If you're new to running, whether as a hobby or competitively, there are a few things you should know about when buying your first pair of running shoes. As a whole, running doesn't include a lot of equipment, but don't underestimate the importance of proper footwear. If it's too loose around your ankles, too tight, or lacks proper arch support you're liable to injure yourself.
The first thing to check in a shoe is cushioning. As a new runner you probably are not going to be used to the impact that running can have on your feet, ankles, and legs. Dr. Gray from Heeluxe recommends checking the heel of the shoe with a two finger test. If the padding on the shoe is thicker than two finger-widths, it is properly cushioned.
Another tip Dr. Gray has for new runners is to make sure that the shoe is roomy. Running can cause the feet to swell, from both heat and pressure, to almost half a size larger! That's why it's important to make sure that you're feet fit comfortably into the shoe, but has enough extra space to accommodate the swelling.
Arch support, while common knowledge, should also be a concern for runners when buying a shoe. The best way to test for arch support is to try the shoe on. It should feel natural and contour to your foots natural shape. Anything that bothers you in the store is going to bother you even more when you start to use them regularly.
The shoe should also bend at the flex points, the toe and heel of the shoe. You can test this by pressing the toe of the shoe into the ground. If it flexes differently than your foot, too much, or too little, it can lead to major issues later on.
Avoid buying a shoe just for its looks. A properly fitting shoe is worth more than a couple of style points. You should also be prepared to invest in a shoe. A cheap shoe won't support your foot the same way a more quality shoe will. It's worth the extra investment to help prevent injuries and they will last you longer as well.
Speaking of running shoes longevity, it's important to know when to stop wearing a pair of shoes. Though there are many factors that go into this such as shoe type, quality, and usage, Dr. Gray gives us a good rule of thumb. He recommends that you buy a new pair every 300 miles or every 4 months.
Remember, running can be a rewarding sport so make your runs as enjoyable as possible by purchasing the proper footwear!