Buying the right pair of running shoes can make or break your running experience. Since your shoes are what make initial contact with the surface you are running on — providing the support, cushioning, and durability you need to help you get through your runs — taking the time to find just the right pair is extremely important. Nowadays, the endless variety of shoe options can leave us overwhelmed, which is why it's necessary to cut out the fluff and get straight down to business. And when I say "fluff," I mean the following five things you shouldn't be concerned with when shopping for running shoes.
- Color: "Color schmulor," says the girl who got asked by her boot-camp instructor why she chose to wear those particular shoes — shoes that provide zero support and hurt her feet. Her explanation? "Because I wanted a black pair, so I just ordered them online without knowing anything about them." (The trainer shakes his head and rolls his eyes.) Take this as a lesson, folks. Color really is schmulor. Having a shoe the fits perfectly and is designed for your running style should be your first and foremost concern. If the color speaks to you as well, double win!
Find out what else you should ignore.
- Price: I'm not suggesting that you go spend $300 on running shoes, but don't let the price tag be the sole determining factor in your shoe shopping quest. Being flexible with your shoe budget will allow you to try a variety of brands and styles that you otherwise would have steered away from. For this reason, it's best to go to a running specialty store, so you can try on a ton of pairs. Touch them, feel them, and work with an expert who can help you find just the right pair.
- Brand: You may feel married to a certain brand of running shoes, and that's OK. But what I do suggest is going to a running store and having the sales associate suggest shoes after you tell her how often you run, where you run, if you're a pronator, etc. Try your best not to pay attention to what brand of shoe it is and just focus on how it feels. I broke up with my favorite shoe brand this year when I decided to try something new. Trust me, it's worth it to step out of your shoe-brand comfort box.
- Style: Style can be tricky, because it's so hard not to be inundated with ads of the latest and greatest flashy running shoes — and who doesn't like having the latest trainers? But looks fade, and so do fads, so get something that's tried, tested, and true — and right for you. I learned the hard way with my black running shoes. They may look good, but I can barely wear them — even for walking — ouch!
- Celebrity Affiliation: I love a good celebrity endorsement like the next gal, but just because your celebrity crush is wearing a certain brand or style of shoes, doesn't mean you're going to have any luck with them. Here's a little endorsement secret for you: Celebrities get paid megabucks by big companies to wear, endorse, and promote products. Even if they did truly, madly, deeply love the shoes they are affiliated with, chances are, they might not be a perfect match for you.