Runners at every level can find running shoes for their specific needs. Trail-running shoes provide extra traction and stability, while many road-running shoes are lightweight and designed for speed. Middle-distance runners can step out in footwear that’s lightweight and cushioned for both comfort and speed.
Consider whether you need extra cushion, additional ankle support or an ultra-lightweight shoe. The latest running shoes come with a variety of specialized technologies and materials that help support your run. If you're running with a little one, shop jogging strollers.
Need help choosing the right pair? Check out running shoe reviews on individual product pages. If you find a lower price on running shoes somewhere else, we’ll match it with our Best Price Guarantee.
Learn about the anatomy of your running shoe before making your choice.
Upper: The upper is the soft body of the shoe, usually made of a combination of materials from lightweight, durable synthetic mesh to heavier materials like leather. The materials and construction of the upper provide stability, comfort and a snug fit.
Toe Box: The front part of the shoe. The toe box should provide ample room to allow the foot to flex and make the toe-off portion of the running motion more comfortable. A toe box that is too small will restrict the muscles and tendons in the foot and lead to pain and cramping.
Heel Counter: A plastic or composite material used to reinforce the heel area and increase stability. Heel counters come in varying degrees of stiffness. An external heel counter generally provides the most motion control and stability.
Achilles Notch: A groove in the back of the heel collar that protects the Achilles tendon. The notch provides a snug, secure fit preventing irritation to the tendon.
Last: This is the basic shape of the shoe. Running shoes have one of three basic lasts: straight, curved and semi-curved.
Straight: Heavier and provides more support under the arch.
Curved: Lighter and less supportive.
Semi-Curved: A hybrid of the two others and is capable of providing support under the arch.
Insole: The removable part inside the shoe that the runner's foot rests on. It offers more cushioning to supplement the midsole for added comfort.
Midsole: Provides cushioning and, in certain shoe types, the midsole evenly disperses pressure on the foot.
Outsole: The bottom layer of the shoe that is in direct contact with the ground.
Determining your gait mechanics can help you choose the best running shoe for you. Pronation describes the natural inward roll of the foot during a runner's gait cycle. After the heel strikes the ground, the heel and the ankle roll inward and weight is transferred to the midfoot. If you overpronate or underpronate, look for a running shoe that's specially designed to provide the support you need.
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