1. Buy running specific shoes. While this may seem obvious, many people end up with “cross trainers,” walking shoes or sneakers instead.
2. Make a commitment to spend at least a half hour at the store. Buying the right pair of running shoes is important and you shouldn’t rush through the process or settle for a shoe which won’t work. Take your time. Relax. Check out the shoe wall. Browse through the clothing racks. Look at the race entry forms and see if there are any training classes you might be interested in joining. After getting comfortable in the store, seek out a sales person. If you are a beginner who knows next-to-nothing about what shoes you need, tell the sales person. Contrary to popular belief, a good sales clerk loves working with beginners.
3. Bring socks and dress to run. Socks have a variety of thickness, bring a pair that you run in or will run in, as this will affect sizing. The store should have you do a quick run in shoes after you initially try them on, so dress to do a quick 2min run.
4. Have both feet measured for width and length. Have this done even if you think you know your shoe size. As we age, feet tend to spread and lengthen so chances are your shoe size might be a half to a full size larger than you think. Also sizes tend to vary one half to a full size from brand to brand.
5. Bring old Shoes. If you have a pair of shoes that you run in, please bring them to the store. Most good salespeople can learn a lot from your worn-out, old shoes. Also, if you wear orthotics, bring them with you to the store and place them in any new pair of shoes you try on (under the cushioning).
6. Answer questions honestly. The salesperson is going to ask quite a few questions. They will probably ask how long you have been running for, how many miles a week you run, if you have nagging injuries, what type of shoes do you run in now and what your goals might be. Answering openly and honestly will help determine which is the best shoe for you. A good salesperson will not try to confuse or intimidate you with techno-lingo. If you do not understand something, or the value of a shoe technology ask for an explanation.
7. Buy quality. One of the reasons for visiting a specialty store is that you will have access to higher quality running shoes. Good shoes tend to start around $80 and as you add more support or control to the shoes they can run to $120. You can certainly pay less but the cheaper shoes (less than $60) are less durable, supportive and protective. Another words, you get what you pay for. You want all the comfort, cushioning and safety features you can get to best enjoy your running. And if you are a beginner, don’t assume the cheaper shoes are the way to go. Beginning runners will need just as good a shoe as a veteran. Once you know a particular shoe fits and feels great you can buy them online at a substantial discount when the newer version comes out.
8. Fit. Fit is King or Queen as it may be in your case. The most expensive, coolest or most high-tech shoes will be useless and potentially damaging if they do not fit your feet well. Try on a variety of styles and brands and make sure you get at least a short run either in the store on a treadmill or outside in before you buy. You want your running shoes to fit snug (without being too tight) and allow for some room between the longest toe and the end of the shoe. In general, there should be one-third of an inch of room. Your feet and toes should not feel crammed in or you shouldn’t notice any tightness. The heel fit is also very important. The heel should not slip at all or come out of the shoe. If a shoe isn’t wide enough, ask whether that model comes in a wider or narrower width. Try on every pair you are considering. Lace them up, walk around the store, jog around, and jump up and down. If any one particular area of the shoe doesn’t seem to fit right, don’t buy that pair
9. Narrow your choices. After you have tried on every pair, jogged, jumped, and moved around try to narrow your selection to two different models. Ask the salesperson for a comparison of the two and let them know of any differences in fit, cushioning, stability and comfort you feel. Ask the salesperson’s opinion. Ask what differences there are between the two shoes. Don’t necessarily go with the more expensive or well-known brand. Go with the pair that you feel will work for you the best.
10. Return policy. Many stores will even allow you to return the shoes if they have no visible wear. Do 1-2 shorter test runs in the shoes on a smooth dry surface. Make sure you keep your receipt, and work with the store to find a different shoe if need be.
11. If you want to know more about what sort of shoe you may need visit the from Shoe Advisor from Brooks while specific to Brooks, this website is great for general advice as well and the terms will translate to other brands.
12. Post Purchase. Only wear these shoes for running. Do not do weight workup to you. In the end you want to buy the best fitting shoes. Your shoes will probably last 200-400miles.