How to Buy Running Shoes Without Getting Overwhelmed

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | running tips

Apr 07

Do you enjoy shopping for new running shoes?

Running shoes and I seem to have a love/hate relationship.  I love them for the first day/week/month, and then I start to have problems.  I’ve already written a lot about my running shoe woes:  The Asics GT 2000’s that I thought I loved, but then brought on plantar fasciitis pain, and the Brooks Ghost 5’s that I settled with wearing, but never enjoyed.

I have to admit that a lot of my running problems started in my head.  Everyone calls me a head case!  BUT the past few months wearing the Ghosts have left me feeling very uncomfortable and lacking support in the ankles.  A couple of Fridays ago I decided to go to Philly Runner and do something about it, so I thought I’d share my process on how to buy running shoes!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

how to buy running shoesThe Shopping Process

First off – when you shop for running shoes, you need to go to a REAL running store, ideally for runners, by runners.  Here’s my quick guide on a successful in-store running shoe shopping experience:

Know Your Budget

At this point, it’s a fact of life that running shoes are expensive.  But don’t buy a $170 pair of shoes when you can get a great shoe for $120, unless you’ve got money to burn!

Tell the Salesperson Your Running History

What is your running experience level?  What kind of shoes have you worn in the past?  What distances do you run?  Have you had any injuries?  Don’t leave anything out to ensure that you get the right kind of shoes that you need.

Let Them Watch You Walk

The salesperson should be able to tell whether you overpronate or supinate, whether you have high arches or are flat-footed.  This also helps them determine what kind of shoes they bring out for you to try, such as stability shoes, neutral shoes, minimalist, or motion-control shoes.  Also, if they say something that conflicts with what you know, you can easily spot a red flag.

Try On Lots and Lots of Pairs


Based on watching you, you should be given several pairs of shoes based on the type of shoe right for your foot. Prior to getting the Asics (that I ended up returning), I tried on countless pairs.  It may seem ridiculous, but it’s important.  You may have an idea of what you want but don’t pigeon-hole yourself to a certain brand or even a particular color.

Run Around the Store

I think it’s great when you can practice on a treadmill in the store and see how it feels, but just jogging in the store for awhile (longer than 2 seconds) accomplishes the same thing:  Weeding out bad shoes!

Try a Different Shoe On Each Foot, Then Switch

Getting down to 2 pairs is always the hardest part for me.  I like to try all the variations just to make sure!

Avoid Add-on Accessories Whenever Possible

I mentioned my past plantar fasciitis issues and they tried to sell me a compression sock.  I tried it, and it was nice, but it’s not really necessary.  I did buy the Carbon Superfeet Insoles because support is a major concern for me.

Make a Decision to Buy if YOU Are Ready

Don’t feel obligated to buy, even if you found the right pair.  Don’t let the salesperson pressure you!  I knew if I didn’t buy then, I’d keep complaining and never do it, so I went for it!  You can always come back later.

Take the Shoes Back If They Don’t Work for You

Most running stores allow for this within the first 30 days and will give you store credit to exchange for a better pair.  I’ve had to do this twice, and there’s no shame in it!

You may also like:  Running 101: How to Build a Support System As a New Runner

If the Shoes Do Work, Consider Buying Your Next Pair Online

Sadly I’m not at this point yet, but if you find the shoes that are perfect in every way, you can find great running shoe membership sites and buy them online at a cheaper cost!  This is especially great for high mileage runners!

Results So Far

I’d like to introduce you to my new “babies”:  The Adidas Women’s Supernova Glide 6!   After going through the whole process above, these are what I ended up with.  I was actually stuck between these and some Brooks Women’s Glycerin 11’s that felt pretty great too, but these were cheaper so that sealed the choice for me!

My latest kicks!

I have had two runs in my Adidas and both went pretty well!  I was a little uneasy during my first run because it was on a treadmill after work, and I did shop for my shoes early in the day.  Fortunately, there weren’t any issues with my shoes being too tight.

I’m looking forward to really getting comfortable with the shoes.  By the way, I forgot to mention I’ve got another 5K coming up this month!  I’ll talk more about that next week…so stay tuned!My first “long” run was on Saturday, and it went great!  For once I wasn’t worried about my feet at all.  I felt a good spring in my step.  I think that the Carbon insoles are making me feel better, but I do wonder if using insoles defeats the purpose of the amazing technology of the shoes…

New to running? Learn how to buy running shoes in 10 steps! Click To Tweet

Last Week’s Workouts:

Somehow it’s already April…I swear, this year is flying by way too fast!  I really wanted to post more last week, but there aren’t enough hours in the day!  Thanks to all the kind words about my performance on the Stair Climb.  I can’t believe it was just a little over a week ago!

Monday 3/31:  3.30 miles on the treadmill.  I spent most of the time at a 9:50 pace, and while it was challenging, it was a great run!  I wore my new running shoes for the first time!  I also did my hip strengthening exercises and had a nice long foam roll when I got home.

Tuesday 4/1:  Two games of kickball!!  It’s the most exciting that I’ve done in quite some time, if that isn’t sad!  We joined one of the sports leagues with a couple of friends.  I was nervous, but the team is great!  We won both games, and I was part of my first Grand Slam 🙂

Wednesday 4/2:  Core and More Class.  She worked us pretty hard..lots of side kicks!

Thursday 4/3:  Power Yoga at Focus Barre and Yoga.  The instructor, Bevin, was amazing!  This was my first packed class for hot yoga…and it was SO hot! We did a lot of twisting moves.  Such a challenge, but I felt really good! And it’s not a fluke…I really can do the crow pose!

Friday 4/4:  Rest.  My shoulders were so sore from yoga!  Not to mention those quads!!

Saturday 4/5:  Ran 4.52 miles with my Running Club.  There were 5 of us out there, and it was definitely the best run I’ve had all year.  It was so great to run, talk, and not worry about anything.

Sunday 4/6:  Yoga for Beginners Class #3.  We learned more poses and got more comfortable with vinyasa.  After class my instructor said I have “a beautiful practice” and that I’m “very focused”…probably one of the most amazing compliments ever!  I am really loving yoga!

How were your workouts this past week?  When did you realize you found your perfect pair of running shoes?  

(18) comments

Add Your Reply