Time to Consider Friends With Benefits and Forget Long Term Relationships (With Running Shoes)

One of my favorite questions to ask a runner is what shoe they run in and why. The first answer is usually pretty easy for them to come up with and the second response is usually pretty typical. I usually find it to be one of the following: “I’ve always run in (insert shoe)”, “My friend runs in this shoe.”, “I’ve heard that (insert company) makes a good running shoe.”, or several other responses. All of these responses are nauseating to me and come with a mental eye roll. These are absolutely terrible responses if that is their only reason for choosing a shoe.

Remember your first relationship? There are a lot of good reasons why it didn’t last and why the person you are with now is a heck of a lot better. You’re smarter now, you’ve gotten experience, you’ve learned, and you know what you want. (To those who married high school sweethearts, erm, Congrats!:)) To run in the exact same running shoe simply because you always have is asinine, especially if you have no idea why you bought that shoe in the first place. Not to mention a wide variety of shoe models and companies pop up every year, pushing the envelope of technology and function. If you’ve run in the same shoe for 20 years, you’re missing out on countless opportunities.

When purchasing anything in life, some questions should come to mind. Some purchases require more thought than others such as a car, house, TV, and of course running shoes. Running shoes are a medical investment and preventative care. A running shoe is going to affect every aspect of your training, gait, posture, and a myriad of other things. You NEED to be informed about the features and specs of your running shoes.

So what should you be asking your local running shoe store employee when you go in?

  • Why did you pick this shoe for me?
  • How will this shoe help to make me a better runner?
  • How will this shoe affect my biomechanics?
  • What is the heel toe offset of this shoe?
  • How does the toe box width compare to other shoes?
  • Where is the research to support the claims this shoe company makes?
  • Do you have an agenda or requirement to encourage one shoe versus another?
  • How can this shoe help to make me faster?
  • How can this shoe help my efficiency?
  • How will this shoe help to prevent (or cause) injuries.


This is just a short list to get you started. Going in and buying running shoes with little to no knowledge is running Russian roulette. It can end very badly. Get over your love affair and long term relationship with your current shoe or shoe brand. Make the store employee earn their paycheck and ask to try on a wide variety of shoes each and every time. Be polygamous! Run in several different brands and models during your training. Each will stress the foot in different ways and can be good strength training. Develop a few shoes with benefits relationships and don’t be afraid to cheat on them. After all, they are only running shoes and do not have emotions or feelings…yet.



4 replies
  1. Mary
    Mary says:

    Thank you for the awesome list- I’m taking it with me shopping this week! I desperately need new shoes and I’ve been thinking about breaking up with my Mizunos in favor of Newtons????!? Good idea? Great idea?


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