A good pair of shoes is one of the bare necessities for regular runners. It lies at the core of their sport; something they cannot do without. Did you know, though, that a good pair of running shoes has nothing to do with the logo that’s printed on them? And that there are different types of running shoes made solely depending on the anatomy of human feet and the average posture of various people?
Interesting, right? In this article, we are listing out the different types of running shoes present in the market, and the purposes they fulfill. But first, let’s get some shoe basics out of the way.
This infographic explains all about the part of your running shoe!
Not everyone in the world runs on one kind of track. Rather, most runners often change their track or trail for practice on different kinds of terrain. Running shoes are broadly categorized into 3 types –
They are used for running on plain, even roads. These are the shoes you wear when you head out for a run in your neighborhood.
If you enjoy running in the woods, then you ought to buy these!
These are meant for running on routes that are uneven, rocky, muddy, and natural. You should use these shoes when you decide to run on a hiking or trekking route.
Interested in Trail Running? Read about Trail Running Shoe Guide
Have you been using your running shoes for the gym too? Then read further!
These shoes are used indoors. People who undertake regular cross-training need a comfortable yet sturdy pair of shoes. However, since the activity isn’t the same as running outside, the type of shoe differs.
Did you know that you should wear shoes based on your feet arches?
The human foot is typically divided into 3 categories of arches – high, moderate, and very low (flat feet). Although there are people with very high arches as well, it is quite rare.
This is what it looks like.
Pronation means the characteristic of a person to place their foot inward. People with a moderate arch have lesser pronation. Flat-footed people have a higher pronation and need running shoes with arch supports. People with high foot arches place their feet outward, known as supination.
Now you know why different foot arches require different types of running shoes.
If you are unsure about the design of your foot, try this – if you have an old, well-worn pair of socks, observe where they have worn out. If you have moderate pronation, the socks will have thinned out on the balls of your feet and the outside of your heels. If you are placing your foot on the outside, then the socks will have thinned out near your little toes and the outside of the heels. Flat-footed people tend to step more on the inside, and hence, their socks thin out around the big toes and inside of the heels.
You can even dip your feet in the water and step on a dark-colored dry surface. This will help you understand what type of running shoe you need, and whether you’ve been using the right ones so far.
This is what the heel of your shoe will look from behind, depending on the pronation of your foot. This, however, is visible on shoes that have been regularly used.
Know more about Your Feet and Pronation
As mentioned above, the type of running shoe that’s best for you depends on the positioning of your foot. They are divided into 4 major categories. Let’s get into some details.
The neutral running shoes are ideal for people with a natural or neutral gait; or even for people who tend to supinate (step on the outer side of their feet). They offer minimal cushioning and are light in weight. They are generally designed for faster movement and a soft underfoot feel.
Apt for people who display mild to moderate foot pronation, stability running shoes are reasonable in weight and offer good cushioning. The arch of these shoes is firm and provides excellent support to the foot, encouraging a natural step.
Offering maximum support and cushioning, motion control shoes are the best for flat-footed people. They are heavier than the shoes mentioned above, they are made of stiffer heels and straight arch supports to prevent the foot from stepping inwards.
These shoes have a minimum or zero cushioning and support. They are close to the traditional form of barefoot running and provide only the bare minimum protection that the foot needs.
It is extremely important to ensure a comfortable fit; an ill-fitting shoe is going to cause you all kinds of trouble.
Here’s how your running shoes should fit
Brands differ in their shoe sizes. You may need a Size 11 of one brand and a Size 9 of another. Always wear the shoe and see if it fits you well. It is advised to try on a shoe at the end of the day when your feet are slightly swollen so that you don’t end up buying smaller shoes.
Ideally, your heel should be snug and your toes should have some space to wiggle. There shouldn’t be too much space on the sides though.
Your toes should not graze the sides of the shoe, and neither should your big toe stub itself at the front. However, there shouldn’t be so much space that your foot comes out while running or you need to tie the laces on too tight.
If you need insoles, the shoe shop should ideally help you with this.
It is still advised to read up on the same once before you head out on your shopping excursion. If you use orthotics, take them along when shoe shopping. They affect the shoe size and fit.
Know all about Shoe Insoles and Footwear Related Problems
And now that you have all your shoe basics in place, let’s look at the top 10 running shoes that are trending in the market. These are a mix of the different running shoe types that we just talked about, and are worth checking out!
