When is the best time to buy a pair of running shoes? We recommend that you shop for your running or hiking shoes at the end of the day. Why? Because your feet tend to be a little more swollen, and this is similar to how your feet will feel when you are running or hiking. When choosing a pair of running shoes, style is important – but make sure they fit well. Typically, with running shoes and hiking shoes you will want to buy them one half size bigger than your regular size.
We have done some research and found that Consumer Reports purchased 205 pairs of shoes, enlisted a panel of runners and had them crank out a total of 1,240 miles. Here are the things to carefully consider when specifically buying a pair of running shoes and remember “whether a particular shoe is right for an individual depends on several considerations:
• Fit. Consumer Reports found that most of the shoes provided at least a good fit for most panelists, but there were exceptions. For example, while testing the top-rated men’s Nike Air Zoom Vomero+2, two panelists complained of pressure under the balls of their feet.
• Cushioning. Running can be hard on feet and joints. Shoes should provide enough cushioning to absorb impact. The men’s and women’s Nike Air Zooms provided excellent cushioning in Consumer Report’s tests.
• Stability. A stable shoe controls motion in the ankle. Among the men’s models, all but the Champion earned a Very Good score for stability. But only half of the women’s models performed as well as the men’s counterparts.
• Flexibility. The front of the shoe should flex enough to let the runner push off with the ball of the foot. The men’s and women’s Puma and women’s Avia were the most flexible; the men’s Asics and Nike Air Pegasus, the stiffest.
• Breathability. Shoes that dissipate sweat quickly keep feet cooler and reduce the risk of bacterial or fungal infection.
• Weight. The lighter the shoe, the better — as long as cushioning and stability don’t suffer.
Consumer Reports offers the following tips for choosing a running shoe:
• Analyze gait. The shoes Consumer Reports tested are for runners who don’t require corrective measures. But manufacturers also offer models for special needs — for example, for people who pronate (roll inward) excessively or not enough. Bring in well-worn running shoes when shopping — their wear pattern may help a salesperson analyze a runner’s gait, which could lead to a better-fitting running shoe.
• Get expert advice. Consumers will probably pay more at an athletic footwear store than they would at a discount store, but they’re more likely to find a seasoned salesman who can help them get the best shoe for their needs.
• Take a test run. Buying shoes without trying them out is like buying a car without test-driving it. Shoppers should ask if they can buy the shoes, jog briefly on a treadmill at home or at a gym, and return them if they don’t feel right.”
Thanks to our friends, the editors and testers at Consumer Reports.