Arguably the most important part of a runners gear is their running shoes. The range and variety of shoes today is mind-boggling with rapid developments in shoe technology. It can be a challenge knowing where to start!
A running shoe may help you with one or more of the following:
to run in more comfort
to run faster
to run more efficiently
to reduce your injury risk when running
to reduce muscle fatigue during or after running
How much a particular shoe helps with each of these factors is not only dependent on the shoe but also the way it works with each individual. It's highly unlikely that one shoe will achieve all 5 of these improvements.
A lot of technology and development has gone into running shoes over the past 100 years, check out:
A Brief History of Running Shoes
Running Shoe Anatomy
Shoe Brands and Technologies
I'm a strong advocate of having multiple pairs of shoes, particularly if you are running more than 3 times per week, or chasing improved speed or endurance. When choosing shoes consider what you are looking to get out of them. For example, do you need a shoe to get you through your longer runs or are you looking for a second pair of lighter shoes for your faster sessions? That way you can match the qualities of the shoe to your needs.
Also think about your previous experiences with shoes and what worked or didn't work.
there is nothing wrong with online shopping or going to a large sports store, just be aware that you won’t get the same level of input or quality guidance that you will get from a good specialist retailer. Be mindful of being talked into a particular model or brand of shoe just because that’s the only shoe in your size – this isn’t a reason to buy it! Also, just because the model you bought 5 years ago worked really well doesn’t automatically mean that the current version will.