Author Topic: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?  (Read 1525 times)

Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« on: February 19, 2021, 08:42:39 am »
It's quite the problem in the current circumstances.  Shoes have to fit properly and feel right.  Even when you can go to a shop and try on a few pairs it is nigh on iimpossible to really know because an hour on the road tells you so much more than jogging up and down the shop a few times.

On top of that I have wider than average feet which makes shoe selection significantly limited.  Some brands are just narrow, some have a few models in wider fittings. 

I tend to be a neutral runner which is also an issue because there are neutral, pronation and supination shoes and shoes with various levels of drop between heel and toe.

Pre-covid I visited a shop in Brum.  They had perhaps four brands on the shelves and one, yes one pair of wide shoes which I came away with.  Fortunately that brand continues to offer a wide version and I have been buying their shoes ever since.  Problem is, I don't know if I am getting the most suitable shoes for my needs.

How do other runners choose their shoes?

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2021, 08:51:21 am »
Once I have found some I like I buy several pairs the following year once they are cheaper. I am down to my last unopened box of 2014s though.

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Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2021, 08:52:55 am »
Trial and error.

It is very much like learning about bike fit except that each lesson costs about £100. At the moment I'm just accepting this as an equipment set up cost. I enjoy running possibly more than cycling, and last year I spent £4.5k on a bike. A few pairs of shoes are neither here not there.

 This month's lesson was about heel drop, the discovery that it exists and that it may well matter hugely for me. Might have a barely used pair of Hokas up for sale soon.

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2021, 09:17:59 am »
Davef:  yes, I tend to do something similar.  Having a wide foot though I find results in rarity value and I can usually find the odd pair for at most 20% off.  The covid factor has resulted in rocking horse poo being more ready available than the particular shoes that I "like" though.  I say "like" because I really have no idea of what else would work for me.

In the good old days (the eighties and nineties) I could pop along to my local specialist running shop and spend a chatty, happy hour trying on more than a dozen pairs from all different brands.  Those shops seem to have disappeared in the main and the big retailers seem to have only two or three brands despite the fact that there are so many more brands out there now than there were way back when.

Flatus:  yeah, I made a mistake with a pair of Asics when I was trying to get back running three or four years back.  They were just too small across the toe box and I had to admit defeat with them..  I really felt that at the time because money was very very tight.    That hurt me a great deal.

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2021, 09:22:18 am »
Yes, there’s a high degree of trial and error. However, some useful pointers are:

- what little good public research exists suggests that comfort (when running) is the best indicator of whether they work for you. Less comfortable = more likelihood of injury

- cushioning is largely overrated, as in more or less is not usually critical. We adapt our stride to harder and softer shoes - go back to comfort as your deciding factor.

- heel to toe drop can matter - I’m largely a mid/forefoot striker and don’t like big traditional drop shoes. But everyone is different. Realistically, someone who has only walked around in ordinary shoes or run a bit in traffic shoes will load their Achilles more in low drop shoes and that can lead to injury. So a transition period may be necessary if you find you prefer low drop shoes. Google minimalist running to find stories of people with knackered Achilles’ tendons as a consequence of rushing at this:(

- you might be sensitive to shoes that have the wrong sort of ‘control’. Anecdote again, but I can’t run in ‘anti-pronation’ shoes with getting shin splint type pain in a few days. I think it’s because the wedges etc muck up my natural gait and put different loads through my lower leg. Easily solved for me by buying neutral shoes that I find comfy.


With all that said, it’s still a bit suck it and see I’m afraid.

Mike

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2021, 09:26:48 am »
Davef:  yes, I tend to do something similar.  Having a wide foot though I find results in rarity value and I can usually find the odd pair for at most 20% off.  The covid factor has resulted in rocking horse poo being more ready available than the particular shoes that I "like" though.  I say "like" because I really have no idea of what else would work for me.

In the good old days (the eighties and nineties) I could pop along to my local specialist running shop and spend a chatty, happy hour trying on more than a dozen pairs from all different brands.  Those shops seem to have disappeared in the main and the big retailers seem to have only two or three brands despite the fact that there are so many more brands out there now than there were way back when.

Flatus:  yeah, I made a mistake with a pair of Asics when I was trying to get back running three or four years back.  They were just too small across the toe box and I had to admit defeat with them..  I really felt that at the time because money was very very tight.    That hurt me a great deal.

I just sold two pairs of barely used running shoes on eBay as they were too narrow across the toe box. Both Hoka and alleged UK size 11. Both a bit small.

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2021, 09:32:17 am »
In the old times, going to a proper running shop and getting advice. Once you know if your form (e.g. front foot, heel strike), whether you have pronation and then foot size/shape (measured rather than the size shoe you've always had), it knocks about 75% of the range out. In a shop, you can knock that in half because half will be an instant 'no' as soon as you've done the laces up. Some shops will have a treadmill to try the shoes (or for gait analysis), some let you run them outside the shop a bit. I've bought from shops where you can bring them back having worn them for quite a long time. Personally I find that if I find them ok for a few hundred metres then even if they start to become uncomfortable at distance, they will wear in. I'd never buy a pair of shoes and expect to be able to run more than 5-8km on the first 10 outings.

