How to Buy the Right Pair of Long Distance Running Shoes

Trainers can be expensive, but it’s essential to buy the right pair of long distance running shoes to limit injury, discomfort and foot pain. We investigated to see what made the best pair of sports footwear and which brands to look out for. This advice on how to purchase the perfect running shoes is aimed at the recreational runner, both men and women.

Running is a popular activity for many people around the world as a form of exercise and marathons are on a lot of bucket lists. The demand for running shoes is high, with the sales rising by 16% in the last year alone thanks to Gym’s being closed.

When you’re running for more than an hour, your feet become tired and start to hurt on the soles or heels (known as plantar fasciitis). The effects can be impacted on the type of surface you run on and the weight of your body.

Choosing a good running shoe

Be sure to keep these key features in mind when shopping and choose comfort over price for high-quality performance:

High quality cushioning in the forefoot and heel

Cushioning is an important feature as shock absorption reduces the impact of feet making contact with the ground. This can cause blisters and other injuries. A good choice for cushion in running shoes would be gel padding in its midsole, that absorbs shock while still allowing you to feel the ground beneath your feet. You should look for ample heel cushioning to make running a breeze.

Outsole that provides good grip on all surfaces

The outsole should have a wide contact area and good grip so that it can provide appropriate support and comfort when running on all surfaces, even on rough ground and trails

High quality materials that can withstand wear and tear

Durability is an important feature because it can help increase the lifespan. High quality material for the shoe’s sole is essential, like full-length carbon fibre or polyurethane. These materials are highly resistant to wear and tear. Look our for products with a warranty, and breathable where possible.

The fit

Tight fitting footwear gives better support but your toes need to have room to stop rubbing. You should buy a shoe size that suits the width of your feet. There are also specialist socks for additional ankle support, so it might be worth factoring in if needing extra room. Either way, the perfect fit is needed, especially if you plan on covering many miles.

a woman ties up her running shoes by the sea
The right running shoe should consider expected terrain

What Activities Are You Engaging in?

Jogging on a road and trail running are very different terrains, and if competitive athletics or exercise also impact the right trainers for you for proper distances.

Pavements are a flat surface so cushioning is more important for road running shoes, and more suited to the city dweller. If you are lucky enough to have the countryside or parks on your doorstep, then running on unlevel rocks require better support and good grip, especially in wet conditions. So it’s worth looking at dedicated trail running shoes.

Also running style can be an issue, and many specialist shops have treadmill’s so they can assess and suggest the right pair as well other other expert advice and information.

Testing For the Most Suitable Running Shoe for support and comfort

Ideally you need to run a test on your foot arch; this will help estimate the shoe’s inward and outward rotation capability. Most dedicated running shops offer tests and gait analysis, and ensure your new footwear has the best arch support. While this may seem extravagant for the casual runner, you would be amazed at the difference the right pair of sneakers can make.

Gait and technique analysis

This is a minute long barefoot run on a treadmill so the camera records the degree of pronation taking place. It will pick up any biomechanical issue as you run without any cushioning or support.

Analysing the footage from a digital camera from both behind and from the side looks at foot strike and placement in relation to the hips, posture and technique. This enables them to suggest the right style of trainer which can then be tested out on the treadmill.

Woman ties up her long distance running shoes ready for a race
Support and comfort are critical for long distance running shoes

Your Price Preference

Lets be honest, no-one wants to spend £100’s on trainers that fall apart easily especially when a hefty price tag and best-looking shoe doesn’t mean it’s correct for your feet.

Asics are known for quality, price point, vast selection and are international renowned. The Asics Gel range in particular is very popular and regularly gets listed in the top 10 running footwear. Customer feedback praise the longevity and that is very promising, but ultimately comfort should always be top of the list.

Brooks Running shoes are more expensive, but again genuine runners reviews praise the comfort and support. It also seems they fit wider feet better and have plenty of styles in an extensive collection.

Other popular sports shoe brands include Nike, Adidas, Reebok, New Balance, Haka, Under Armour, and Puma.

Where Can I Buy Sports Shoes?

Many shops and online websites offer a vast selection, just be mindful some big sports brand go for fashion over functionality. If you want to avoid injury we do recommend you visit a specialist running store so that you can get expert advice. You can of course order online if a casual runner, but it’s essential you test the trainer out first. If you are marathon training, then we do think the best way is to visit a specialist for the best long distance running shoes for your feet.