Whether you’re a beginner, a 5k/10k strider, or a marathon champion, wearing the proper footwear is critical to your technique and overall physical health. With an overwhelming number of options on the market today for runners of all skill levels, fit and support are a few key factors in keeping your feet happy.

Get the best fit

Shoe sizes can range drastically from one manufacturer to another. When trying on shoes, you might find you take a smaller or larger size than you would in normal footwear.

Shoes should be snug but not tight around the heels and toes. There should be a bit of room to allow for foot movement, but not too much; shoes that are too roomy can cause your feet to rub and create painful blisters.

When purchasing new running shoes, trying them on at the end of the day will give you a better indication fit, as feet typically swell throughout the day.

Select the best support by knowing your shape

There are three main foot types: flat, neutral, and high arch. Flat feet are more flexible and can be prone to rolling inward (overpronation). High-arched feet are more rigid and point the foot outward, putting pressure on the outer edges of your feet (supination). Neutral feet fall in the middle of the other two, with pressure centralized on the balls of the feet.

By knowing your foot type and the understanding the shape of your feet, you can best select which shoes are most suited to your body and running style.

Find a pair you like

Once you’ve determined your foot type and fit, there are many shoe options to choose from. For runners with high arches, super-cushioned shoes provide much-needed shock absorption. For flat footed runners, stability shoes offer the support that helps them avoid further overpronation. Minimalist shoes, characterized by lightweight construction and little or no arch support, and best suited to runners who prefer a natural running motion and a mid-foot strike.

These are just a few options on the market for running shoes. By knowing your feet, you’re on your way to finding the best shoes to help you become a better, injury-free runner.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/how-to-buy-running-shoes-tips-to-treat-your-feet-right?page=2

http://running.about.com/od/shoesapparelandgear/a/foottypes.htm