If there is one thing HOKA knows, it’s how to make a running shoe. While they offer multiple silhouettes and styles, the ONE Rocket X is consistently a favorite among all types of runners. Built using an EVA midsole, the shoe helps you make the most of every step by being extra responsive and propelling you forward. The upper is made up of breathable mesh to deliver optimal airflow so that your feet don’t overheat on longer runs. Within the shoe, there is a 1mm carbon fiber plate that adds more stability.
Tackle every run in comfort and style with the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 23. It is engineered to fit your foot like a glove. TRUSSTIC technology is what gives the shoe that structured stability. The shoe features a combination of ultra-soft GEL technology and a FlyteFoam midsole. Together they give you the cushioning and energy return that will keep you running longer than you thought possible. The outsole is made up of AHARLITE, which gives the shoe optimal grip and traction while also increasing its durability.
The Saucony Guide 14 has everything you look for in a running shoe. The synthetic mesh upper will keep your foot dry, so you don’t feel like you’re running in a puddle of your own sweat after a couple miles. The upper also has a 3D-engineered fascia which is crucial for providing stability. The PWRRUN foam midsole provides all the cushioning you could ever want and more so that you feel like you’re running on air.
There is a reason many professional runners place their trust in Brooks: they make an amazing running shoe. The Levitate 4 is 20% lighter than the previous iteration, making sure there is as little weighing you down as possible. The Fit Knit upper has a close-to-foot fit that is light, soft, and allows maximum breathability. Brooks DNA AMP midsole technology puts a spring in each step you take so you get speedy, efficient energy return.
There may be no better feeling during a run than when that runner’s high kicks in. You begin to feel invincible, like you could go forever. The Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit is built to help you power through those miles with ZoomX foam in the midsole that gives back as much energy as you put in. The Flyknit upper allows your foot to breathe freely while staying comfortable. There is also padding around the collar that provides extra ankle support.
To get the most out of your run, you need a pair of shoes to help your body operate as efficiently as possible (while remaining comfortable). The first step to choosing the right pair of running shoes is understanding how your feet work.
The Science Of Your Stride
With every step, you generate force that must be absorbed and distributed across your foot and through your entire body. To safely do this, your foot becomes flexible upon impact, expanding and rolling slightly inward (this action is also referred to as pronation). As you move through your stride towards toe-off, your foot then becomes more rigid as the muscles and ligaments in your legs prepare to launch you forward into your next step. This entire process (known as your gait cycle) happens in less than a second.
With so many moving parts, it’s no surprise that achieving a smooth, natural stride is easier said than done. The mechanics of running are unique to every person, but it’s important to remember that everybody pronates. It’s the foot’s natural motion. So when deciding on the best type of shoe for your feet, it’s best not to ask, “Do my feet pronate?” but rather, “How much do my feet pronate?” Some feet roll in too far (overpronation) while others don’t become flexible enough (supination). And without the right shoes, both can cause discomfort or leave you vulnerable to injury.
So, what’s the best way to find out how your foot operates? That’s easy. All you need is a piece of paper and a little water.
The Footprint Test
Wet the bottom of your foot.
Step onto the piece of paper.
Just like that, you have all the information you need to choose the right pair of running shoes. Let’s look at your footprint:
Flat Can you see the full outline of your foot? Then that means you have low arches (commonly known as flat feet). Flat feet tend to flex more than other arch types and are more likely to overpronate. Since your feet don’t have as much natural arch support, you’ll need to find shoes to provide that support for you during the gait cycle. Look for stability shoes with tech features to help stabilize your feet and prevent injury.
Medium If your footprint shows the ball and heel of your foot connected by a wide band, you have medium arches and plenty of options for shoes that will work with your foot type. Try neutral shoes or, for a little extra support, stability shoes.
High If your footprint shows a very narrow band (or perhaps no band) between the heel and ball of your foot, you have high arches. Feet with high arches pronate less than other arch types and can tend towards supination (the outward rolling of the heel upon impact). This makes it difficult for your body to safely absorb the force you create with each step. The best shoe type for you is a neutral running shoe with plenty of cushioning.
Flat feet have the tendency to overpronate (roll too far inward). Without the right pair of shoes to help stabilize your feet, overpronation can put extra stress on your joints and muscles. Some stability shoes are made specifically for flat feet and are described as “motion control.” These usually feature posts or wedges in the midsole to support flat arches and reduce excessive rolling.
But even if you’re in the pronation “sweet spot” with medium arches, a little extra support never hurts, especially since feet are more likely to overpronate as your body tires. So, if you’re a long-distance runner with medium arches, a stability shoe is a great choice for fighting fatigue.
Stability shoes pair light, responsive foams with firmer midsole materials, combining cushioning and support to keep you running strong and injury free.
Neutral If you’re a high-arched runner with a tendency to supinate, it’s best to find a shoe to enhance your natural running mechanics.
Neutral running shoes are lightweight and comfortably cushioned. They’re all about a smooth ride and allowing your foot to move naturally, so they feature soft, responsive midsoles that return energy with every step.