Running Shoes

Running shoes come in all shapes and sizes. From thick-soled maximalist trainers to light and fast racing flats, there are running shoes for every need—and every runner. The best running shoes for you, though, might not be the same as the best shoe for your co-worker or that guy in your running club.

Shop all running shoes at Fleet Feet, or see the latest men's running shoes and women's running shoes to stay on top of your training, plus get free shipping on all orders over $99.

How Should Running Shoes Fit?

Your running shoes should be comfortable. Period.

If they're too small, you risk mashing your toes into the front of the shoe or squeezing the ball of your foot until you're numb. Too big, and you can slide around, chafe and feel like you're wearing flippers.

But when you get the fit right, you're in for mile after mile of happy running. Here's what you should look for in a running shoe:

  • Comfort. If you try on a running shoe and it's not comfortable in the store, it won't be comfortable when you start running. Start by finding a shoe that's comfortable when you first step in and lace it up.
  • Size. Your feet can change sizes as you age, so you might find a shoe that fit you a couple years ago doesn't work now. Sizes also differ slightly between brands. Get your feet measured to find the right size for you.
  • Fit. There should be about a thumbnail worth of space between the end of your big toe and the front of the shoe. The extra length will give your toes some wiggle room. Also check the width; if your foot is bulging over the sides of the shoe, consider trying a wide-fit running shoe.
  • Price. Like scratchy bedsheets or flimsy furniture, you get what you pay for with running shoes. High-quality modern running shoes are designed for durability, comfort and protection, and their prices can reflect that. A cheap running shoe will be easy on your wallet at first, but it will wear out sooner—and possibly leave you worn out with an injury. Don't be afraid to invest in quality shoes if you can. They'll prove themselves worth it.

Types of Running Shoes

There are three main categories of running shoes: road running shoes, trail running shoes and race day shoes. Here's what that means.

  • Road running shoes. Road shoes are designed for the streets. Abrasion-resistant rubber outsoles hold up to rough concrete, and premium fabrics make for a comfortable fit.
  • Trail running shoes. Unlike road models, trail running shoes are designed for dirt, gravel, mud and anything else you might find when the pavement ends. Trail shoes employ stickier rubber outsoles, aggressive lugs and increased durability so you can go off road.
  • Race shoes. The fastest shoes in your closet, race day shoes give you an extra boost when you need it most. They're made to be minimal and lightweight, so they aren't ideal for your daily training. But lace them up when you toe the starting line and they'll help deliver your fastest times yet.

There are a couple smaller categories of shoes used for specific sports, too. Cross country shoes and track spikes are designed to meet the demands of competitive athletes.

Like road racing shoes, these models are the lightest and fastest of the bunch. But they're built for a singular purpose: to run on a track or cross country course.

Cross country shoes and spikes are engineered for the unpredictable conditions of an XC course. These shoes can come with a spike plate to give runners better traction on varied terrain, and they have some cushioning to stand up to the longer races.

Track spikes are only meant to be used on the track, and they come in models tuned for different distances. Sprint spikes use an aggressive shape that keeps runners on their toes, while distance spikes have a shallower heel-to-toe drop and can include some cushioning.

Stability Running Shoes

Runners not only have to think about what surface they're running on but also how they run. There are two things to think about: pronation and footstrike.

What is Pronation?

Pronation is the natural inward roll of your foot as it transitions from heel to toe during your normal stride. Every runner pronates, but it can become a problem if you overpronate or underpronate.

There are the two main types of running shoes:

  • Neutral running shoes. Neutral shoes don't offer any targeted support for overpronation or underpronation. These shoes typically use the same foam density all the way from heel to toe, and they don't add any posts or supports.
  • Stability running shoes. Runners who overpronate put extra force on the inside part of their shoes, which can cause shoes to wear out prematurely. So running shoe companies counter overpronation by using denser foam on the inside (called the medial side) of the shoe. The denser foam compresses less and lasts longer, so the shoe wears evenly from medial to lateral side. Shop all women's stability running shoes and men's stability running shoes.

Free Shipping & Returns

Not sure about buying a new pair of running shoes? Don't sweat it. Get free shipping on orders over $99 when you shop on fleetfeet.com.

If you don't like how your new shoes look, fit or feel, we'll take them back within 60 days. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.

Don't know where to start? Check out our guides for running shoes, running clothes and massage tools to get you going.