How to choose your running shoe for 2023

The question almost every runner has asked over the years is “What running shoe should is right for me?” The importance of what shoe we run in and what features it offers has become a major focus of the running community. With the high rate of injury in runners, we try to focus on things that will reduce or prevent injuries and keep us on our feet and putting in the training miles. However, what has been marketed as important, ground breaking and innovative in the running shoe world has yet to translate into significant injury prevention.

What we do know in the running shoe research is that the most simple starting point for shoe selection in a runner is comfort. Yes, with all the technology and developments in the shoe construction world it still largely comes down to comfort. The point being, the bits and pieces of how the shoe is constructed make a difference but we can’t judge what shoe is the best for you solely by looking at your foot structure or even by watching you walk or run.

Your foot and ankle have a natural motion and as you experience the features of each brand and style of shoe you will find one that supports your foot well. For some, a minimalist shoe will feel freeing and light and perfect for their foot. For others, a maximalist shoe will have just the right cushioning in the right places. The beautiful thing about all the options in your local running store is there will most likely be a “perfect” fit for you. Try multiple brands and styles to see what feels right and then, after a few runs, you will know what shoe is right for you.

Are there situations where it matters more or should be a more technical conversation? Yes, especially if you have a history of previous running related injuries or a current injury. Some shoes, based on their features, can provide a shift in load or “stress” to other areas of the body which could help you avoid re-injury or allow an area to heal while you continue to run. Also there may be situations where, for your training load and mileage you should be cycling between two pairs of shoes. For situations like these find a trusted resource to guide your selection. Don’t get swept up in the running shoe marketing mess, focus on comfort and, if needed, contact a professional (like your friendly local physical therapist) for some added guidance in the shoe selection journey.

How to choose the best running shoes