To paraphrase one of my favorite memes, of course you don’t need running shoes to run — but it definitely helps. That’s because these special kicks are designed specifically for the repetitive, high-impact forward motion that can cause injury over time if you’re not careful. In fact, many experienced runners will tell you that before you even think about running, you should make sure you buy the right shoes.
But what exactly is the “right” shoe for you? Over the years, there’s been plenty of debate about how to choose a running shoe. It used to be recommended that you get a gait analysis, and a shoe that offered support tailored to whether you overpronate or you have flat feet.
These days, however, there’s been a slight backing away from this thinking. It’s still a good idea to go to a running store and chat with a pro, for sure. But a study published last summer in the British Journal of Sports Medicine made waves among runners by suggesting that all you really need to focus on when trying on new shoes is how comfortable they feel. After looking through decades of conflicting studies on the link between footwear and injuries, the researchers concluded that “a runner intuitively selects a comfortable product using their own comfort filter that allows them to remain in the preferred movement path. This may automatically reduce the injury risk.”
Translation: Finding the right shoes might not be the seemingly complex decision we once thought, and the only really important move is probably just listening to your body when you're trying shoes on.
This is freeing in a way since it takes away some of the pressure and opens up your options a bit. Because apparel companies are constantly dreaming up new improvements, we’ll be collecting the latest and greatest in running shoes here every week, just so you know what’s out there. Click ahead and happy hunting!