Untitled design (7)Choosing the right running shoes and gear is extremely important for runners. The wrong shoes can lead to injury, discomfort, or end your running career before it begins. However, choosing the right shoe will keep your feet happy, support your unique running mechanics, and make the miles fly by.

Buying the Perfect Running Shoes

1. Foot Type and Gait Analysis

We all have unique physical attributes. The first step to finding the right pair of running shoes is to determine your individual needs. Do you have flat feet or high arches? Do you pronate or supinate? Are you a heel-striker? These are difficult questions, especially for beginners. Fortunately, there are experts available (at no cost) to analyze your specific needs and point you in the right direction. Find your local running specialty store and pay them a visit. Or, research your shoes using credible running shoe review sites.

2. Don’t Believe the Hype

Be careful not to get caught up in the marketing hype that shoe companies use to sell their products. Barefoot running, spring-loaded blades, energy return lugs, extra thin soles, extra thick soles, etc. They all claim to be innovative and new, which makes them risky choices. You can be cutting edge, but bleeding edge isn’t cool. Go with something that’s been validated by thousands of other runners.

3. Comfort Over Style

Once you know the type of shoe you need, the fun begins. Try on as many shoes as you can. When you find a shoe that feels good, you’ll know it right away. Your running shoes should provide plenty of wiggle room for your toes while remaining snug around your heel. Hopefully, you find a shoe that looks as good as it feels.

4. Run Before Buying

Run in your shoes before purchasing them. Most specialty stores will allow you to take a quick run in their shoes before you buy them. If you purchase online, look for companies that will allow you to return them after taking them out of the box for a run. The run test should be done at your regular running pace to determine fit and feel.

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Buying the Perfect Running Gear

The gear you purchase has to be a good match for the environment you run in. Winter running is challenging, but also enjoyable if you choose the right gear. Summer running is also a challenge, but there is only so much you can take off before people complain.

When shopping for gear consider form and function first, and style second. Is this jacket waterproof and windproof? Does this shirt have flat seams for comfort? Do these shorts have pockets for my gels? is there enough reflective material on these running tights for drivers to see me on my early morning runs? Does this hat breathe so that I won’t sweat too much and get chilled?

One thing is for sure. No matter how much gear you have, you’ll always want more. Here’s a list of gear to consider for each season of the year. This list is based on a northern climate, so adjust accordingly.

Summer

  • running shoes – rotate 2 pairs
  • ankle socks – 3
  • shorts – 2
  • singlet (tank) – 2
  • technical t-shirt – 3
  • visor/hat
  • sunglasses
  • sunscreen

Spring

  • running shoes- rotate 2 pairs
  • ankle socks – 3
  • shorts – 2
  • light running tights
  • technical t-shirt – 3
  • 3/4 zip or long sleeve running shirt
  • light running jacket or wind-proof, water-proof shell
  • visor/hat/beanie
  • sunglasses
  • sunscreen
  • running gloves

Fall

  • running shoes- rotate 2 pairs
  • ankle socks – 3
  • 3/4 socks Merino wool – 2
  • shorts – 2
  • light running tights
  • technical t-shirt – 3
  • 3/4 zip or long sleeve running shirt – 2
  • light running jacket or wind-proof, water-proof shell
  • visor/hat/beanie
  • sunglasses
  • sunscreen
  • running gloves

Winter

  • running shoes- rotate 2 pairs
  • ankle socks – 2
  • 3/4 socks Merino wool – 2
  • wind-proof briefs
  • shorts – 2
  • light running tights
  • heavy running tights
  • technical t-shirt – 3
  • insulated, breathable long-sleeve shirt – 2
  • 3/4 zip or long sleeve running shirt
  • light running jacket or wind-proof, water-proof shell
  • visor/hat/beanie
  • sunglasses
  • sunscreen
  • running gloves
  • running mittens

Optional Gear

The good thing is that a lot of this stuff can be used throughout the year. And, as you compete in races, you’ll pick up a lot of shirts along the way. Most of the gear lasts for years, but the shoes should be replaced every 400 miles.

Next Steps:

  1. EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RUNNING YOUR FIRST MARATHON
  2. TRAINING FOR YOUR FIRST MARATHON
  3. NUTRITION WHILE TRAINING FOR YOUR FIRST MARATHON
  4. RUNNING SHOES AND GEAR FOR YOUR FIRST MARATHON
  5. MENTAL TRAINING FOR YOUR FIRST MARATHON
  6. RACE DAY TIPS FOR YOUR FIRST MARATHON
  7. RECOVERING FROM YOUR FIRST MARATHON

Thoughts?