One of the most common running-related questions I get is “What running sneakers should I buy?”. The internet is loaded with recommendations for all types of runners, and you’ll find a lot of conflicting advice.
The Research Behind The Best Running Sneakers
Before I give you my answer to the best running sneakers for you, I’ll give you a little insight into some of the research that helped me come up with my recommendation. This will just touch the surface of the research that is out there. If you are interested, there is plenty of it online for you to read through.
Most of the recommendations you find on the internet will have you pick a running sneaker based on your arch height. This typically includes choosing from a motion control shoe, stability shoe, or a cushioned shoe. A meta-analysis of three studies of military personnel was performed to research if running shoes prescribed based on foot type (in this case arch height) had an influence on injury risk.1 The experimental group was given shoes based on their foot type. They found that wearing running shoes prescribed based on arch height had little influence on injury risks.1
How do I choose what shoe to get if it’s not only based on my foot type?
The simple answer is to choose your running sneaker based on comfort. Studies have found that running shoes deemed comfortable by the user are associated with decreased frequency of lower extremity-related injuries.2,3 Another study found that more comfortable shoes are associated with less oxygen consumption and improvement in running economy.4
To keep this post short, not all evidence on running shoes was presented in this post. My recommendation for runners is to go with a shoe that feels comfortable for you. What might be “perfect” for your foot type, may not actually be what feels most comfortable, and that is okay, choose what feels best to you.
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- Knapik JJ, Trone DW, Tchandja J, Jones BH. Injury-Reduction Effectiveness of Prescribing Running Shoes on the Basis of Foot Arch Height: Summary of Military Investigations. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2014;44(10):805-812. doi:10.2519/jospt.2014.5342.
- Nigg B, Baltich J, Hoerzer S, et al Running shoes and running injuries: myth busting and a proposal for two new paradigms: ‘preferred movement path’ and ‘comfort filter’ British Journal of Sports Medicine 2015;49:1290-1294.
- MÜNDERMANN, ANNE; STEFANYSHYN, DARREN J.; NIGG, BENNO M. Relationship between footwear comfort of shoe inserts and anthropometric and sensory factors, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: November 2001 – Volume 33 – Issue 11 – p 1939-1945.
- Geng Luo, Pro Stergiou, Jay Worobets, Benno Nigg & Darren Stefanyshyn (2009) Improved footwear comfort reduces oxygen consumption during running, Footwear Science, 1:1, 25-29, DOI: 10.1080/19424280902993001