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What to Look for in a Pair of Running Shoes

What to Look for in a Pair of Running Shoes

Shoes are an essential aspect of everyday life — they protect your feet from harm and provide you with comfort and stability to avoid injuries. If you're a runner, picking the right shoe is especially critical, as it can either make or break your feet and ankles.

If you need help with what to look for in a proper running shoe, Dr. Marque A. Allen and the Sports Medicine Associates of San Antonio team provide the facts.

Dr. Allen is a board-certified foot and ankle specialist who helps you avoid painful injuries by offering you tips to look for in your running shoes.

Running shoes do have a shelf life

Although you might not want to get rid of your favorite running shoes, you must look at some point. Running shoes have a shelf life, mainly if you use them often.

Old shoes provide less support or stability when worn down. If you're not careful, worn-out running shoes can lead to injuries like an ankle sprain or plantar fasciitis.

When replacing your running shoes, the general rule of thumb is to get a new pair every six months. If you track your mileage when you run, this breaks down to about every 400 to 600 miles.

Signs you need new shoes

If you need clarification on how many miles you've run in your shoes and need help remembering when you bought them, some signs are apparent when you need a new pair. Some of the ways you can tell you need new running shoes include:

Comfort is crucial when it comes to running safely and preventing injuries. The key is to listen to your body. If your feet hurt a lot or you have pain in your knees and hips after running, it might be time to look at your running shoes.

Essential qualities of a good running shoe

When you're ready to toss out your old shoes for a new pair, there are several qualities you want to look for. Dr. Allen suggests you pay attention to the following qualities in your new running shoes:


The midsole is part of your shoe that supports you when you run. A good midsole absorbs shocks to your feet when you run, protecting other body parts.

You should look for a stable and cushioned midsole shoe to provide optimal support and shock absorption. Consider the material the midsole consists of depending on how much you run and where you run.


A proper fit is an essential component of a running shoe. When you try on shoes, make sure you’re wearing the socks you typically wear to run. You want a roomy toe box, optimally a half-inch between the front of your shoe and your longest toe. 

You can ask to take a quick run around the store to ensure they're comfortable before purchasing the shoe.


Dr. Allen assesses your foot to determine the best support for your feet and how you run. If you have high arches, you'll need a different type of support than flat feet.

For instance, if you have high arches, you'll want a softer midsole, whereas someone with low arches or flat feet should have a firmer midsole to control the foot while running.

The best time to try on shoes

When you're ready to get a new pair of shoes, there's a good time to go to the store: later in the day, when your feet are naturally more swollen than in the morning. If you go early, you won't get a precise fit.

When you go shopping, bringing your old running shoes is crucial. Your old shoes are helpful to the salesperson, who can point you in the right direction based on your likes and dislikes and the wear on your shoes.

If you wear orthotics or braces when you run, you should also bring those along. Don’t forget the socks you usually wear while running, either. You want to get the most accurate fit possible when you're trying on running shoes to ensure your feet are comfortable and stable.

Call the Sports Medicine Associates office most convenient today for advice on proper running shoes. We’re located in Alamo Heights and San Antonio, Texas. You can also request an appointment with Dr. Allen on our website.

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