So, let’s begin the countdown from 10 onwards……
The On Could Sneakers are a road-running, minimalist shoe pair with neutral arch support. These shoes are extremely lightweight, weighing just 198g and offer a choice of several attractive colors.
What makes this one of the best types of running shoes is its light weight. It is quite flexible and offers great cushioning, hence providing the perfect impact protection many runners need. Its special CloudTec sole responds to the runner’s gait, adjusting itself accordingly.
If you are looking for a minimal running shoe with excellent comfort and performance, On Cloud Sneakers are perfect for you.
Another great lightweight shoe pair from On, this is also a road running shoe with neutral arch support and weighs 220g.
The performance and comfort of this shoe are amazing. You can wear it for long hours without feeling any strain. The materials that have been used to make these shoes are extremely sturdy and durable, yet comfortable, and have a responsive cushioning system.
The On Cloudflow Running Shoes have been quite popular in the running community, with no untoward or negative issues faced by any of the users. The design, the efficacy, and the aesthetics of the shoe are all commendable.
The Salomon Snowcross CS is a trail running shoe with neutral arch support. It is placed on the heavier side of the scale, weighing 366g.
It comes with a ClimaShield waterproof membrane which ensures breathability and air flow. The gaiter designed collar of the shoe offers added protection from dirt, rocks, and snow and keeps your feet comfortable even in winter. It has a Mud and Snow Contagrip technology that makes the sole durable, strong, and highly-effective on all kinds of terrain.
If you are looking out for a shoe for snowy weather and great neutral go motion, check out the Salomon Snowcross CS.
This pair comes under the road running shoe category and offers a neutral arch support. Weighing just 160g, it is the lightest in weight on the list. It is available in a wide variety of vibrant and funky colors.
The shoes are made from Flyknit fabric which gives the wearer the feeling of wearing just socks and no shoes. They are exceptionally comfortable and surprisingly durable and will keep your feet cool and dry while running, with a responsive and springy underfoot.
The design and lightweight of the product make it a popular choice for racing.
Another awesome road running shoe pair, this time from the creative minds at Adidas is the Supernova Glide Boost 8. This pair comes with a neutral arch support for the foot, a slightly heavier weight of 312g, and complete comfort of wear and use for the runner.
The pair offers a foam platform for smooth and comfortable stepping. Its special Boost technology attenuates the landing impact and provides a boost to the toe when you lift your feet.
Adidas Supernova Glide Boost 8 is the perfect pair for those who want an amazing running experience.
The Nike Free RN Motion Flyknit weighs more than the original Flyknit, coming in at 223g. And like all the other products on the list, it is a road running shoe with neutral arch support.
It has all the features of the original Flyknit, like being lightweight, comfortable and flexible. The shoe keeps your feet cool and dry while running, is extremely durable, and has better cushioning.
Another great road running shoe from Nike, the Air Zoom Pegasus 33 offers a neutral arch support to your feet and weighs just 281g. It is considered as one of the most attractive running shoes by many runners and is available in a host of fun and spunky colors.
The comfort and breathability of this shoe are very impressive since it provides great traction while running. Only a few can match the performance of the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 33.
Another great entry on the list, this road running shoe from Asics comes with a motion control arch support. Weighing at 346g, the shoe is designed specifically for over-pronators and runners with flat feet.
It is extremely comfortable and provides good traction while running. Providing adequate ground feedback and great flexibility, the shoe is a great value for money.
If you are a flat-footed runner, this is undoubtedly the best shoe for you.
This is a good-looking, funky little road running shoe with stability arch support and weighs a mere 303g.
Accompanied by excellent reviews, the shoe is comfortable, lightweight and durable. It comes with a Boost technology that enhances its responsiveness, performance, and durability. And what’s more, this entry from Adidas is known to have the best cushioning system. It is worth every penny when it comes to performance.
Being the greatest type running shoes in the market today, it provides stability and arch support at a nominal weight of 303g.
Everything about this product is amazing. The flexible upper unit provides great support, stability, and comfort to the runner. The cushioning system, which results in a smooth and responsive run, is laudable. The traction and efficacy are exceptional. There’s a reason it tops the list of the 10 best running shoes in the market.
The different types of running shoes and their sheer variety can confuse a new runner who is clueless about how to select the right pair. One of the safest ways is walking into a shoe store that customizes footwear.
Remember, at the end of the day get over the notion that branded shoes are better than non-branded ones. Everyone has a unique anatomy, and you never know which pair might just turn out to be the right one for you.
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