How to Buy Shoes.  People always ask me what shoes they should buy.  What they should ask is how should I go about buying shoes?  

  • Go to a reputable running shoe store.  
  • Take your old shoes with you.  Knowledgeable sales people will start with your feet and your old shoes, seeing how you wear your shoes and what kind of feet you have, in addition to knowing how you plan to use your shoes, they will be able to recommend certain shoes for you to try on.
  • Good sales people will also bring you a number of pairs of shoes until you find a pair that’s right for you.  Make sure they bring shoes of different brands, like Socony, New Balance, Adidas and Asics, in addition to various models within the brands.
  • Lace the shoes up so they are snug, but not tight.  Take your time.
  • Ask the sales person to make sure you have enough toe room.  You should have at least a quarter of an inch of space between your longest toe and the front of the shoe.  
  • If the right and left shoes both feel comfortable when you stand in them (nothing can be binding, pinching or squeezing), take a short jog in them outside the store.  All you need is about a 50-yard jog to tell if the shoe is smooth and comfortable to run in or whether it feels clunky and uncomfortable.  
  • When you bring the shoes back into the store, decide whether you have keepers or losers. Don’t buy anything that immediately causes a twinge of pain.  Put the losers aside and keep the keepers to compare with other keepers.  Take the best of the keepers.
  • Your first run after you get home should not be longer than thirty minutes.  If the shoes aren’t hurting you at that point, you probably have a pair that will work.  If not, wash the bottoms off with detergent and bring them back immediately with your receipt and the box they came in.  If you’re lucky the store might let you exchange them, for a better pair.  

A new shoe is as good as it will ever be the first time you take it out for a run.  Once it starts to compress, it may feel broken in and comfortable, but it’s really less capable of protecting you from injury.  Remember, wear and compression cause injury.