At the moment, I've bought the exact same shoe as I previously had. Some models come in 'standard' and 'wide' fit - unfortunately some online retailers don't specify which one they have, so you can end up with the narrower version of the shoe that would fit in the wide fit.

Most brands that have width fittings will specify. Innov8 have fittings 1-5 (5 is widest) and state on their website which fit each model is. Some brands are known for being wide or narrow - for example, generally Salomon are a narrow fit, Altras are a wider fit. I know there's no point in looking at the Salomon range. I also need a zero drop shoe as I'm a front-foot runner (my footprints don't have heels at all). Knowing this massively narrows down what I'm looking at online. I also know a lot of other runners, so can get recommendations for what is a good shoe for people like me based on terrain. After that, it's a bit trial & error. My biggest problem is finding off-road shoes that a good fit and have good grip on multi-terrain. The terrain here is fairly extreme, simultaneously muddy and rocky, but with road sections between.

I find that I can get away with a wider range of off-road shoes than on-road shoes. I can break in most off-road shoes provided they generally fit - there's a lot more give. Road shoes, not so much. If they aren't right, I'll be heading toward injury.

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2021, 09:48:31 am »
Pre-covid I visited a shop in Brum.  They had perhaps four brands on the shelves and one, yes one pair of wide shoes which I came away with.  Fortunately that brand continues to offer a wide version and I have been buying their shoes ever since. 
What brand are you referring to?

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2021, 10:03:18 am »
Pre-covid I visited a shop in Brum.  They had perhaps four brands on the shelves and one, yes one pair of wide shoes which I came away with.  Fortunately that brand continues to offer a wide version and I have been buying their shoes ever since. 
What brand are you referring to?

Brooks.  I currently buy their 2E width fitting.  There are three shoes in their range which I currently use, these being the Ghost, Glycerin and Cascadia. The first two are neutral shoes and the latter a trail shoe.  They tend to come in limited colour options within the range too but that doesn't bother me except if they suddenly decide to go all pale and trendy on me.

It is quite difficult to find discounts on the 2E

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2021, 11:02:19 am »
Trial and error.

It is very much like learning about bike fit except that each lesson costs about £100. At the moment I'm just accepting this as an equipment set up cost. I enjoy running possibly more than cycling, and last year I spent £4.5k on a bike. A few pairs of shoes are neither here not there.

 This month's lesson was about heel drop, the discovery that it exists and that it may well matter hugely for me. Might have a barely used pair of Hokas up for sale soon.
If you are happy to spend some money ... https://profeet.co.uk/sports/3d-motion-lab/

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2021, 11:11:02 am »
Wide toe box (foot-shaped, not shoe-shaped - pointy shoes are the work of the devil :hand:) and zero-drop. I mainly use Altras.

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2021, 11:21:16 am »
If you buy from Hoka themselves they do a 30 day no quibble return even after running in them.  I thought I would get a pair of lighter road shoes for the winter when our fields are just too wet (damage to the field rather than to me).  I tried them on and they felt Ok, so I went out for a run. Got back after 10k and they had rubbed my heels raw over the achilles insertion.  I returned them and got a full refund.

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Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2021, 11:31:01 am »
Since the Hokas arrived I have been getting real stiffness in the Achilles insertion point after running. I've never had this before. But I have also been doing longer runs. I'm hoping it is the shoes rather than my body kacking out on me, especially because a nice pair of Nike Pegasus Trails have just arrived  :P   I'm off out to try them in a minute. This will go one of two ways

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2021, 12:04:02 pm »
Since the Hokas arrived I have been getting real stiffness in the Achilles insertion point after running. I've never had this before. But I have also been doing longer runs. I'm hoping it is the shoes rather than my body kacking out on me, especially because a nice pair of Nike Pegasus Trails have just arrived  :P   I'm off out to try them in a minute. This will go one of two ways

The bit in bold might be your problem. Are you doing longer runs than usual on a brand new pair of shoes? That's a recipe for disaster, especially if you've moved from high/moderate drop to low/zero drop shoes. The advice on moving to zero drop is always to reduce the distance for a little while to get your body used to the different positioning.

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Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2021, 12:27:36 pm »
The Hokas aren't zero drop, but they are 4mm drop, whereas my road shoes are (I think) 10mm. So a big change.

Regardless, I think you are probably correct and thankyou for the advice! The problems started with the new shoes, and being an inexperienced runner didn't even know heel drop was a thing. What is certain is that I can't continue doing longer runs in the Hokas or I will do lasting damage.

Annoyingly the new Nike shoes that have just arrived are wrongly labelled, so whilst the box and the tongue label both say 8.5 uk, the tongue also says US 11. Which means the shoes are actually 10.5 uk  ::-) More of a headache for the supplier than for me as they will now have to go through their entire stock.

