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  • Walking - Casual use ($45 - 80)
  • Running - Extra cushioning, support and durability. ($100-$130)
    Trail Runners -
      Rough terrain - Thicker soles, Deep treads, heavier.
      Trail shoes - usually have a wide and low profile so the foot is closer to the ground for more stability on irregular surfaces.
      See: Important Trail Running Shoe Features
  • Cross-trainers - Compromise between walking and tennis or other court shoes.
  • Sport Specific -
    Basketball ($60-$140)
    Tennis ($75-$120)

Running Shoes:

Running-specific shoes didn't really appear in the U.S. until the mid-1960s.
Technology has continued to evolve by beefing up cushioning, giving more stability and adding pronation control.

60% of a shoe's shock absorption is lost after 250-500 miles of use. Other factors like your running style, body weight, and the surface on which you run will affect the shoes life. So if you run 10 miles per week you should get a new pair at least every 6 months.
A shoe's midsole cushioning may be worn out long before the tread shows signs of wear.

Midsole material:
EVA - ethylene vinyl acetate
PU - polyurethane - tougher, heavier
Asics - EVA + gel
Nike  - PU + air
TPU - thermoplastic polyurethane - Adias Energy Boost
Note: More manufacturers are going to proprietary
      foams like Adias in place of EVA.
 A dual density midsole will have a firmer material
 in the back and/or inside. Typically a combination of
 EVA and PU.
 The uppers are usually stitched/glued to a piece
 that is glued to the bottom and
 the removable insole is inside the shoe.
 See "More than you wanted to know about midsoles"
 at Running shoe guide for Dummies Part II

Analyze your feet, ankles, legs and gait:
You need to know about your anatomy and running motion (gait) to pick the best shoes.
See feet under health to determine whether your feet over pronate (roll inward excessively) or underpronate (supinate).

  • Motion-control shoes are better for moderate to severe over pronators, they have extra support on the medial (arch) side of their shoes.
    These have stiffer midsoles. The pronation provides some natural cushioning.
    You may be able to replace your insoles with third party insoles/orthotics to provide medial support.
    See feet under health.
    Google search
  • Stability shoes are better for normal pronators and moderate overpronators. These shoes have some medial support and good midsole cushioning. Because normal or medium arches are the most common foot type, most runners will need Stability shoes.
  • Cushioning (normal) shoes are better for normal pronation and underpronators (high arch). These shoes do not have medial supports but are more concerned with midsole cushioning.
    Normal pronation (rotation of up to 15%) provides some natural cushioning, underpronators need more cushioning to compensate.
    Google Search
Note: Sometimes stability and motion-control are used synonymously.

Last: This is the basic shape of the shoe. Running shoes have one of three basic lasts: straight, curved, and semi-curved.

  • Straight: Heavier and provides more support under the arch.
  • Curved: Lighter and less supportive.
  • Semi-Curved: A hybrid of the two others and is capable of providing support under the arch.
  • Slip lasting: the upper materials of the shoe (the part that fits over the top of your foot) are pulled over the last and glued or stitched directly to the midsole.
  • Board lasting: The upper is attached to the bottom of a flexible board atop the midsole.
  • Partial or combination lasting uses the board method in the heel and the slip method in the forefoot.

Best Running Shoe Type depending on your gait, leg type, and degree of motion.

See feet under health.
Normal Bow Legs Knock
Soft Midsole no yes yes no yes yes no yes yes
Firm Midsole yes no yes yes no yes yes no yes
yes no no yes no no yes no no
yes no no yes no no yes no no
Slip-Lasted no yes yes no yes yes no yes yes
yes no yes yes no yes yes no yes
yes no yes yes no yes yes no yes
no yes yes no yes yes no yes yes
Heel Counter
yes yes no yes yes no yes yes no
Source: "Running Injury Free" Joe Ellis revised 2013
Note: The table in the book had another 3 columns titled Motion, which was exactly the same as pronation. The text made no distinction between motion and pronation either.
Last: I looked at a bunch of shoes at my local running store almost all were slip lasted. Only 1 out of 10 was combination lasted.

