7 things I look for in my next running shoe

Prior to learning about midfoot landing, I was wearing two pairs of Mizuno and two pairs of New Balance cushioned running shoes for my heel striking comfort. Then I injured my knees and I had to stop running for half a year. 

I then tried to find ways to learn how to have injury-free running. That's when I learn about chi running and Skechers' midfoot technology.

I have run in four pairs of Skechers running shoes since then. And great thanks to Skechers midfoot technology, it has helped me to correct my running form and transition me to a midfoot landing runner most of times (unless I'm unconscious and I fall back to heel striking again! haha!).

But my support for Skechers running shoes stopped 1.5 years ago due to the fact that Skechers doesn't carry half size shoe in Malaysia. In fact, I bought three out of four pairs of my Skechers shoes overseas.

I also bought a pair of Newton Gravity during sale to try out forefoot running. But I wasn't used to the 4-lug system and the forefoot landing back then. 

Now I train and race wearing Saucony Kinvara running shoes. I own three pairs now. 

With the wear and tear of my current Saucony Kinvara running shoes, it's time for me to look for new running shoes again!

What should I buy next? 
  • Should I buy another pair of Saucony Kinvara?
  • Should I try other brands (Brooks, New Balance, ASICS, etc)? 
  • Should I take this opportunity to find a pair of running shoes that can help me to learn forefoot running?

What am I looking for in my next running shoe?

What am I really looking for in my next running shoe then? I have listed down seven (7) things I look for. It looks like a long list but hey - I need a pair of running shoes that fits my feet well for many hundreds of kilometers. So I shall be rather particular about it, right? haha!

1. Running shoe that promotes forefoot running

  • It took me 1.5 years to learn and transition from heel landing to mid foot landing. Great thanks to Skechers running shoes' mid foot technology! I'm not a 100% mid foot landing running yet as I still have inclination to fall back to heel striking unconsciously. However, now I would like to learn and transition from heel / mid foot running to forefoot running. 

2. Running shoe that has wider toe box

  • How I wish I have "normal feet". :) Unfortunately, I have wider feet which makes shoe purchase a bit harder. Running shoe with wider toe box is a must. Previously I had running shoe with normal toe box. I ended up having black toe nails and bruised toes quite often.

3. Running shoe that is half-size bigger

  • U.S. shoe size 9.5 to be precise. I used to wear U.S. shoe size 9.0 but I ended up having my toes pushing against my shoe after running more than 21 km in a full marathon. Therefore, having half size bigger giving room for my feet to expand is critically important since I run full marathons.

4. Running shoe that is neutral, less cushioned and with 4 mm heel drop

  • I'm not really a fan of cushioned running shoe. But my first couple pairs of running shoes were with thick cushion though. ha! ha! Or rather, I should say I have trained myself to run as neutral as possible with my feet having the feel of the ground I land on.  My Saucony and Skechers running shoes are all with 4mm heel drop. I guess I'm quite comfortable with it already.

5. Running shoe that is fast, light and durable.

  • Again, this might be used to personal preference. I have tried my best to learn proper running technique and form via chi running or mid foot landing and higher cadence, etc. In order to feel the ground, I need my running shoe to be as light as possible. It will be best if the weight is below 9 oz. With its lightness, hopefully it will be a fast running shoe with some sort of energy return or bounce back factor. But most fast running shoes don't have very good duration with rather fast wear and tear.

6. Running shoe that looks great, even for casual wear

  • Most of my running shoes are in bright colors - red, orange, neon green. Bright colors is extremely good for safety reason during run. It allows others to see you when you run. But the problem is: after its wear and tear and not suitable for racing anymore, it's rather hard to wear the running shoe. How to match neon green with any other colors of shirt or pants to wear to office? haha! May be for youngsters but not so much for those age 40 and above. 😉

7. Running shoe that doesn't cost a bomb, best bought during sale

  • Nowadays, running can be expensive. With the depreciation of Malaysian Ringgit, it makes it worse for us runners. Sob Son! Running shoes, running vests, running shorts, compression tights, hydration bags, energy gels, etc are some of the tech and gear that runners are looking for. Running shoe can easily cost up to RM600 or more. The normal price range is between RM350 and RM500. I usually buy only during great sale for an older version / model due to budget constraint. And I'm wiling to pay maximum RM400 for my next running shoe, preferably the cheaper the better. 

Headache! Headache! Headache! 

Based on seven things I look for in my next running shoe, appreciate if you can recommend or advise. Thanks.

Written by Vincent Khor on September 3, 2017.


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