The right running shoe for you

The Active Times

(Photo: Brooks)

(Photo: Brooks)

More than ever before, the marketplace offers a shoe for every runner. From barefoot to beefed-up varieties, running footwear runs the gamut. But there can be too much of a good thing, particularly when you're at your local running store, standing in front of a towering shoe wall and hemming and hawing over what shoe is right for you.

To narrow down your options, you need to equip yourself with some solid intel. Once you know the shoe categories and where your foot fits, shopping will be easier and you’ll run better in the shoes you choose.

A smart salesperson will take into account your injury history and running goals to help you make a choice. But going to the store armed with a basic understanding of the shoes, you’ll be able to better communicate exactly what you’re looking for and what might work best for your training. Your running shoe education begins here.


This category offers a well-cushioned shoe without any medial posting or extra arch support. This is a hot category for runners with fairly high arches. Since a higher arch usually means a rigid foot, a stiff shoe isn’t necessary.

Brooks Ghost 5 (at top)

This award-winning neutral trainer from Brooks gets it just right. The right amount of cushion, a cozy fit and all-terrain versatility without giving you too much shoe. They're fairly lightweight (11.3 oz.) given their durable, sturdy (not stiff!) build. Expect to get a lot of miles out of these. $110.

Mizuno Wave Precision 13

View photo


(Photo: Mizuno)

The neutral Precision is a traditional trainer, with a lot of underfoot cushioning and a fairly high heel-to-toe drop. But it's lighter than most of its neutral counterparts (at 9.6 oz.) and encourages good form while providing everyday, all-purpose utility. The upper is roomy enough for wide and tall feet, but lacing options allow it to snug in for lower-volume feet, too. Consider this a go-to training shoe. $110


(Photo: Brooks)

(Photo: Brooks)

The stability category is where the majority of runners tend to migrate. Stability shoes offer ample cushioning, but also added arch support. If you have flatter feet—which are more flexible, causing them to roll inward, or overpronate—the medial posting helps control excessive foot motion by supporting the arch and eliminating inward torque. It’s a great solution for runners with chronic knee pain associated with overpronation.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13

The GTS—or "go-to shoe"—is the most popular shoe in Brooks' lineup, and for good reason. This classic stability shoe features a medial post that's firmer toward the shoe's inside edge, helping reduce the foot's inward roll. Yet for all the extra stability it offers to overpronators, the Adrenaline remains pretty light (11.3 oz.) and flexible, thanks to the addition of deep grooves in the midsole foam. This is a solid daily trainer. $110

Saucony ProGrid Guide 6
(Photo: Saucony)

(Photo: Saucony)

Saucony's flagship shoe is also one of its lightest, at only 10 oz. After a major overhaul last season, this year's Guide is only slightly updated, increasing flexibility in what's always been a warrior of a stability trainer. As always, this classic provides a good balance of mild stability and lightness while providing adequate cushioning for plenty of miles. $110;

Motion Control

(Photo: Mizuno)

(Photo: Mizuno)

A dwindling category, motion control shoes are the heaviest of the bunch. These shoes are also the stiffest shoes around, specifically made to offer supreme support to runners with extremely flat feet and weak ankles. With a growing movement towards lighter weight shoes, though, there are fewer and fewer motion control options every year. Even still, a small number of runners will find this to be the best shoe to keep them up and running.

Mizuno Wave Alchemy 12

The Alchemy is a lightweight control shoe with a flat midsole, high support and wider base that delivers the smooth run and uncompromising structure required by severe overpronators. Plastic plates protect feet from inward rolling, and durable carbon rubber helps keep the whole package light and extremely firm. In short, this protective trainer is the solution to your problem feet, though it may require some breaking in. $115

Brooks Trance 12
(Photo: Brooks)

(Photo: Brooks)

The more control and stability you require, the heavier your shoe will generally have to be, and for good reason. It takes a lot of cushioning, and a lot of smart technology to provide adequate support to severe overpronators without significantly slowing them down. The Trance has all the design work of the Batmobile, including Brooks' proprietary Caterpillar Crash Pad to smooth heel-to-toe transition and DNA Technology gel cushioning that responds to the amount of force placed on the foot, providing custom support. If that's not enough to keep your stride in line, you're probably out of luck.


For the most part, trail runners are heavier than road shoes, and are designed to support and protect the foot on rugged terrain—roots, rocks, mud and other obstacles. They tend to have durable soles fortified to protect against these uneven surfaces and aggressive treads for better off-road traction.
(Photo: Asics)

(Photo: Asics)

Of course, some road shoes will do just fine on fire roads and tamer trails, but when the going gets rough, you'll be happy to have trail shoes.