Offset - Heel-Toe Drop:
The interest in Minimalist Running has brought with it shoes designed with less difference between padding under the heel and toe. Typically the heel is about 12-14 mm higher than the toe. Heel-Toe drop/offset/differential as defined by Brooks Running is "the difference between (midsole + outsole) heel height and (midsole + outsole) forefoot height"

Source: Saucony - Geometry of Strong

The importance of the HT drop value is that it's thought that the lower it is, the easier it will be to land on your midfoot or forefoot while running.
Many studies in recent years have suggested that a significantly raised heel is one of the culprits to many common running injuries, partially because they tend to encourage heavier heel striking, higher impact forces and greater rotational forces (overpronation).

Minimalist shoes typically have a 4-10mm heel-toe drop and zero-drop shoes are generally those that fall in the 0-4mm range.
Sources: Heel-Toe Drop or Offset: What Does it Mean in a Running Shoe? | RunBlogger.com
Zero-Drop Shoes | Running Times

Minimalist Shoes:
In the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia ran in his bare feet and won the Olympic gold medal in a world-record 2:15:16.2.
Most people forgot about it until Christopher McDougall's 2009 best-seller "Born to Run" focusing on an Indian tribe in Mexico whose members run long distances without pain in little more than sandals. The book is widely credited with sparking the barefoot running trend in the Western world.
There were a lot of injuries the number of converts has leveled off of declined.
If you want to try minimalist most people recommend you move gradually, starting with a transitional shoe with less heel to toe drop.

Minimalist shoes cover a broad range from light weight glove like things and running sandals to more traditional shoes (transitional shoes) with just less offset (see above).
The Brooks PureFlow 3 and Brooks PureConnect 2 have around a 6 mm drop from heel to forefoot.
See:Barefoot Running is Bad For You! - Xero Shoes

Choosing the right shoe:
Brooks, New Balance, Saucony, Asics, Adidas, Nike and Mizuno are popular brands.

Choosing Proper Footwear, Scott Sevinsky MSPT
How to Buy the Best Running Shoe for You | Women's Health Magazine
Shoe Dog: Running Shoes Guide, Shoes Finder, Picking Running Shoes at Road Runner Sports
Running shoe guide for Dummies Part I at Cool Running
Running Shoes: How to Choose
Key Insights On Recommending Running Shoes | Podiatry Today
Find the Right Running Shoe - DukeHealth.org
Best Shoe Choices for Walking or Running
Athletic shoe guide from Consumer Reports
Running Shoes Buyers Guide - Dick's Sporting Goods
Which Running Shoes at WhichRunningShoes.net

In an article at Running Shoe Malpractice | Trail Running and Ultra Marathons a guy, who had been running for 8 years, vented on the practice of running store associates with little knowledge of human anatomy or kinetics, who will recommend shoes to fix your problems. His example was a store that had some sophisticated equipment to analyze his gate and then recommend a shoe what was 1 1/2 sizes too large. He says,
"I think back to when I first started running. My legs and ass always hurt from running when I first started. As did my feet, knees, hips, etc... I didn't go to a running store for a form analysis!
I went to an athletic trainer who has a degree in the study of human kinetics. There is where I got my form analysis and the prescription was not a different pair of shoes or inserts.  It was exercise. It was working out in the gym to strengthen the many muscles I had neglected in my training, that in turn, cause poor running form. AMAZING! So I ask again.. how are running store associates getting away with this?!"

I'm a heavy heel striker, (but have a normal arch and pronation) and have to put shoe goo on my outside heel of my Brooks Glycerin's every two weeks.
I just got a pair of Saucony Ride 6s which have a 8 mm heel-toe offset (see above) to see if that helps. (Saucony says offset is 8 mm, Runner's World says it's 9.8 mm.)
The nike air pegasus 30 and LunarGlide 4 have more bevel in the outside heel which should help also.

RunnersWorld:   Running Shoe Reviews at Runners World

running shoes
Source: Running Times/Runners World, 2013
You would expect shoe with less cushioning to be more stable and vice-versa (i.e. in the bottom right or upper left in the chart below.) But that is not the case with minimalist shoes (see offset below).

