The past two years have turned many people into runners. This may have been because it was one of the few exercises you could safely do outdoors with little to no equipment. In fact, about 15% of the US population currently engages in some form of running or jogging, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Additionally, around 55% of runners achieved a new personal best in distance running in 2020 according to a report by fitness app Strava. And with that rise also came a new generation of shoes meant to promote speed, agility and comfort. But, with so many options on the market, which are the best running sneakers for you? And how do you know what to look for?

Indeed, not all running shoes are created equal because not all feet are created equal, and not just any old pair in the category. There are several things to consider. First, notice how your feet move as you run. “Some people have active feet that try to grip the ground when running, which means they need a more minimalist platform,” says Matthew Scarfo, certified personal trainer and running coach at TZR. “Maximum running shoes, or those that are heavily cushioned, can cause blurring during a run that makes them unstable and can cause foot strain, leading to foot cramps and fatigue.”

Sid Baptista, founder of PYNRS and running coach, supports this idea, explaining that each person’s gait is unique and that the initial contact of your foot with the ground can be a heel, midfoot or heel strike. the forefoot. “I would recommend starting with a gait analysis at a local running store to determine what kind of support you might need and how much support from a shoe you might need,” he says. “If you’re having trouble getting a gait analysis, a neutral shoe might be a good place to start.”

Speaking of starting points, Baptista adds that all running newbies should avoid spending more than $120 to $130 on their first pair of sneakers. “Because you’re new to this, your wants and needs will change as you run, so you don’t want to break the bank,” he says. More experienced runners, he adds, could benefit from a change in running shoes and brands, as well as levels of cushioning and the like. And for experts who practice long distance workouts, chances are you know what works for your body and limbs at this point. “Try running in a different shoe at different distances,” says Baptista. “For shorter runs, use a faster, lighter shoe, and for longer runs, use a more cushioned shoe to support your joints as you put in the miles.”

While it might seem like a lot of work and time spent selecting a simple sneaker, Baptista explains that picking the wrong style for your foot could have painful, long-lasting consequences. “You may develop blisters, corns and calluses on your feet, your feet may ache during or after every run, or worse, you may end up with plantar fasciitis or tendonitis,” he says. “It can also create a domino effect – if you don’t treat any foot injuries, it can move up the leg, affecting your IT band, knees, hips and back.”

Another crucial piece of advice that often gets muddled in the running conversation is how often to replace your shoes. Yes, just like your favorite pair of flats that tear and wear out, sneakers do the same, especially when running outdoors on dirt trails or sidewalks. “On average, you’ll want to replace your running shoe every 300 to 500 miles,” recommends Baptista. “As you get closer to the 300 mile mark, keep an eye on the sole of the shoe for visible wear. Often one shoe wears out more than the other. If you don’t replace a worn shoe, this could lead to many running injuries, including but not limited to shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and runner’s knee.

Want to invest in a new pair of running sneakers? The choices below are some of the most popular and loved by racers, trainers, and trainers. Browse through the choices ahead and get ready for takeoff.

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