Posted by: rundadrun | January 18, 2010

Getting started: Shoes!

One of the best things about running is that is pretty cheap and easy to get started.  There is very little in the way of “specialty equipment” that you need to buy to start enjoying the benefits of this great sport.  However, shoes are not the area where you want to scrimp and save. One of the quickest ways to end your new found running career is to just run out the door in what ever shoes you have handy.  One running shoe is not the same as the rest, and you can actually hurt yourself by just blindly grabbing that old pair of worn out sneakers that  have been hiding in the back of the closet. Running shoes generally come in 3 varieties. Stability, Motion Control and Neutral Cushioning. Buy the wrong one, and you WILL have problems down the road.  So, please allow me to give you some hard learned advice on getting the right shoes.

Your first stop should be  a specialty running store. If you  are lucky enough to have a Fleet Feet in your local area, this is a great place to start.  But what you want to avoid for this first pair of running shoes is just going to Wal-Mart or Target and grabbing a pair that looks good and feels okay and start logging miles in them.  The folks at running stores have a wealth of knowledge in helping you find the right pair of shoes for your foot’s specific needs.  The first time I went to Fleet Feet in Cincinnati, I spent over an hour getting my stride analyzed and trying on multiple pairs of shoes.  Since Fleet Feet has a great return policy, it is in their best interests to get your fit correct.  But when I left the store, I knew that I had a very neutral stride and needed a cushioning shoe. I had a large selection of shoes that fit that bill and I found the pair that was just right.

I cannot tell you what an improvement this was over my first pair of “running shoes” that I bought at Target. They looked good (at the time, my biggest concern), and they felt good in the store.  They even felt okay the first time I went out in them. and they were CHEAP! But within a couple of weeks, I had developed a nasty case of shin splints and was ready to quit. I cannot stress enough how important a proper fitting by a qualified expert is.

Now comes the hard part.  This is not a cheap pair of shoes you are going to be buying.  They will cost you around $100(average).  Now that you have had a second to calm down your breathing, please know that you now know what you need, and you can save by using the internet or other discount possibilities on your next pair. There are lots of discount shoe sites, Ebay included, that are good resources for the budget minded runner. But you need to know what your feet need first. That being said, I still spend a good amount of money at my local Fleet Feet store, because I am a firm believer in rewarding GREAT service.

From time to time, I get my feet re-evaluated. This is because feet change, especially as we get older, as I know I continue to do. 🙂

So, get to know your local running store. This is also a great resource to keep in touch with the local running community through the running groups that they offer.  I could spend hours looking at all the great products they have specifically for runners. You can also keep up with all the local races that are generally posted in the store.

Your feet will thank you, and I know you will enjoy your new running habit all the more.

Happy running,




  1. I can’t believe what a difference good shoes made. Don’t think that just because they are a known brand that they will be what you need. Go in and get fitted. My Nikes from Fleet Feet are worlds better than my J.C. Penny Nikes I bought because I liked how they look – no offence to Pennys. I hate the color of my running shoes – but they sure feel good. To reverse what Billy Crystal used to say – To feel good is better than to look good. But anyway . . . shin splints are gone!

    • Thanks for the comment stranger who I have no relation to. 🙂 Whoever took you to be fitted for those shoes sure is a smart brother..I mean unrelated person. 🙂

  2. Are there any brands of running shoes that come in widths that you know of? Ryan wears a 9 1/2 EEEE and his running shoes are about 10 years old… I keep trying to get him to replace them. He hasn’t run in quite a while but is talking about starting up again.

    • Hi Grahame,
      Yes, there are several brands that come in widths. New Balance is probably the one with the most choices. Nike, ASICS and Adidas also offer widths. There are several great running stores in Seattle. Seattle Running Co., Road Runner Sports and Super Jock and Jill (sorry for the silly name) are all real good. I would start out at Road Runner since they have great sales and a national catalog. Let me know when you get him ready to start and I can suggest some plans for him. Thanks for checking out the blog.

  3. I feel I should point out there is a growing body of research showing running in shoes leads to injuries in knees, ankles, hips, and shins. Google “running barefoot” and see what you think.

    • Hi Doug,
      There is a growing body of research on both sides of the barefoot issue. I am planning on devoting a page to just that here soon. It can get heated pretty quick as you know, but it is a great subject. There was actually a good article in February’s Runner’s World that addressed the pros and cons. Thanks for the input and I will be looking to you for some info when I do the article on this subject.

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