Learn How to Choose a Good Pair of Running Shoes – RunSociety

Learn How to Choose a Good Pair of Running Shoes  RunSociety

Finding the right running shoes at a shoe shop is not always easy. To ensure you buy the right one, make sure it fits you perfectly and comfortably from heel to toe.

So, if you are a new runner, it may be tricky to find out which type of running shoes suits you the most. First, you have to know which type of running shoes you are looking for.

So, whether you are buying your first pair of running shoes for a marathon training or specifically looking for a pair of good women running shoes, we are pleased to speak to three runners who share their advice on what to buy and what to look for when buying a pair of running shoes.

1. Jeremy Lee

Bio: Singaporean, 49-years-old, Regional Director

Runner: Jeremy Lee

Jeremy is an avid runner, who enjoys running marathons and ultra-marathons on both roads and trails, local and overseas for almost 10 years. He transformed his lifestyle from a couch potato into a runner, wanting to lead a healthier lifestyle. 

He started from 5k to 10k half marathon to full marathon and before he knew it, he’d become addicted to long distance running and ran up to 100k, 100 miles and 200k, finishing Ultra races in top positions.

Now a seasoned runner, he runs up to 80k a week and does cross-training as well. Over the years, he has developed a strong interest in coaching, nutrition and exploring running shoes, as a continuous drive to improve fitness and performance.

RS: How often do you buy your running shoes, and how many of them do you own?

Jeremy: I buy running shoes whenever there is a newly launched pair of running shoes, focusing on the shoes that use new technology or a new design that improves performance.

I also replace my shoes that are worn out easily from my regular daily runs.  I have about ten pairs of road and trail shoes, as well as for track, tempo, workouts and races.  

RS: : Which is your favourite pair of running shoes, and would you recommend them to others?

Jeremy: My favourite pair to-date is the Nike Vaporfly Next%. It’s a perfect race day shoe. It’s light, nimble and designed to improve performance.  It makes you run faster, gives better energy return from its Zoom X foam in the forefoot to its midsole that acts like a spring. 

The midsole is compressed when a runner lands, storing the energy from that foot strike and expanding again to return that stored energy into the ground to push the shoe forward. With its built-in carbon-fibre plate, it propels you forward to push your pace in every single step. It just keeps you running forward.

However, I would only recommend this to seasoned runners and especially on race day, as it will help excel your performance or achieve your personal best.

For a daily trainer, I use either the Nike ZoomFly series or Pegasus Turbo2, as both are lightweight, speedy and durable for everyday use.

RS: Have you ever had any regrets over purchasing a pair of running shoes in the past? Which pair is it and why?

Jeremy: I would say more of a preference rather than regres. Given that I love exploring and experiencing new tech and design on shoes, I tried out the first version of the Nike React Infinity Run. It was positioned to be a recovery and injury-free shoe that has great stability, is well-cushioned and durable.

However, I felt the shoe was a tad bit too chunky for me and the poor heel lockdown was causing heel slippage (feeling loose), plus the forefoot area was a bit too broad for my liking. Just one of the many experiences I had.

RS: What are the best running shoes for a beginner to try?

Jeremy: I don’t think there is a single best running shoes for beginners, as every runner is different in their feet type, feet conditions and shoe fit.

In my experience, New Balance shoes are generally great for beginners, as they fit easily and have great stability, plus they have varying shoe width, especially for broad foot runners.

For example, New Balance Fresh Foam 880 or the more premium 1080 is versatile, lightweight, well-cushioned and flexible. It’s probably a safe running shoe for most beginners to try. 

The other exciting and popular beginner shoe (and even seasoned runners) is from Nike. I have tried the Nike Pegasus 37 (and soon Pegasus 38).  It’s comfort and straightforward fit, low-profile and neutral ride makes it a popular choice.

It’s great for runners who like a minimal look, nimble and yet well-cushioned for a great running experience. It’s affordable and also very durable, long-lasting and can last for up to 800km.

RS: From your experience, what are the things to note when buying a good pair of running shoes?

