Need new running shoes? Start off on the right foot.

Ever wondered when it’s time to get new running shoes, or what type of running shoes you should buy? With so many options on the market these days it can be difficult to choose the most appropriate shoe for you. Here are a few helpful tips for when you next find yourself staring at a wall of running shoes wondering which ones are the right ones for you.

Science hasn’t yet determined the optimal timeframe for how many Kms an average running shoe should travel. In most circumstances, it depends on the material it’s made of and whether it’s used for any other activities other than running. As a general rule, when you’ve worn the tread layer and you start to see the sole layer of your shoe – it’s time to ditch them. Uneven wear can cause a change in running mechanics which can lead to injury.

What to look for when buying new running shoes:

  • Measure/size your feet every time prior to buying. It’s important to note that you may have slight differences in the size of your right and left foot.
  • Most shoe stores have technology to analyse your walking pattern in-store, however, be aware the analysis of walking is very different to running.
  • Try on shoes at the end of the day. This way your feet are as swollen as they are likely to become and the shoes won’t feel tight.
  • Pick a shoe that’s lightweight.
  • Pick a shoe with a wide toe box. You should be able to wiggle your toes with ease. Shoes with narrow toe boxes may not allow appropriate spread of the foot bones, which can interfere with normal force distribution in the foot while running.
  • Ensure there’s about a thumb-width of space between the end of your big toe and the front of the shoe.
  • Be aware that inwards movement of the foot arch (eversion/pronation) is a natural shock absorber and is normal during walking and running. This may affect how much arch support you choose. Runners may be told they need lots of arch support, however the opposite may be true. Too much movement can be corrected with exercises to strengthen the foot rather than a shoe with lots of arch support.

What to avoid:

  • Avoid excessive cushioning. Shoes with too much cushioning can promote poor mechanics.
  • Avoid shoes with a high heel cushion and a low forefoot cushion.
  • Avoid shoes with high arch support. Store bought orthotics are a temporary fix, if you have concerns you should seek assistance from an Orthotist to address your foot strength.

With these helpful tips, you’ll be starting off on the right foot when you next go to buy your running shoes.

If you have followed these tips to purchase a new pair of running shoes, but still experience pain or discomfort, it is a good idea to see one of our friendly Accredited Exercise Physiologists here at Absolute Balance for a running biomechanics assessment and functional movement screen to determine if you running style may be the cause of your concerns. If you would like to contact one of the team, send an email to or head to our website for more information.


Bianca Dobrich (B.Sc. Human Movement, Grad Dip. Exercise Rehabilitation)

Exercise Consultant – Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) (ESSAM)