Asics GEL FujiRacer

This fast and light (8.8 oz.) trail racer is pretty much an Asics road shoe upper with a tough sole. It sports burly, x-shaped lugs on the tread for better grip on the trails, as well as a plastic plate beneath the outsole for protection against sharp sticks and rocks. Diamond-shaped "drain holes" extend from the footbed all the way through to the outsole, allowing water to be quickly and effectively pushed out of the shoe when you're splashing through streams or wet, slushy snow. $110

Brooks Cascadia 8
(Photo: Brooks)

(Photo: Brooks)

This traditional trail runner offers a good mix of cushioning, fit and agility on the trails, which comes at the cost of a little weight (11.9 oz). The woven microfiber uppers keep out grit while shedding water, a rock protector in the forefoot keeps sharp sticks and uneven rocks at bay, and the tread is burly and grippy. In short, the Cascadia will take on any terrain you can throw at it—rugged technical, mud, rocks, roots, you name it—with ease and aplomb. Looking for something similar, but with a touch less bulk? Try the 10-ounce Brooks PureGrit 2. $120

Click here to see more types of running shoes

More from The Active Times

Six Worthless Exercises You Probably Do

The World’s Best Bike Cities

10 of the World’s Most Luxurious Gym Amenities

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Trump’s campaign manager got called out at the final debate and it was probably the best part

      As if this election season wasn’t already ~messy~ enough, there’s even more messiness to behold. By now, you probably know that Trump’s campaign manager,…

      Hello Giggles
    • Girl Reportedly Died Taking an"Extreme Selfie"

      She allegedly sent the selfie to a friend right before falling.

    • 'I'm the victim,' Iowa teacher who had sex with student says on 'Dr. Phil'

      DES MOINES — A substitute teacher accused of having sex with a 17-year-old high school student in Cedar Rapids claims the student seduced her. Mary Beth Haglin was charged in July with sexual exploitation by a teacher. On Monday, she appeared on Dr. Phil, accusing the student of seducing her and sharing sexy photos with his friends. “Many people see him as the victim and me as the perpetrator. From a psychological standpoint and from every other standpoint, I feel like I am the victim,” Haglin said on the Dr. Phil show, citing the student's intelligence and “elevated vocabulary” as part of the seduction. Haglin pleaded not guilty to sexual exploitation by a school employee. Her trial is set to

      USA Today q
    • Whoa: Has the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle just been solved?

      Stop and take a seat because the gravity of this news will probably pull you down anyway. According to The Science Channel,…

      Hello Giggles
    • Woman Carrying Skull on Stick Leads Police to Human Remains

      Police in Sacramento say human remains were discovered after officers confronted a transient woman seen carrying a skull on a stick Wednesday.

    • Secret Nazi military base discovered on Arctic island

      A secret Nazi military base abandoned more than 70 years ago was recently rediscovered by Russian scientists, The Independent reported. The base, located in the Arctic island of Alexandra Land, served as a "tactical weather station" for the Nazis during World War II, when knowledge of the weather was vital to determining when to move troops, equipment, and ships. Because of the base's name — "Schatzgraber" or "Treasure Hunter" — some also think it was used for "the pursuit of ancient relics," The Independent reported. The base is believed to have been built in 1942, the year after Adolf Hitler invaded Russia. However, the Nazis stationed there were forced to abandon the post in 1944 after they

      The Week q
    • Cowboys restructure contract of RT Doug Free, create extra cap room

      Staying busy during their bye week, the Dallas Cowboys have restructured the contract of 32-year old RT Doug Free to free up additional cap room. With the approaching trade deadline, the move could signal a pending transaction, or could just be the team tidying up a bit. Free had originally signed a three-year, $15 million deal restructure before the 2015 season. He was making $4 million in base salary this season and counted towards $5.5 million against the cap before the restructure. As per the Field Yates tweet, his new cap charge will be $4.5 million, with two million of his remaining base salary being converted into a bonus. Free has long-been a steady fixture of the Cowboys offensive line.

      Cowboys Wire q
    • EXCLUSIVE: Shania Twain Stuns at CMT Artists of the Year Event, Reveals How She Stays in Incredible Shape

      Shania Twain SLAYS in Nashville, and gets real with ET about her diet.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • U.S. warship challenges China's claims in South China Sea

      By Idrees Ali and Matt Spetalnick WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Friday, drawing a warning from Chinese warships to leave the area. The U.S. action was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, U.S. officials said. The Chinese Defense Ministry called the move "illegal" and "provocative," saying that two Chinese warships had warned the U.S. destroyer to leave.

