go-tos: Brooks Beast or the New Balance 1340
  • Consider these category favorites:
    Brooks Beast
    and the New Balance 1340

That's it! Now you know how to find the perfect running shoe for you. It all comes down to choosing your favorite cushioning level (Levels 5 to 1) and knowing your shoe category (Neutral or Stability).

Still have questions about finding the perfect running shoes for you?
Chat with a Fit Expert at 800-743-3206 or check out our most frequently asked questions below.

Frequently Asked Questions About Running Shoes

  • How do I know my current running shoes are right for me?
  • You'll be relieved to know it's simple, actually. Your perfect running shoes should feel great from the minute you put them on until the minute you take them off. Your feet should not ache, blister, or chafe in your shoes. If they do, you may need to adjust your size or width, or find a different running shoe that's better for you.
  • What is Shoe Dog?
  • Shoe Dog is your Road Runner Sports' shoe finder service . You can try Shoe Dog online or at one of our retail locations . Either way, you'll be fitted with the best running shoes for you. Your perfect fit will provide ultimate comfort for your walking or running stride, arch type, and width. Once all of the technical aspects are taken care of, you'll choose from a variety of top running shoe brands, styles, and colors that are just right for you. Then bam! You'll be ready to hit the road, rockin' your new running shoes!
  • What if I have joint pain or previous running injuries? Can you help me find new running shoes?
  • Your Fit Expert will take your joint pain and previous running injuries into consideration when selecting the best running shoes for you. You might also seriously consider having us create custom insoles just for you. You'll get much more comfort and cushioning with custom insoles, and they take just a few minutes to fit to your feet.
  • Can I return my running shoes if I don't like them?
  • Your satisfaction is our #1 priority and you deserve a perfect fit. That's why everyone can enjoy 60 days to return new and unused shoes for a full refund.
    Plus VIPs enjoy a 90-DAY VIP Test Run. During the first 90 days after the initial purchase date, VIP Members may exchange worn footwear for credit towards footwear of a different make, style, or size.

    Not yet a VIP Family Member? Click here for your complete Returns Policy.
 
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