Beginners should consider visiting their local running/sports shop – especially for that first pair.
Buying your first pair of running shoes can be a bit intimidating. There are so many brands—from Adidas to Zoot. There are so many styles—from Adrenaline to Zante. And there are so many nuances—from asymmetrical lacing to zero-drop. With all those choices, there’s certainly nothing wrong with seeking some assistance.
A select search or two online can lend some guidance, of course. And the online shopping experience can be quite seductive with its offers and free shipping. However, when shopping for running shoes—especially that first pair—consider visiting the running specialty shop in your area.
In a shop, you can find a sales assistant who can explain the options and parlance. That assistant should ask about your running, training, and/or goals. He or she will size your feet and also analyse your gait, perhaps even on a treadmill. And if you already are running in a pair of shoes, by all means, bring the shoes to the shop with you; the bottom of your shoe is a roadmap of how you strike the ground.
Then you’re off to finding a shoe with not only the proper fit, but also the right feel. Just because you find the right size for you in a shoe does not necessarily mean it feels right for you.
Where visiting the shoe store vs. shopping online really pays off is fit. Allow the associate to introduce several brands. Walk around in various styles. Maybe even run a lap or two in the parking lot as you narrow your choices.
One of the beauties of running is its simplicity. You don’t need much more than a pair of shoes. However, those shoes are literally all that is between you and the road for many a distance. Don’t skimp on them. The time you spend finding the right style, fit, and feel for you will pay off in the long run.
And if you do end up buying from the local running/sports shop, be sure to ask for advice on other related topics such as appropriate apparel, accessories, local routes, group runs, and local races. Those shops can serve as gateways into the local running scene.