I think I will try a shorter run in my Nike road shoes today and see what happens, then try a 10 miler in them on Sunday. If no issues then probably fair to say its the Hokas and not me. If not then I'll have to think again.

The weird thing about running in the Hokas is that when I start off (slowly) they aren't comfortable and I can feel them sort of stressing my feet, but when I'm warmed up fully and start running fast (with a different gait) they feel OK.


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Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2021, 12:37:42 pm »
Just had to look at my old ones to check.  They're Saucony 'run any where'*
Chosen because the tread pattern on the sole can keep you upright in anything! And let's face it, off-road it's never exactly bone dry – mostly. And most of what I do (when I can drag myself out) is off-road.

* yes, the text is laid out like that!
Certainly never seen cycling south of Sussex

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2021, 01:44:05 pm »
And so to what triggered my musings earlier.  A parcel has just arrived.  It is a pair of shoes in a later though not the current version of one of the pairs which I use at the moment.  I have been scouring the interwebs for similar at a discount but over the past few months there have been none.   20% off is good for these wide fitting shoes and even better, a pair of UK size 9's: so rare.

So, a quick check to ensure that they are fit for purpose and then into the wardrobe for when they are needed.

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2021, 01:58:21 pm »
https://profeet.co.uk/sports/3d-motion-lab/
London-based. :(  However, I do like the look of Altras, and their natural foot-shaping shoes.
There is a running shop a couple of miles away that sell the brand. Will visit it when lockdown
is over. :thumbsup:

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Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2021, 02:12:46 pm »
Just popped out for a 5k wearing my old road shoes.  Admittedly not 10k or 15k as per last 2 runs, but have come back with zero stiffness or discomfort in heels.

Looks like my feet don't like low heel drop.

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2021, 03:18:04 pm »
https://profeet.co.uk/sports/3d-motion-lab/
London-based. :(  However, I do like the look of Altras, and their natural foot-shaping shoes.
There is a running shop a couple of miles away that sell the brand. Will visit it when lockdown
is over. :thumbsup:
I went an analysis with profeet back in 2015 and thought they were good. I went through a a few months of wearing “barefoot” shoes when not running in order to strengthen my natural shock absorbing.

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2021, 05:46:08 pm »
https://profeet.co.uk/sports/3d-motion-lab/
London-based. :(  However, I do like the look of Altras, and their natural foot-shaping shoes.
There is a running shop a couple of miles away that sell the brand. Will visit it when lockdown
is over. :thumbsup:
I went an analysis with profeet back in 2015 and thought they were good. I went through a a few months of wearing “barefoot” shoes when not running in order to strengthen my natural shock absorbing.

One of the upsides of the last year is that I haven’t worn shoes since 3 March 2020 - I’ve worn running shoes and walking boots for outside, but have otherwise been actual barefoot:)

I admit to liking my Vibram Five Fingers too

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2021, 06:54:33 pm »
Except for the very cold days I have been wearing Oofos OOahh slides for the duration indoors.  I find them incredibly comfy whether barefoot or with thin woolen socks.  I got mine £20 off last March and they've been awesome.

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Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2021, 03:04:31 pm »
Well, sportshoes.com are taking their time to deal with this. Took them a day to email me saying that they can email me a prepaid label to return shoes...without actually sending me the prepaid lable I asked for.  So that will be a few more days. Then they tell me that if they ascertain that the shoes are wrongly sized they will send me a new pair.

Here are the photos I'd already sent them..

Their "8.5" shoes, next to my 8.5 shoes, and the label with clearly incorrect sizing.



gif it crowd

So basically, fuck sportshoes.com.

Not going to use them again. Just went direct with Nike and they gave me an unexpected 25% discount, so I got the goretex version which is £15 more, for £17 less than these ones.


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Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2021, 09:26:30 pm »
With EU size 48 I don't get much choice.  Having narrow feet doesn't help (A-width fitting).  There doesn't seem to be much demand for shoes to fit long narrow feet.  However, now my podiatrist makes recommendations, based on what will accommodate the damage done by 30 years or so of not-very well fitting shoes.  On the plus side, am back running again.

Cycling shoes are an equal nightmare.

Work shoes I gave up and had two pairs made to measure.
Eddington Numbers 125 (imperial), 175 (metric) 529 (furlongs)  112 (nautical miles)

Re: Running shoes: how do you choose yours?
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2021, 09:40:24 pm »
It sounds like I’ve been lucky with shoes so far. I’ve got high insteps, size 9 and run a bit of road to get to a trail.
First pair were from a shop with a treadmill.
Second from a not fancy shop that came recommended.
Both gave me about 4 pairs to try, and plenty of time to try each. Also I made sure I had a half hour walk to the shop, so my feet had already done that spreading thing.

When the shops reopen I must go and get a spare pair, so I’m not stuck later.