Tips for New Runners – Shoes

This post is a part of my blog flash series, Tips for New Runners. It is based entirely on my own experiences as a new runner and may be missing a lot of information. This series is intended to help my readers find what works for them by sharing what worked or didn’t work for me.

Shoes.

Shoes are the foundation our running is built upon. Buying the right shoes for you is important, as is replacing them at the right time.

My Asics (right) got me through the marathon with the help of my Mizunos (left).

First, before I even got started on my running journey, a runner friend of mine encouraged me to buy shoes at the local running store and I’m really glad I did. The folks at my local running store, and probably yours too, are there to help. They understand the needs of runners better than folks at a regular shoe store. I was brand new and didn’t even know to buy my running shoes bigger than my walking shoes. Feet swell when you run so having shoes that can accommodate that is really important. Without the help I got at the store, I probably would have experienced a lot of pain and gotten very discouraged by it.

The same friend also advised me to keep track of the miles I put on my running shoes. I setup a spreadsheet in google docs where I can track each run. I can include any information I want, but the key elements are the miles on each set of shoes. (I also keep track of the total miles I’ve run, my time for each run and what run/walk split I used.) Running shoes don’t last indefinitely and their lifespans may be shortened or lengthened by how hard or easy you are on them, but a quick google of mileage recommendations on the web seems to indicate that 300 to 500 miles is the general expectation. Another thing to be mindful of is that you don’t want to go on a long run in brand new shoes, so don’t wait to buy your new pair until the old pair is worn out. The best thing to do is to buy your new pair well before your old pair needs to be retired and wear them for your shorter runs for a while before you run long in them. I bought my Mizunos in April but didn’t run more than 5 miles in them at a time until late June. That was probably a bit extreme, but I was really paranoid about hurting myself before the marathon, so I was extra careful.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while you’re training for a big race it’s probably best not to try out a whole new style of shoe. Specifically, be cautious about changes in the heel height of your shoes. One thing you can do is take your current shoes with you when you go to the shoe running store. The helpful sales folk can use them to make sure you get a similar enough shoe to keep you comfortable during your training without you having to be able to spout off all the stats about your shoes. If you are interested in trying a shoe that is much different from your current shoes, be extra cautious about not going out on a long run in them until you’ve gone on many short runs in them first.

There are so many shoes out there that I can’t even begin to point you in the direction of the right brand or style for you. There are so many things to take into consideration. Talk to the folks at your running store. Let them know what surfaces you run on and what distance you’re training for. If you have a pair of running shoes, take them in with you. Sometimes the sales folks can get an idea from your wear patterns that you might need to try a different shoe. Don’t wear your running shoes for walking. They’ll wear out faster that way, and the wear patterns will be different. And if you really want to try and figure out what shoes you want, on your own, maybe start with the Runner’s World Shoe Guide.

Saving money on your running shoes isn’t going to be the easiest thing to do, and they really are worth spending the money on. If you’re like me, and you’re running on a budget, try to hit the sales at the running store. I’ll talk more about saving money in later post.

Happy running!

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4 thoughts on “Tips for New Runners – Shoes

  1. Once you figure out which shoe is right for you at the running store, you can shop online for your next pair of the same brand and usually find them much cheaper. Also, it’s a good idea to have two pairs of running shoes and rotate them. This gives them a chance to air out, and supposedly if you wear a shoe with a lot of support it gives the soles a day to bounce back to their optimum cushioning.

    • Absolutely. Just watch for changes in the shoe model’s design. A friend of mine found shoes that he *loved* but just a few models later, they injured him because the company changed the model so much over time. I wish they wouldn’t do that!

  2. Pingback: The Beginner’s No-Fail Guide to Running « Frankly, my dear

  3. Pingback: New Shoes, A New Goal and a Difficult Run | Running Before I Walk

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