    • 10 of Your Favorite HGTV Stars Reveal How They Were Discovered (11 photos)

      Ever wonder how all those now-famous realtors, designers, and renovators found themselves on TV? We asked some of HGTV's biggest stars how they got their start. From Country Living

      Country Living
    • Donald Trump has a small lead in 3 national polls

      Donald Trump found himself ahead in three national polls Friday morning. The Republican...

      Business Insider
    • Man died 'horror-movie' death from flesh-eating bacteria

      OCEAN CITY, Md. — On Sept. 11, Michael Funk was cleaning crab pots at his bayside condominium; four days later he was dead, the victim of flesh-eating bacteria. For Marcia Funk, his wife of 46 years, his death is compounded by what she called a lack of information here about the bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus. "I really feel they kept it quiet because it's a tourist resort," Marcia Funk said. "It's like something out of a horror movie." The bacteria, along with about a dozen others that are related, occurs naturally in areas of warm, brackish waters with low salinity. Most of the 80,000 people who become ill across the USA each year consume raw or under-cooked seafood, according to the Centers for

      USA Today q
    • Amy Schumer’s Instagram post about the debate is the most accurate thing we’ve ever seen

      If it’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that Amy Schumer is a comedic angel sent from the heavens above. Girlfriend…

      Hello Giggles
    • Chrissy Teigen makes her Twitter account private after being accused of holding baby Luna wrong

      Chrissy Teigen is seemingly annoyed with "mummy shamers". Grammy winner John Legend's wife made her Twitter account private after she was accused of holding her baby girl, Luna, incorrectly.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Zombie-proof rides: The top 11 vehicles to get you through the zombie apocalypse

      From hardcore off-roaders to weaponized people-carriers, there are a lot of notable rides out there that are apt for the zombie apocalypse. That's why we’ve compiled a list of our favorite vehicles to get you through the end of the world.

      Digital Trends
    • Dallas Cowboys Rookies Spend Nearly $55,000 On Dinner At Nick & Sam’s

      At some point in the season, the Dallas Cowboys’ newest players are hazed in a particularly expensive way — buying dinner for their undoubtedly hungry teammates. At this year’s “rookie dinner,” newcomers like quarterback Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott racked up a beyond massive bill at a Dallas steakhouse. A photo of a receipt detailing $50,341.65 in pricey steaks, shrimp cocktail, and caviar from Nick & Sam’s was reportedly posted to defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford’s Snapchat account on October 19, and was later posted to Twitter by a Cowboys fan site.

      Eater Dallas q
    • Las Vegas Dining 101: A Guide for Eating and Drinking in Sin City

      Between the 41 million tourists who visit Las Vegas every year and the nearly 2 million residents in the greater Las Vegas metropolitan area, they all have one thing in common — they get hungry.

      Eater Vegas q
    • Kourtney Kardashian awkwardly 'blanks' TV hosts who ask about Kim

      Kourtney Kardashian had an awkward on-air moment Thursday morning when hosts of an Australian morning program asked how her sister Kim Kardashian is holding up after her robbery ordeal.   The questions was met with bizarre silence, while the reality TV star sat staring off camera, presumably listening to the panicked advice of her publicists.  SEE ALSO: Khloe Kardashian DGAF about Donald Trump calling her a 'piglet' Making matters worse, the connection was dropped. When producers got Kardashian back on the line post-ad break, she explained "we had a bad connection."   "I think she's totally blanking me on that question," said David Campbell, co-host of Today Extra , adding, "She could just say her sister is fine! I mean I think we just said that you know we're very concerned and we were onside and we hoped that everyone's fine, which I still do." According to The Herald Sun , Kourtney insisted that she be re-connected to the show’s host in order to address the question. Once connected, she discussed how the Kardashian klan was feeling after her sister was held at gunpoint during the Paris robbery.  "I think we're all really still shaken up and I just — you know, I think she has a big supportive family and I know that, like, all of the traumatic things that we've been through, you know, we get through them together as a family and that's what family is all about," she said.  While it might not be the most informative response ever uttered, it may have been worth it as an act of "saving face." What's a potential little white lie about a technical glitch between friends, anyway?   Many of us would love to use the old "we just had a bad connection" excuse to get out of conversations IRL, sometimes.   Kim Kardashian West was robbed at gunpoint in Paris

    • Can my family refuse inheritance from my abusive former husband?

      This wife says the last thing she wants is her ex-spouse’s money.

      MarketWatch q
    • Donald Trump waited for Hillary Clinton to leave the stage before abandoning his podium — and it yielded an interesting juxtaposition

      The question was in the air before the third and final presidential debate began Wednesday night:...

      Business Insider