How to choose running shoes in 2020

Trainers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and when it comes to choosing running shoes for yourself there are lot of things to consider.

running trainers guide

In terms of injury prevention, personal performance and all round general comfort, the importance of choosing the correct running shoe cannot be understated. Here’s some handy info to take into account when you pick up your next pair in the new year...


Why should I wear Running Trainers over regular trainers?

Nowadays fashion-based trainers tend to take aesthetic more seriously than comfort, meaning that the materials used and the overall design of the shoe are not done so with performance in mind.

Fashion trainers often provide less midsole support (meaning more impact pressure is applied to your joints) and are made from less lightweight materials, such as suede. Running Trainers are usually made from lightweight, mesh-based materials that allow your feet to breathe whilst providing them with the support they need to prevent injury - this support usually comes from tactically distributed foam which softens your stride. Most Running Trainers also have a 10-12mm drop from the heel to the toe, which encourages you to run heel-first and further helps to prevent joint problems.

nike running trainers
Image from Nike.

How should my running shoes fit?

The short answer is ‘snug, but not too snug’. This basically means that your heel should remain locked to the shoe at all times (space in and around your heel means your foot will shift when you run, causing bruises and/or blisters to all parts of your feet) and that there is a small gap between your longest toe and the front of the shoe (when you are running uphill your shoes need to be able to bend at the front - if your toes are occupying this space then shoes become less malleable).

What else should I take into consideration when buying Running Shoes?

The type of surface you usually run on is an important factor to consider when making your purchase - trail running (grass, dirt etc..) presents a whole different set of challenges to road running. Trail running requires shoes that have much better grip and traction, which often means that the weight and surface area must be increased in order to do so. Traction is important because poor grip means that your foot is constantly slipping, which works your calves far more than usual. Road running puts constant impact force on key areas of your foot and so cushioning and support is required to keep you as injury-free as possible.

adidas running trainers
Image from adidas.

Another thing to consider is distance, and by extension how important to you that your speed is. If speed is your priority, especially over shorter distances, then consider a thinner shoe with a smaller midsole. Whereas if your main concern is simply completing a certain distance, a slightly ‘chunkier’ shoe will provide much more stability and durability.


What brands are there to choose from?

Aside from the obvious big-name brands of Nike and adidas, there are also a whole host of brands currently manufacturing great quality running shoes. Here we detail a few of them…

Saucony

One of those brands that you will no doubt have seen at some point but might not have been able to quite put your finger on what they were called. Saucony (pronounced Soh-ca-knee) were founded way back in 1898 and have been revolutionising the footwear game ever since. A whole host of current trainer technologies can be attributed to the American company, and they have also foraged into the fashion game with some iconic retro-inspired shoes. Their kicks are known for their comfort and durability, and what's more, their shoes are all 100% vegan!

Brooks

brooks running trainers
Image from Brooks.

If you are a casual runner then you’d be forgiven for not having heard of this brand, but Brooks are consistently praised by users for their high standards, fair pricing and constant desire to innovate and evolve. They are lauded regularly by trusted running publications as being amongst the worlds very best when it comes to manufacturing running shoes, and this is partly down to the fact that running shoes are now the brand’s main focus - after drastic changes at the start of the 21st century the company decided to only develop specialist trainers, and as a result has enjoyed a period of great success.

ASICS

An acronym for the Latin phrase ‘anima sana in corpore sano’ which roughly translates to a ‘Healthy Soul in a Healthy Body’, the famous Japanese company is known for its meticulous and obsessive approach to innovation - the most famous of which is definitely the ‘GEL’ technology, a creation that has allowed the spread of the brand into the fashion world, with the Gel-Lyte series producing some of the most recognisable trainers in the past decade. A tried and tested favourite of the running world, ASICS are here to stay.

New Balance

new balance trail running trainers
Image from New Balance.

The OG’s of the running shoe game, especially in this part of the world, New Balance are iconic due to their major role in the commercialisation of athletic footwear back in the 70s and 80s. They are known for - even still to this day - manufacturing a large percentage of their shoes in the USA, with some even being made right here on this side of the pond. They can be rather hefty in price, especially for some of the higher end models, however the quality and comfort is truly first-class.


Can I wear Running Shoes in the gym?

Trail running shoes? Probably not. Road Running shoes? Definitely! Aim for a pair that provide great stability so that you are comfortably grounded whilst stretching or lifting weights, but equally as comfortable when doing cardio. Shoes with a slightly thicker midsole (such as Nike's Air Zoom range) would be perfect for this.


Top 5 Running Shoes Currently on the Market

5 - adidas Ultraboost (Uncaged)

Image from adidas.

Being stylish whilst exercising is just as important to some, so if that’s your thing look no further than what is probably the most famous athletic footwear of the past 5 years. Ultraboost broke new ground and as such have been wildly successful, all the while looking absolutely killer. In terms of functionality though, some runners have complained that they are a little on the heavy side - if you are concerned about this, think about going for an Uncaged pair (where basically the Three Stripes outer casing has been removed) for a lighter ride.

4 - Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo

Image from Nike.

As already mentioned, Nike's Zoom range is brilliant for the versatility that the gym requires, and these are the pick of the bunch. Pegasus are known for their breathability and lightweight feel, and this current iteration is the epitome of that. They are also definitely stylish enough for them to be a staple of your day to day wardrobe, which means that no matter what, picking up a pair of these will be a brilliant investment.

3 - Saucony Peregrine ISO

A trail-running pair of shoes now, known for its deep-ridged sole that provides excellent traction on all kinds of surfaces. Saucony market it as being one of the most ‘adaptive’ pairs of shoes available, with ‘ISOFIT construction that adapts to your foot as you navigate any surface’. Perfect for keeping you going come rain or shine, you can grab a pair for around £75-80.

2 - ASICS Gel-Kayano

Image from ASICS.

A dynamic and versatile shoe that makes excellent use of ASICS aforementioned prized possession - the GEL technology. Currently on the 26th iteration, the shoes have now been somewhat perfected and provide tremendous spring and cushioning, without making use of a heavy or chunky sole. Sleek in appearance, and available in a huge range of colours, they can be picked up for around £100.

1 - Brooks GTS Adrenaline 19

The centrepiece of Brooks’ entire offering, and the culmination of their research and innovation, is the ‘Go-To-Shoe’ Adrenaline. It consistently tops lists the world over, and is praised for its immense cushioning, whilst still retaining great levels of spring. Perfect for running, but just as good for those long days where you just can’t seem to sit down. They are available in a wide range of colours and can be picked up for around £80-100.


Where can I buy Running Shoes?

Sports Direct have a great range of stock at reasonable prices but be warned, quality varies considerably across their range. Pro:Direct Running would be our number one recommendation as they have great stock levels, provide reliable, professional service as well as having a wide variety of choice - they are constantly having sales too so be on the lookout for those.

Moreover, if you're looking for a truly specialist pair, head direct to the brands website - Salomon, Brooks, Asics, Mizuno, New Balance and Saucony all ship directly to UK addresses.

Remember here at FOOTY.COM though, you can instantly compare prices on thousands of trainers from hundreds of retailers, to ensure you are getting the very best deal possible. If there's a pair of cheap running shoes out there, we'll find them for you.

Manchester City season ticket holder and FC Schalke armchair. Wannabe trainer collector and travelling enthusiast.