The difference between types of running shoes – and how to pick the right pair for you

Have you ever walked into an athletics store and been overwhelmed by the many types of running shoes available? If you’re looking for your first pair the variety can be a little daunting. Here’s a brief introduction to the types of running shoes that are generally on offer, and how to choose the right pair for you.

Types of running shoes

Generally speaking there are four categories of running shoe. Cushioned shoes are great for people with no concerns about gait or footfall. Motion control shoes are usually quite rigid. They’re designed to support runners with flat feet and those with a heavier build. If you’re an overpronator (your feet roll inwards when you walk and run) you may need stability-focussed shoes. They are designed to help correct your gait as you run. Minimalist or barefoot running shoes offer little or no support or cushioning. They are designed to mimic running without shoes, with a thin sole to protect the feet from rough surfaces.

These categories are fairly loose and there are cross-over types of running shoe that may have more of one characteristic and less of another. There is a growing consensus amongst sports scientists that buying shoes based on these categorisations alone may not translate to a reduced rate of injury. So how do you choose the right shoe?

Choosing the right types of running shoes

Stay away from shoes designed to support other sports such as tennis or football. They are engineered to provide support for foot movement patterns that runners don’t typically experience. Running shoes of all kinds are designed to support forward motion.

The number one indicator that a pair of running shoes is right for you is comfort. If you try on a few pairs of shoes in a store, forget the technical information and base your choice on which are the most comfortable. It seems that comfort alone is the clearest indicator that shoes will provide a steady and supportive base for your runs. You can also incorporate sports performance insoles to help increase your comfort levels even further.

About Enertor Advanced Technology Insoles –  Enertor insoles are designed to prevent a number of common running injuries and provide more comfort. Designed by leading podiatrists to reduce your risk of injury, the unique design features support your foot throughout training.  Enertor insoles are enhanced by D3O impact protection technology, which means they can provide more shock absorption than any other insole.  Our expertise, combined with the patented D3O shock absorption technology, enables Enertor to deliver the most advanced injury prevention insoles on the market today.

Enertor insoles are available to buy from our online shop.

Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site.


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