The first and most important step you can take when purchasing a new pair of shoes is to buy them from folks who really know what they are doing.

There’s no question that the single most important piece of equipment for runners is—you guessed it— running shoes. So careful consideration should go into what shoes you buy. The first and most important step you can take when purchasing a new pair of shoes is to buy them from folks who really know what they are doing, like the experts at Ready to Run.

A staff member will ask you questions pertaining to what type of running you do, your mileage, look at foot type, and from there, narrow it down to whether you may do best in a stability, cushioned, or neutral shoe. Brand is not that important a factor, however any pair of running shoes you buy should be very comfortable right out of the box. No breaking in should be needed, no exceptions.

While the experts will guide your decision, it doesn’t hurt to be armed with some knowledge up front.

  • Start by determining whether you are an under or over-pronator. During over-pronation, a runner’s arches collape too far inward after the foot strike, which can lead to injury. In contrast, high-arched runners tend to under-pronate—their arches do not collapse enough and don’t do as good a job absorbing shock.
  • If you have flat feet, chances are you are an over-pronator and may need stability shoes, which include dual-density midsoles, and medial posts for additional support.
  • Folks with high-arches tend to be under-pronators. They should look for neutral/cushioned shoes with softer midsoles.
  • Runners with normal arches usually don’t have pronation problems, and can use neutral, or moderate stability shoes.
  • Once you decide which shoe type you need, brand may play a role in that some brands just work better for you. The “last” – the actual shape or template that the show is cut from comes in to play here. For example, many people swear by Asics because the fit is right, while others may feel that way about Brooks.

Now that you and your Ready to Run expert have narrowed it down to a few different models, the next step is to lace them up and jog around the store. Your expert will watch your gait while you yourself get a feel for the way the shoe acts during actual running.

Once you’ve bought your new shoes, and begun training in them, the next question is, “how often should I replace my running shoes?” Most running authorities recommend new shoes every 300-500 miles. While this may seem like a “one-size-fits-all” answer (no pun intended), it’s meant to help address the fact that even if the outsole appears pretty decent, the midsole breaks down over that many miles and no longer offers the protection you need.

Considering the myriad of benefits you gain through running, it’s well worth this nominal investment!

Upcoming races: Saturday, October 14 at 8:00 a.m., Run with the Heroes 5K at Camp Mabry, 2200 W. 35th St., Austin. Saturday, October 20 at 8:00 a.m., Barnabas Connection 5K at 100 Blue Hole Ln. in