Couch to 5K
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Buying the right first pair of running shoes

Hi, I'm just starting out, & haven't run since school, about 40 years ago! I've been reading lots of posts regarding footwear. Folks seem to think Asics gel Kayano and Nimbus are the best. I visited Brantano to have a look at what they have. I tried on a 'Reebock Cush Run' £40 (that's what it said on the box) and they felt lovely and light. they didn't have any of the Asics. Do I need to try them on? or can I just order a pair I like in my size off the internet? If it's best to try them on before buying, this is going to limit my choice a lot. I also thought the assistant in the shop didn't seem to know anything about them, so aren't sure where to go for advice. I've gathered the benefits of the gel cushion. If there's anything else I should consider, please let me know. Thanks

5 Replies

There are lots of specialist running shops :Sweatshop, Runners Need etc as well as many independents. Most of these shops will offer you good advice and a free gait analysis, during which you are filmed as you run on a treadmill. An analysis may show that you need support shoes and you can then try these on the dreadmill and see if they make a difference. I was sceptical about the process, but when I did it, it very clearly showed that my feet rolled out and I was pushing off from my little toe. I tried a pair of suggested shoes and lo and behold I was pushing off from my big toe, as I should.

The shoes were the most expensive footwear I have ever purchased, but I could have taken their suggestions and gone and bought online at a reduction. You do need to try shoes on, as each manufacturer has their own shape and fitting variations, eg. Adidas make fairly narrow fitting shoes, while Brooks are amongst the widest. Many people buy a half size bigger than their normal walking shoe.

Because somebody has recommended a particular shoe does not mean it is appropriate for you. Our running gait, our weight as well as the shape of our feet are very individual and you owe it to yourself to buy the best you can afford, as it may well help you avoid injury, which can cost way more than a pair of shoes and be very dispiriting as a new runner in particular.

Buying your first pair of running shoes is much easier if you get good advice from a specialist. Sports Direct etc. sell competitive and perfectly good running shoes, but you will be lucky to get good advice.


Wow, what a lot of useful information, I'll copy and paste it, so I can refer to it again. I'm so glad I asked for help. All I had managed to work out was that the cheapest pair wouldn't be any good! Thanks ever so much for your help.


Very good advice there from Mr T.


I started in lightweight walking boots because I didn't possess so much as trainers. (I don't think this was the main reason Week 1 was so hard for me as I didn't have problems with weeks after that before I decided to award myself some proper running shoes)

We all have our different preferences. I don't run on roads so I buy trail shoes, and by chance (because I was looking for a more 'ethical' running shoe option when I first bought) I discovered minimalist footwear which I really like.

I was once fitted with trail running shoes by Sweatshop, gait analysis (doesn't affect the choice of trail shoe), custom inserts, ran round the shop in them... in practice they were dire, I couldn't feel the ground, which I seem to need to, and my knees knocked together. Fortunately I was able to return them (and the mud clinging to them) to Sweatshop to exchange.


Also, as with GoogleMe, if you go to Sweatshop (and some other 'good' stores) you do get a 30 day exchange if the shoes aren't right in the real world - even if they're well used and muddy, so the expense at the beginning is a sort of insurance.

My last pair I got from the Sweatshop website after trying shoes in the shop. This was because they didnt have shoe we agreed I should have in my size and the shop is too far away to visit regularly (the assistant actually suggested I do this).

If uou know you are going to stick with running, spend what you can on shoes - the rest of your running wardrobe can be bought as and when necessary from all sorts of places - some surprising - and need not cost a lot.

Get the right shoes, run at the right (read slow) pace to begin with and you won't look back.


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