Choosing the right running shoe can be quite a difficult decision. Should I wear minimalist shoes, maximalist shoes, neutral shoes, stability shoes, motion control shoes? The choice is frankly overwhelming! I’m here to give you my opinion on the best way to find the right shoe:
1. Comfort is key. I know for me personally, I am less likely to wear something if it’s not comfortable, no matter how brightly-colored or sparkly it may be. Here’s a nice scholarly article proposing a new paradigm shift for choosing running shoes based on comfort: Mythbusting and a Proposal for Two New Paradigms: ‘Preferred Movement Path’ and ‘Comfort Filter’
2. Find a shoe with a wide enough toe box. I follow what Jay Dicharry writes in his book Anatomy for Runners on this principle. If your toes do not have room to splay in your shoe, you reduce the amount of stability your foot can provide you during the stance phase of running (when your foot is actually in contact with the ground). How do you know if your toes have enough room to splay? Perform this simple test: take out the inner (insole) and stand on it. If your toes exceed the width of the inner, then the toe box is not wide enough.
3. Mix it up! The human body is very good at adapting so by mixing up your running shoes you force your body to adapt to different footwear. It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing philosophy. I’ve found that while I love wearing minimalist shoes throughout the day, I still prefer to wear a neutral shoe with more cushion when I run.