Jeremy: : A good pair of shoes is only as good as it fits your needs, your comfort and brings you enjoyment in your running journey. Below are some tips to remember when you are buying a good pair of shoes for yourself.

  • Don’t buy because of how it looks or the colour you like. Shoe fit is more important.
  • Don’t assume your usual shoe size is the same size as your running shoe. Always try it out, especially if it’s your first time buying a specific brand and mode. Different brands of running shoes have varying differences in shoe sizes. This is something to note when you are buying running shoes online. Make sure you have a chance to try it out at the retail store before you get it online so you know the exact size to get.
  • Don’t buy shoes that are too small (or just nice).  A general guideline would be to get a half-inch bigger, about a thumb size from your toes when you are trying on the shoe. Remember, your feet do move, and your toes need some space to wiggle around. Over long runs, this can cause bruises to your toenails.
  • Don’t buy shoes that are too narrow for you, as your feet will feel crushed when you are running, plus your feet will expand in width and will start to hurt as you increase your running distance. Snug is fine but not tight.
  • Be comfortable with the upper material or mesh of the shoe to ensure your feet is not rubbing against anything that might cause blisters or chafing.
  • When buying shoes, bring your favourite socks or inserts along so you can compare your current fit with your new shoe.

A general note, you must feel good when you first try out your shoe and ensure it fits properly from heel to toe, and how you would stride (where you land and lift off) in your run. It’s good to jog around in the store or try them out on a treadmill (if any).

Some things to look out for are the heel locked (no slippage) as well in the shoe (meaning your feet are lifted up from your shoe when you jog). Check your toe box to make sure it allows you to flex and spread out with comfort (snug but not tight).

Is the midsole and heel cushioning too soft or too firm for you when you are running? Your shoes land on your midsole or your heel and how it rolls back into your stride should feel right and natural for you.

Some folks need stability features to keep their foot from excessive motion, mainly over-pronation or rolling inward. Such runners would look out for the “stability” category shoes that allow your foot to move comfortably and naturally through the stride.

To start your running journey, start with the right pair of shoes, and it’s important to go to the right place to get that pair of running shoes.

Instead of visiting big department stores, visit specialty running shoe stores from Nike, New Balance, adidas and many others, who have the dedicated expertise and consultation to help find the right shoe that fits you and your running needs. 

You can follow Jeremy on Instagram: @jeremy.leeks

2. Raquel Tan

Bio: Singaporean, 35-years-old, Marketing Manager

Runner: Raquel Tan

Raquel never understood running and always preferred team sports. Then one evening, she bumped into a university mate who was going for a run around her office area, and he invited her to join the Running Department for their Wednesday runs.

TLDR, she joined and started running casually, then got into pacing SCSM, Army Half Marathons and started racing herself. Now, she is also an adidas Runners Singapore crew, and she hopes to grow old with running.

Running has been unexpectedly humbling and enriching. It has brought her the euphoria of satisfying runs and depression of being grounded while injured.

The greatest gift, however, is the many amazing and talented people whom she has the honour of calling her friends.

RS: How often do you buy your running shoes, and how many of them do you own?

Raquel: I had a very bad case of plantar two years back, so now I retire a pair of shoes when I’ve clocked more than 800km in it. That’s approximately once in three to four months, depending on how much I run. I currently have four pairs of shoes, two of them I’m wearing on rotation and two pairs on standby.

RS: Which is your favourite pair of running shoes, and would you recommend them to others?

Raquel: That depends on the person’s run and running habits! Road racing and trail have different needs. A person’s running habits and feet type are critical factors, too.

Personally, I’ve been wearing adidas UltraBoost and adidas Adizero Adios for four years now. I use Ultraboost for my regular runs and Adizero Adios when I race (myself!).  UltraBoost is an all-rounded pair, providing support and stability. I find it quite reliable. I like Adizero Adios for its lighter weight.

The rising popularity of carbon-plated shoes’ has piqued my interest, so when I saw Nike ZoomFly 3 at a massive discount recently, I bought a pair to try. The sensation of slipping my feet into it and running the first 5km was really pleasurable.

