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

    • Mariah Carey 'dumped' by billionaire fiance James Packer but keeping $10m engagement ring

      The fairytale may be over for Mariah Carey and her fiance James Packer with reports claiming the couple have split. The Australian businessman is alleged to have ended his 10-month engagement to the US pop star due to her extravagant spending in the midst of their wedding preparations. Packer, 48, proposed to Carey, 46, in January 2016 after almost a year of dating and presented the Grammy-winning singer with a $10m (£8.1m) engagement ring which he is reportedly allowing her to keep.

      International Business Times ONC UK q
    • This photo of a dog with a mouthful of ladybugs is freaking out pet owners

      The photo that Kansas veterinarian Lindsay Mitchell posted to Facebook looked so unreal and disturbing that some who saw it went right to the hoax-busting website Snopes to verify it. But that didn’t stop the photo from being shared more than 53,000 times since it went up last week. Mitchell, of Hoisington, Kan., posted a graphic picture of a dog with a mouthful of Asian lady beetles. Ladybugs aren’t so cute when 30 to 40 of them are stuck to the roof of a dog’s mouth. “This is the second pup I have seen like this today. If your pet is drooling or foaming at the mouth look for these lady bugs. They cause ulcers on the tongue and mouth and have a very painful bite,” she wrote on the Hoisington

      The Charlotte Observer q
    • Kim Kardashian Concierge Reveals New Robbery Details: ‘They Weren’t There for Jewels’

      ET sits down exclusively with the concierge during Kim Kardashian's robbery, who recalls the terrifying events of Oct. 3.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Shane Carwin Declines Bellator Offer, Unveils MMA Return

      Although he had several offers on the table, former UFC interim heavyweight champion Shane Carwin on Thursday unveiled that he would be headed to Japan for his return to mixed martial arts competition. It's been more than five years since Carwin last fought, having lost back-to-back bouts to Junior dos Santos and Brock Lesnar in the UFC's Octagon before retiring. Recently deciding to make a comeback, the 41-year-old quickly determined that returning to the UFC was not an option.

      MMA Weekly
    • What You, and Miley Cyrus, Can Do If You Hate Your Engagement Ring

      Miley Cyrus finally revealed why she’s so inconsistent about wearing her engagement ring, even though it appears that her relationship with fiancé Liam Hemsworth is back on: She doesn’t really love the ring itself.

      Yahoo Beauty
    • Records obtained by Times reveal boy was kept in closets for three years before his death

      For three years, the young boy was hidden in locked closets, sedated by liquid sleeping aids allegedly given to him by his mother. When people asked Veronica Aguilar where her son was, she told them he had been placed in an institution in Mexico, according to court records. Only her three other children — two of whom slept on a bed just outside the closet door — knew the truth, and they said they were forbidden by the mother from saying anything, authorities say. Yonatan Daniel Aguilar’s tortured life came to an end in August. Police later found the 11-year-old’s battered, malnourished 34-pound body in the bedroom closet of the family’s tiny Echo Park home. The grim details of Yonatan’s alleged

      Los Angeles Times q
    • Oregon woman's Subaru stolen and returned with bizarre explanation

      PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 27 (UPI) -- An Oregon woman's car was "accidentally" stolen and later returned with an explanation note and some gas money. Erin Hatzi shared surveillance footage from outside of her home as a woman entered her red Subaru Impreza on Tuesday night before driving off. "We were really confused because it didn't seem like the normal actions of a car thief," Hatzi told KGW. "You wouldn't think they'd sit there in idle in the owner's driveway for two or three minutes." Hatzi and her husband reported the strange theft to police when, just a day later the situation became even more bizarre. Police stopped a woman attempting to return the car outside of Hatzi's home as her husband

      UPI q
    • Tomb of Christ opened for the first time in centuries

      Researchers have uncovered the original surface of what is traditionally considered the tomb of Jesus Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The tomb's surface had been covered by a thick layer of marble, according to an exclusive by National Geographic. "The marble covering of the tomb has been pulled back, and we were surprised by the amount of fill material beneath it," said Fredrik Hiebert, archaeologist-in-residence at the National Geographic Society working at the site.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen predicted the election 15 years ago

      It’s a little-known fact, but once upon a time 15 years ago, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen had a lifestyle magazine. The publication,…

      Hello Giggles
    • VIDEO: Man pistol whips scary clown prankster in California

      A video showing a man dressed as a clown scaring random people in Northern California has gone viral after one man pistol whipped the prankster.

      KABC – Los Angeles
    • Once bitter enemies, Zeta and Gulf Cartel members form 'United Cartels,' hitman says

      A faction of the depleted Zetas drug cartel has joined forces with its longtime rival, the Gulf Cartel, to form the so-called “Carteles Unidos” (United Cartels), according to the jailhouse confession of the leader of a Zetas-connected hit squad. According to Mexican papers, 26-year-old Adrián Martínez Luna, known as “El Chino” or "El Ondeado" ("The Chinaman" or the "Wavy One"), told police that members of Vieja Escuela Z – a Zetas splinter group – have teamed up with the Gulf Cartel to take down another break-off Zetas faction, the Cartel del Noreste (CDN). Martínez – who admitted to heading up a hit squad for the late Zetas cartel boss, Javier “Bravo 1” Morales – was arrested along with 22-year-old

      Fox News Latino q
    • Gifts for Kids Who Love to Travel (19 photos)

      Its always a good sign when curiosity about world travel begins at a young age. Foster your childs interest in exploration with gifts likeinteractive maps, passport holders, and travel-sized tea sets. This year, Travel + Leisure is offering its most comprehensive gift guide ever. The goal? Make sure you can find the perfect present for everyone (yes, evenyour mother-in-law ) on your list. Below, our picks for the discerning young traveler.

