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What Are the Best Running Shoes for Different Types of Runners?

written by: Sylvie Colette • edited by: Angela Atkinson • updated: 8/27/2010

With such a wide variety of shoes on the market, choosing the best running shoes for different types of runners can be tricky. Several factors should be taken into account, including things like gait, speed, weight, and pace.

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    Running shoes are a runner's most important piece of equipment. The right shoes will help prevent injury and can even contribute to an improvement in your physical performance. Running shoes should fit your feet snugly and comfortably. The specific type of shoes you should choose depends on a number of factors, including the frequency of your training and your performance level, among others. Every runner's workout conditions and physical needs are unique, but the extensive variety of running shoes available in today's market makes it possible for nearly anyone to find the perfect shoe.
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    Trail Running Shoes

    Trail running shoes need to be stable and provide grip for a changing terrain that could be dirt, slippery rock or mud. Marathoners who compete in trail running and cross country events have different needs than their road running counterparts. The top trail running shoes for this type of runner include the following:

    • Outrider by Aslo, which is a lightweight trainer that has the feel of a slipper. The outsole features cleats for enhanced traction and is useful when climbing or descending.
    • The Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel XC is a good shoe for those who mainly run on smooth trails. It is also a good choice for racers. Both Women's Adventure magazine and Trail Runner magazine calls it the best racing shoe tested. It has also received an award from National Geographic Adventure magazine.
    • Montrail Rockridge performs well in the worst of conditions. A very grippy shoe, it also features a wide toe box and offers extra protection from sharp objects underfoot. The extra stable support around the ankle prevents rolls and sprains which can be a real concern when running on uneven ground.
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    Long Distance Runners

    Marathon runners should look for shoes that are lightweight. After lifting your feet for hours, you will want the least amount of weight on your legs as possible. Ventilation is another important feature, especially since sweaty feet can cause blisters.

    Here are a few examples of ideal running shoes for different types long distance runners:

    • New Balance 1226 is a plush shoe that is a little heavier than the average shoe for long-distances, but the cushioning makes it a good choice for people who want a sturdy platform when running. The extra protection can come in handy on hot pavement, where a thin soled shoe could begin to cause problems for the runner.
    • Asics Gel-Foundation 9 running shoes provide a smooth, solid run. The motion control features are well executed. This shoe is particularly recommended for those who overpronate since it stabilizes the foot.
    • Karhu running shoes are suggested for people who hit their heels hard when running. The firm heel box keeps the impact from causing injury.
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    Overweight or Obese Runners

    Marathon runners come in all shapes and sizes. Overweight or obese runners in particular need to look for shoe that offers the support they need when running. Heavier shoes are more appropriate and include styles such as:

    • Adidas Supernova Cushion has an impressive fit. The two heel plates and midfoot wrap help isolate impact and reduce side to side movement when running. This shoe is ideal for overweight or obese runners with a normal to high arch.
    • Brooks Dyad II is a long-lasting shoe that is a good choice for overweight or obese runners with flat feet. The neutral base and generous width paired with just the right amount of cushioning.
    • Saucony GRID Trigon Durable lives up to its name. This durable shoe provides impact resistance and the stability that a heavier runner needs.
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    References

    ePodiatry: Running Shoes - http://www.epodiatry.com/running-shoes.htm

    Trail Runner Magazine - http://www.trailrunnermag.com/

    Runner's World - http://www.runnersworld.com/

    Running Times - http://runningtimes.com/