Cushioning and durability should be fairly self-explanatory, but you’ll also need a brief understanding of the heel counter, which is the composition of the heel section of the shoe from floor to shoe top. Knowing the term ‘heel drop’ might also help: that’s the difference between the highest and lowest parts of the shoe, between the heel and the lowest part of the toe section. The jury is out on whether it’s better to have a stiff, more supportive heel counter or a malleable one that moves with your stride, but it may help you to know that a high heel drop of 10mm or more provides support for those with high arches, while drops as low as 4mm are more of a lightweight option for those lucky people among you without arch problems.
What’s the difference between road running shoes and trail running shoes?
“Trail shoes have been specifically designed for running off-road where there is more traction, stability and foot protection required from tree roots, stones and mud”, explains Dan Prettejohn, Brand Manager at Pro:Direct Running.
“There are a vast array of trail shoes that are built to tackle deep muddy bogs, dry hard packed trails or loose rocky mountain terrain. Typically, we see deeper lugs on the sole of the shoe, a wider shoe base to prevent you rolling your foot or ankle, and often more of a consideration to log distance and comfort over pure lightweight speed. Often the materials will be tweaked to make sure a shoe can drain water and mud, or prevent it from entering the shoe altogether, with technologies like GORE-TEX.”
When should I buy new running shoes?
“As a general rule we’d say to replace your running shoes every 300-500 miles or 3-6 months”, Prettejohn continues.
“This can vary for each person, but it serves as a good guideline for shoes designed for everyday road running. Some shoes are capable of getting closer to 600+ miles, but this can depend on rubber coverage on the sole, midsole durability, strength of the upper, your personal running style, weight, location and the conditions you have run in. We advise that you rotate a few different pairs so that you notice when a shoe looks and feels like it’s past its peak.”
Can I wear running shoes for the gym?
“Most running shoes are designed to move forwards, not side to side or up and down, therefore not needing the stability of someone lifting weights or doing a HIIT workout”, Prettejohn states.
“We’d always recommend that if there is a purpose-built shoe for an activity, you are likely to get a better result and avoid injury. However, on a practical level, this is not always possible or necessary if you are doing a much lighter workout or potentially running a shorter distance. There are several shoes that come close to fitting the needs of both, depending on the level of gym intensity, distance, or speed you like to run and frequency of exercise.”
Which brand produces the best running shoes?
“The range of running shoes available these days can make picking a leading brand difficult. Many running shoe companies tend to be popular for a specific type of shoe, whether that’s cushioned options for comfort or performance shoes built to deliver PBs over different race distances”, says Tom Wheatley from YouTube channel The Run Testers.
“For the latter, Nike has been the most popular in recent years, with the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 ticking a lot of boxes for everything from 5k to the marathon, and the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% excelling for the half marathon and above.
More recently, Saucony and ASICS have both seen growing success for elite athletes and general runners, with shoes like the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 and ASICS Metaspeed Sky + delivering performance benefits that compete with Nike’s offerings.
For cushioned shoes, choosing a leading brand is more complicated, but Brooks and Saucony offer some of the best options out there with the Brooks Glycerin 20 and the Saucony Triumph 20 both offering a high level of comfort over many miles of training.”
What are the springiest running shoes?
“Despite the first version being released in 2019, the crown for springiest running shoes out there today still goes to the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2”, Wheatley continues.
“The combination of a full-length carbon plate with an impressively light and propulsive ZoomX foam produces an experience that’s full of energy. The PEBAX midsole foam has been used in many of Nike’s shoes over the years with competitors struggling to produce a similar feel.
With the release of foams such as Saucony’s PWRRUNPB and ASICS FF Blast Turbo, the battle is getting close, but Nike still takes the win for an unbeatable level of bounce when focussing on PBs.”
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