Learn More About Running Shoes
What to Consider When Buying Running Shoes
The right pair of running shoes set you apart on the starting line. And the latest footwear technology keeps you comfortable and ready for the next lap ahead.
Shop industry-leading women’s running shoes and men’s running shoes at DICK’S Sporting Goods. Runners of all stripes can find the footwear that matches their course. Hearty trail-running shoes provide extra traction and stability, while lean sprinting shoes are lightweight and designed for speed. Middle-distance runners can step out in footwear that’s lightweight yet cushioned for both comfort and speed.
Best of all, the latest running shoes come with a variety of specialized technologies and materials that help make your run easier than ever. Need a little extra cushion? How about extra ankle support? Want an ultra-lightweight shoe? Find it from leading running brands, like Nike® running shoes, asics®, Saucony® and Brooks®.
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 is the essential toward selecting the best running shoe for you. Pronation is a term used to describe 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. Overpronation and underpronation can cause injuries if the runner is not wearing the proper shoe.