How do you pick your running shoes?


After running three marathons, a half-dozen halves, and a few shorter races, I should know which running shoes work for me.

I mean sure, someone measured my feet. I know their size, arches, and strike when they hit the pavement when I run. I browse the Runner’s World Shoe Finder from time-to-time.

I know Brooks Ghost series typically cause me the least amount of problems. I rarely experience odd pains after I wear them. I started training for my first marathon  in 2010 in Ghost 3s. The Ghost 4s and 5s got me through two marathons uninjured. And in comparison to other shoes, Brooks are just the most comfortable once they get broke in.

Problem is, at least for me, they also feel chunky, and if I wear a different type of shoes for a bit, Brooks feel like I’m running with marshmallows on my feet.

As some with neutral pronation, I have tried Adidas and Aesics. The Adidas was the alternate shoe I wore during my first spring training and were lighter. Unfortunately, I could never make them loose enough through lacing or tying. My feet would naturally swell slightly during warm runs and the restrictive nature of the shoe would bother me. Ultimately, I ditched the Adidas right before the first marathon to go back to the Ghost 3s I started training in.

I don’t know cause-and-effect here, but I ended that race with the stress fractures in my tibia. I broke the cardinal rule of not having enough miles on my Ghosts before the marathon. And who is to say I didn’t have the stress fractures before hitting the starting line? I mean, there was the mild swelling.

The Aesics on the other hand were relatively comfortable. They were slightly lighter than the Brooks and felt great . . . until I took them off. The shoes rubbed blisters on strange places on my feet and blackened a few toe nails. I finally gave them up because I was tired of wearing band aids and it was flip-flop season. Black toe nails look gross.

So, back to the Brooks, until I was convinced by a running shop clerk a month ago to give Mizuno a try. The shoe weight is less, along with the cushioning and heal drop. The shoes haven’t rubbed funny, or necessarily done me wrong. I just worry whether they will offer enough support as I get into longer distances this go round. I am already experiencing the occasional sore spot in my shin, or tenderness in my foot.

I realize I am a bit neurotic when it comes to running shoes, especially after the stress fractures from the first race. And whether I am completely willing to admit it, I also like magic. You know, that perfect shoe that’s going to up my game, without necessarily being dependent on the feet, or runner, attached to the shoe.

So, now I debate, do I get the second pair of Mizuno’s when the time comes to replace them (usually around 400 miles of wear is what I hear is typical), or do I retreat back to the dependable Brooks? What are your thoughts?


2 thoughts on “How do you pick your running shoes?

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