It was really bouncy! I’ve clocked 65km in it; it’s still bouncy but less. Until I’ve tried more and raced in it, that’s all I can share about carbon-plated shoes for now. I would love to try the adidas Adizero Pro next!

RS: Have you ever had any regrets over purchasing a pair of running shoes in the past? Which pair is it, and why?

Raquel:  My first pair of Adizero Adios! That was due to my own ignorance. I got my usual size without knowing that the cut is slightly smaller. I now get it a size bigger, so all’s good!

RS: What are the best running shoes for a beginner to try?

Raquel: adidas UltraBoost! Reliable all-rounder! Not too narrow, not too high.

RS: From your experience, what are the things to note when buying a good pair of running shoes?

Raquel: Here are the things to note:

  • Feet type – Choose a pair of shoes that is comfortable for the arch, width, length.
  • Running habits – frequency, distance per run, type of run (race or regular run, tempo, road, trail, fartleks), running style to know whether you need more stability, support, cushion, and how light you want the shoe to be.
  • Cushioning – I think it’s always good to have some cushion to absorb the impact, and how much cushion depends on the type of run.
  • Soles – Get a pair with quality soles to prevent slipping on a rainy day.
  • Reviews and recommendations from friends who have similar running habits.

You can follow Raquel on Instagram: @t.raqx

3. Fong Han Ying

Bio: Singaporean, 34-years-old, Banking Executive 

Runner: Fong Han Ying

In 2017, Han Ying started to run for her maiden full marathon. In 2018, she then went for group running with her running family “Running Department.” 2019 was the most memorable year of her running journey, where she had the opportunity to learn more about running and pace half marathons for 2XU Compression Run and 18.45km for Straits Times Run.

Besides her first love “Running Department,” she also enjoys group running with her running families, Garmin My Run, Superhero Runners, Yellow Fish Strides, Sstar.fitness, adidas Runners, The High Panters, and X-Trailblazers.

RS: How often do you buy your running shoes, and how many of them do you own?

Han Ying: I buy running shoes a few times a year, especially during sales seasons. Sales are a good time to stock up on my favourite shoe models or try new shoe models.

As runners, we probably have more shoes than we dare to admit. I have at least seven models on rotation (Saucony Kinvara and Perigrine, Nike Zoom Fly and Infinity React, adidas Ultraboost, Reebok FloatRide and ASICS Kayanos), some of which I have different colours, different series, or half sizes difference.

RS: Which is your favourite pair of running shoes, and would you recommend it to others?

Han Ying: My favourite pair is definitely Saucony Kinvara 8 or 9. It is a sturdy all-rounder, cushiony yet sufficiently lightweight for that amount of cushion. I love using it for tempo runs and races.

It is also good for light trails (but not advisable as it would wear out the outsole very fast). It saw me through many PRs (I managed to get a PB in it for Skyhawk Nature Run in Melaka in 2020).  

RS: Do you have any regrets over purchasing a pair of running shoes in the past? Which pair is it, and why?

Han Ying: There are times where the colour attracted me to purchase the shoes without doing any research on it.

Initially, I regretted purchasing the Kayano because my shin would hurt whenever I wore it for tempo runs. I realised that it is meant more for flat feet, and thus, they did not suit me, as my feet type is high arch.

The silver lining is that while the shoes didn’t suit my feet type, I realised they were indeed very stable and sturdy for slopes training runs and HIIT

RS: What are the best running shoes for a beginner to try?

Han Ying: : I would definitely recommend my favourite pair Saucony Kinvara series 8 and onwards for beginners, as it is a neutral and sturdy all-rounder that can be used for speed work, tempo runs or full marathons. 

RS: From your experience, what are the things to note when buying a good pair of running shoes?

Han Ying: Comfort, cushioning and support are definitely of utmost importance. It is important to know your feet type and whether your feet tend to over pronate or not. It is also good to try on the shoes with socks for a trial run or on the treadmill in the store. 

You can follow Han Ying on Instagram: @7ene

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