Working out is part of a healthy lifestyle. While indoor fitness centers are popular among active people, there are also ‘Ways You Can Adjust Your Workout If You Cannot Go to the Gym’, as we pointed out in a previous post. One of the best alternatives is running as it offers cardio, strength, and endurance training all at once.

Another great thing about running is that the only gear you actually need is a good pair of shoes. There are hundreds of running shoe choices out there, making it difficult to pick out the best one. But what makes it more complicated is that you should make sure that the pair you get fits well and is comfortable with your running stride, rather than simply looking for a design you like. Getting the right shoes is important since it gives a good foundation for your entire body. Clinical exercise physiologist Kathryn Vera explains how good and well-fitting running shoes prevent injuries and strain no matter how far you run. This is especially important if you already have knee, hip, or back problems.

With that, here are some general guidelines to follow when looking for the best running shoe for you:

Wide toe box

The toe box is the part of the shoe that surrounds the toes. Toe boxes are usually capped with reinforced toe bumpers that prevent stubbing. When looking for a running shoe, pay attention to the fit of the toe box. Make sure your foot can naturally flex and spread out.

The Hoka One One Rocket X is a running shoe that fits true to size. It has a mesh upper that gives enough space in the toe box for any swelling that you might experience during long runs.

Stable and responsive cushioning

The midsole, which is the foam material between the outsole and the upper, is what’s responsible for the shoe’s cushioning. For this, you’ll want something that has the firmness or softness you’re comfortable with, as well as something lightweight. The specific parts of the shoe you should pay most attention to in terms of cushioning are the heel and forefoot. For heel cushioning, you should have a balance of cushioning, stability, and ground feel. But for forefoot cushioning, you’ll want something responsive to give you a good push-off platform.

Nike Running offers some of the best cushioned running shoes. Its newest pair, the Nike ZoomX StreakFly, is a mid-distance shoe that features ZoomX cushioning made from the high-tech polymer Pebax. This works in tandem with a Pebax midfoot plate. Together, they create a soft and springy cushioning with energy-returning capabilities. This allows for a comfortable, lightweight, and propulsive run while also offering stability.

Durable outsole

The outsole is the part of the shoe that comes into contact with the ground. Rubber or foam compounds are placed in strategic places to improve wear life, bounce, and flexibility. When considering a running shoe’s outsole you’ll want something durable that provides stability and good traction without adding too much weight or stiffness.

Brooks models generally have softer outsoles than other brands while still having plenty of traction. The Brooks Levitate 4 has outsole grooves that allow for better roll-through when the foot strikes the ground. Its outsole is slightly softer than its previous versions, as well as lighter and more flexible. The shoes are very durable, so much so that it shows less wear than many competitor shoes even after many miles.

We hope the above tips prove useful if you are just starting out on your running journey. Finding the right shoe will elevate your performance and comfort, which in turn will keep you motivated to keep running.