Running 101: How to Pick Out the Perfect Running Shoe

Posted December 15, 2020 by in Health + Fitness

Finding the best-fitting shoe is about more than just fashion, but getting the right shoe from all the choices at your local running store isn’t always easy. You need to make sure that you leave the store with shoes that fit your foot properly, and that feels comfortable when you run. 

Before you choose a new pair of running shoes, you should make sure you understand the details of the shoes if they’re going to protect your feet for hundreds of miles. The right shoes, alongside a supplement like Glucosamine Chondroitin, can protect your joints from injury. 

It’s helpful to understand what each part of the running shoe does, and how this can change your running experience. Here are the main parts you need to understand:

Upper

This is everything above the sole. The upper is normally made from layers of fabric and mesh that are sewn and glued together. Sometimes the upper is knitted and printed in order to create a one-piece upper that will stretch and support where you need it. 

Look for an upper that is shaped like your foot. It should be smooth where it meets the foot to avoid chafing.  

Ankle Collar

This is the wrap at the top of the shoe opening that holds your heel in place as you run. Some shoes use thick padding for the collar, whereas others rely on the shape to secure the foot. 

Check whether your heels slip in the shoe when you run. Make sure the collar doesn’t rub on or irritate your Achilles tendon or the bones in your ankle.  

Heel Counter

This is a semi-rigid cup layered inside the rearfoot that supports your heel. In some shoes, the cup is outside the shoe, whereas some modern, more minimalist running shoes don’t use a heel counter at all so the foot can move more freely. Heel counters don’t provide any motion control, but they do centre the heel, giving you a more stable landing and more support. 

Saddle

This is the reinforced area around the instep, which is the arch of your foot between the ball and the ankle. The saddle works with the shoe’s laces to hold the shoe onto your foot. There are a variety of designs of overlays, eyelets, and lacing systems that will hold the saddle closely to your foot, whatever the shape.

How does the saddle fit and hold your foot?. It should feel secure on the foot, with no slippage while letting the arch naturally dome with each stride. 

Toebox

This is all of the upper from the front of the eyelets to the end of the shoe. The toebox is sometimes capped with a reinforced toe bumper that will keep the fabric away from your toes and protect them from being stubbed. This is especially useful in trail shoes. 

Look for a toebox that keeps out of your way, and allows your foot to naturally flex and spread in both width and length, without rubbing on your toes or restricting their movement.