Recommendations for women's road running shoes. Normal weight (120-150 lbs) and low mileage (under 25 miles/week) at Shoe Dog: Running Shoes Guide at Road Runner Sports
March 2014 - Shoes with a 4.5 - 5 star rating and new shoes.
Low Arch Medium Arch High Arch
10 most popular out of 52:
ASICS GT-2000 2 | Nike LunarGlide+ 5 | Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14 (EC) | ASICS GT-2000 2 Lite-Show | Nike Zoom Structure+ 17 Oregon Project | Nike Zoom Structure+ 16 | Saucony Guide 7 | Brooks Ravenna 5 | ASICS GT-1000 2 | New Balance 870v3 | Saucony Omni 12 (EC)
10 most popular out of 94:
Brooks Ghost 6 (EC) | ASICS GEL-Cumulus 16 (n) | Nike Flyknit Lunar2 (n) | Mizuno Wave Prophecy 3 | Saucony Ride 6 | adidas Supernova Glide 6 Boost | Nike Zoom Elite+ 6 | Newton Running Lady Isaac | Nike Air Pegasus+ 30 Shield | Saucony Ride 6 ViZiGLO
same as Medium Arch
Straight Same as Under-pronator Same as Under-pronator Low Arch Same as Under-Pronator Medium Arch
Only 3 listed
Brooks Addiction 10 (15 reviews 4.1 stars),
Saucony Stabil CS3 (1 review 4 stars),
Brooks Addiction 11 (1 review 5 stars)
Same as Under-pronator Low Arch Same as Under-pronator Low Arch
(n) - New - No Rating
(EC) - Runner's World Editors Choice
6-Nike, 4-Asics & Saucony, 3-Brooks, 1- Adidas, New Balance, Mizuno & Newton

  Editor's Choice (2013):
  Adidas Supernova Glide 6 - Spring 2014:
  Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14 - Winter 2013:
  Brooks Glycerin ($130) 2010
New Balance 760 for durable but soft cushioning if you have excessive heal wear.
  (replaced by the 860)
Reviews at SoleReview.com

Best Athletic Shoe Buying Guide – Consumer Reports

Adidas Supernova Glide 2 for supinators.
Asics Gel-Kayano (a stability shoe) for overpronators.

See printable version of this list.
Runner's World 2016 Fall Shoe Guide
Shoes that have good heel cushioning and are flexible
Shoe Price Cushioning Stiffness1 Weight Drop notes
Forefoot Heel
Nike lunarepic flyknit $175 74 58 16 17 7.8
Saucony zealot ISO 2 $130 94 87 26 49 6.7
Brooks glycerin 14 $150 94 92 43 75 11
Saucony Ride 9 $120 93 87 93 45 8.8
Hoka One One Clayton $150 90 81 37 21 6.4 Editors choice
Brooks Ghost 9 $120 64 92 96 71 11.4 Best Buy
Saucony Triumph ISO 2 $150 94 90 96 70 9.3 Best in Consumer Research
1. Flexible vs Stiff - According to the American Academy of Podiatry, a running shoe should be flexible in the last third of the shoe (the toe end); there should be resistance in flexing the middle third. A shoe that is very stiff will alter running mechanics and could cause problems with push-off, leading to calf and Achilles tendon problems.-- Dr. Cathy Fieseler
Trail-running shoes tend to be stiffer because of the rock protection plates between the midsole and outsole.

Recommended budget ($50-$60) shoes at Running Shoes Guru
Saucony Cohesion 8s and the New Balance 490s

Best Running Shoes | ConsumeRsearch.com 2013
Saucony Triumph ISO 2 - Best shoe
New Balance Vazee Pace v2 - Best lightweight
Nike LunarGlide 8 - Best for flat feet
Brooks Ghost 9 - Best for high arches.

Foot Locker has ratings, but most have a 4.5+ rating.

A specialized running store is better than someplace like foot-locker. A good store will analyze your gate by watching you run or with a machine and provide custom advice on fit.
Run (foot-locker's running store) had tread mills with video cameras which can take slow motion video of your gate.
Specialty Running Stores at RunnersWorld.
Road Runner Sports
Running Sneakers & Shoes, Men's | Zappos.com

Men Basketball Shoes Reviews @ Buzzillions.com
Basketball shoe reviews - Google Search

Other Links:
Foot problems (pronation explained)
My Thoughts Regarding Trailrunning Shoes
Running Shoes Wear on Outside? " RunSmart Online
Mysteries of the Running Shoe Revealed | coolrunning.com
When to Replace Running Shoes

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last updated 13 Oct 2016