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Articles > How to buy running shoes

The huge number of running shoes available can make choosing the best shoes a rather daunting task for the novice as well as for the more experienced runners. The following tips will simplify the process of finding you the pair of running shoes that you need.

Firstly, not all shoes are equal. Some are made simply to look good, while others will give you enjoyable, comfortable and injury free running. If you are to use your shoes for running, then it is very important that you buy a pair of shoes designed specifically for this purpose. Running shoes are made specifically for running and the unique needs of runners. Shoes for aerobics, cross-training or basketball may seem comfortable or not all that different from running shoes, but choosing a shoe not fit for your needs can set you up for injury.

If you are new to the world of running, do not buy your running shoes at a supermarket, on the internet or even at a general "sportswear" shop. The place to go to is your local running shoe store. The reason for this is that they have a great selection of quality running shoes, and just as important for the novice, they have a lot of experience and can therefore give you advice and answer the questions you might have. Once you know what shoe suit you best, then and only then should you look for bargains elsewhere. But the only place for the novice runner to buy shoes is a running shoe shop.

Once you have found a brand and a model that works for you, you can buy other pairs online, or elsewhere, for less. But remember that you should only buy exactly the same shoe in exactly the same size from the web or mail order. The reason is of course that you cannot try them on.

Start your search by visiting the local running shoe stores for assistance. If you are confused about some features of a particular shoe, do not hesitate to ask the shop assistant for additional information. A good shoe store can answer your questions, provide advice, and help you choosing the running shoe that is right for you and your needs. If the shop assistant can't answer your questions or don't have the shoe you need, go to the next store.

Try before you buy. Once you're in the running shoe shop and the shop assistant have fished out three or four pairs of the type that are right for you and your running style, then it's up to you. The thing you are looking for is how comfortable they are and whether or not your feet move around in the shoe. Generally you want to go up at least a half size from your regular shoe size. This is because feet tend to swell during exercise. Also, when trying on running shoes, try them on with the type of socks you would wear when running. The thickness of your socks can have a dramatic impact on fit.

Finally, don't forget to replace them. The average pair of running shoes should last between 300-500 miles depending on your running style, your weight, and the running surface. Lighter runners get closer to the upper end of the interval while heavier runners are harder on shoes. An important thing to have in mind is that shoes wear down gradually, and it might be difficult to recognise whether it's time for a new pair of shoes without a reference point. Therefore it might be a good idea to buy a second pair of running shoes when you have done about 200 miles or so in the old pair. With a second, newer pair of shoes to compare with, you should be able to feel the difference in cushioning when one pair wears out. Remember to wear the new shoes in; don't go straight out into a long run with them.