What Should I Look for in a Running Shoe

Good Content from: Team Saucony

If you’re in the market for a pair of running shoes, the options can get overwhelming. Do you need a neutral or stability shoe? One with plush cushioning or a firmer midsole? Something light and responsive or something durable that will keep you comfortable through long runs? All of these questions – and more – are important to keep in mind when choosing shoes.

At Saucony, we know that running for good starts with your shoes. Here, we’ll walk through what all runners should look for when choosing running shoes (and share some of our faves!) so you’ll be out logging miles in no time.

How do I choose new running shoes?

Choosing a new pair of running shoes is a big deal, since your footwear is responsible for protecting your feet through all of your miles (well, 400 of them at least). If you can, try running or walking around in a few different pairs of shoes at your local running store before you decide on your favorite.

Once you find a pair you like, make sure it meets these criteria:

  • Properly supportive: Most running shoes fall under the category of “neutral” or “stability” shoes, the latter of which is designed to help overpronation, or inward rolling of the ankle. If you do need a stability shoe, make sure the shoe still allows your foot to move naturally while providing gentle support.
  • Wiggle room: Because your feet swell when you run, you might need a larger size or width in running shoes, so your toes aren’t cramped or rubbing.
  • Secure heel: Your heel should feel snug and supported but not restricted by the shoe. If your heel is slipping, you might need a size smaller.
  • Comfortable: Remember, how the shoe feels in the store will be much different than how it feels at the end of a run. Make sure to pick a shoe that feels cushioned to your liking and springy as you walk around.

How to size running shoes

Buying the wrong size in running shoes is a recipe for black toenails – or even injury – so it’s important to select the right one. A well-fitting shoe should allow the toes to stretch, spread, and wiggle around in the toe box while keeping the heel and midfoot snug.

For the most accurate sizing, head to your local running store and have an expert measure the length and width of your feet. You can also check your size by pressing a thumb on the upper toe of your shoe; there should be a thumbnail’s worth of space between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe.

How to choose running shoes for beginners

If you’re starting to run for the first time, welcome to the club! One good run will lead lead to another. Beginning a training program is exciting and challenging, and your running shoes are a major tool to get you to your goals. Since beginner runners can be prone to injury, they should be careful about choosing running shoes that fit properly with the right amount of cushioning and support.

If you’re a beginner runner and don’t know exactly what you’re looking for in a shoe, you can start by telling us about yourself via our Shoe Advisor tool, which will help match you with the perfect pair based on your running goals and feel preferences.

Best Saucony shoes

Whether you’re running short, long, fast, or steady mileage, we have a shoe that’ll go the distance for you. To help you get started choosing your pair, here are a few of our favorite shoes for all types of runners:

  • Freedom 3: For runners who like pillow-soft comfort and a minimal heel-to-toe drop
  • Triumph 17: For runners who want extra-plush cushioning for comfortable long runs
  • Kinvara 11: For runners who crave a firm, responsive shoe for speed days and races
  • Guide 13: For runners looking for responsive cushioning with gentle support
  • Liberty ISO 2: For runners who prefer a springy shoe with a touch of stability

Be picky about your pair

When you’re picking running shoes, always remember that comfort is key. Take the time to find the right size, fit, and cushioning for you—your feet will thank you!