    • Tim Tebow answered Stephen A. Smith's dumb question with a riveting inspirational speech

      Hate on Tim Tebow all you want, but there’s no denying he’s one of the most motivational guys in sports — period. On Tuesday he appeared with Stephen A. Smith on First Take and dropped the best speech you’ll hear all week. When he was criticized for taking a long shot at making an MLB roster, Tebow dropped the hammer.

      SB Nation q
    • Michael Massee, Actor Who Accidentally Killed Brandon Lee During Filming of 'The Crow,' Dies at 61

      Michael Massee, the actor who unfortunately will forever be known as the man who accidentally shot and killed Brandon Lee on the set of the 1994 film The Crow, has died. Massee’s death was first announced by actor Anthony Delon and confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter by a representative of his agent at Greene & Associates in Los Angeles. In just his second movie appearance, Massee was playing a character known as Funboy when he fired a revolver that had been improperly prepared by crew members at Brandon Lee, the son of famed martial arts star Bruce Lee.

      The Hollywood Reporter
    • The new MacBook Pro looks and feels so good it's unreal

      The new MacBook Pro is here — literally available for preorder today — and I’ve just tried it. The best thing I can say about is simple: everything about it looks and feels so good I almost didn’t believe it.We’ll start with the marquee feature, the Touch Bar. What you might not have gathered from the keynote is that it has a matte finish, which makes the buttons on it somehow feel a little more physical. It’s bright, but not so bright that it distracts — it seems to be about on par with the brightness of the backlit keyboard.

      The Verge q
    • Woman writes bad Yelp review because of a bodega cat, and the internet destroys her

      Don't mess with the bodega cats. Walk into any corner store a.k.a bodega in New York City, and you'll find a variety of household goods, beer, probably a deli and almost definitely a resident cat. The cats keep the rats and mice away and in return, they get to hang out inside and take naps on the chip shelf. @georgeferrer A photo posted by Bodega Cats (@bodegacatsofinstagram) on Oct 11, 2016 at 4:54am PDT Usually New Yorkers tend to ignore that bodega cats may be a health code violation, because most people would prefer to see cats hanging around than rats. But recently, one Yelper decided to break the golden bodega cat rule, and gave S.K. Deli Market in the East Village a 1 star review after noticing her bodega had a cat chilling on a stack of Budweisers. Big mistake. Reviewer Diana D, who has since deleted her post, claimed she had ordered from the bodega before, but decided to pick up her food instead of getting it delivered. That's when she noticed the adorable cat protecting its store. You gotta be a miserable gentrifying ass bitch to yelp about the bodega cat — سنكامي (@SynKami) October 24, 2016 "Besides being allergic, I wonder what the health code say(s) about this?" Diana asked in her review.  Twitter user SynKami took a screen grab of the review and shared it to his followers, harshly calling out Diana  for complaining about the bodega cat. Twitter promptly erupted, and the tweet has racked up more than 7,800 retweets at the time of writing. @SynKami @asherahresearch does she realize the cat is there to keep the rats away. Dumbazz — jaja (@JaJasTweets) October 24, 2016 @SynKami tbh, I don't trust a bodega that doesn't have a cat — Carlos LaBestia (@Arturo_Ulises) October 25, 2016 S.K. Deli Market's Yelp page was flooded with positive reviews on Wednesday, supporting both the deli and cat, who's name is Ciao Bella, according to one Yelper.   According to a piece published in the New York Times about the controversy over bodega cats, fines could cost the bodega $300 to $2,000. However, a fine for rodent feces found in a store can also land a bodega with a $300 fine. "It’s hard for bodega owners because they’re not supposed to have a cat, but they’re also not supposed to have rats,” José Fernández, the president of the Bodega Association of the United States, told the New York Times.

    • Future and Larsa Pippen are getting 'closer' following Ciara and Russell Wilson's baby news

      Months after their fairytale wedding, Ciara and Russell Wilson are expecting their first baby together. "Future absolutely hates Russell for many different reasons and now that he and Ciara are having a baby, it's just going to complicate matters and make Future have to deal with this dude even more," a source close to the Monster hitmaker told Hollywood Life. The 32-year old Percocet And Stripper Joint rapper's alleged growing proximity with the 42-year-old reality star, Larsa, is rumoured to be the reason behind her high profile divorce with Scottie Pippen.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Clinton nearly doubles lead over Trump in latest CNBC survey

      Clinton leads Trump by 46 percent to 37 percent among registered voters in a two-way race in new CNBC All-America Survey.

    • Mother of quintuplets calls out doctors who told her to 'reduce' her pregnancy

      “At the age of 28, I found out I was pregnant with quintuplets. Immediately, my doctor talked to me about selective reduction,” shared Susan Thompson in a Facebook post. The mother of five is speaking out after attending the graduation of her kids who may not have been had she listened to what doctors and specialists initially told her when she found out she was pregnant with quintuplets.

      Yahoo Canada Style
    • IS trickling out of Mosul as losses mount: US general

      Islamic State group fighters are trickling out of Iraq's Mosul as the jihadists suffer heavy casualties, the general overseeing American military operations in the region told AFP on Thursday. Army General Joseph Votel, head of the US military's Central Command, said groups of half a dozen or fewer IS fighters have been seen slipping out of the city as US-backed Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga forces close in. Some of them dump weapons and try to look like civilians, making it hard for coalition drones and planes to track them, Votel said, but some presumably are headed toward Raqa, the IS group's Syria stronghold.