The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Types of Running Shoes: NYC Podiatrists Share Their Top Picks

Posted by on Monday, November 6th, 2017

The vastness of a running shoe store is something you have to mentally prepare yourself for. While it may be tempting to grab the most attractive pair off the shelf and call it a day, NYC podiatrists caution that there is a particular running shoe for every type of foot. “Making the wrong choice without regard for individual foot anatomy is a common source of foot pain and pathology,” explains Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, a podiatrist and foot surgeon with over 40 years of experience at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in Manhattan and White Plains. Dr. Geldwert adds, “No one wants to be sidelined because they trained in the wrong type of running shoe. We invite any NYC runner who is logging a lot of miles to come in for a basic foot exam, gait analysis, or simply to discuss shoe choice options before trouble occurs.” Today, we cover the types of running shoes and the brands NYC podiatrists recommend so you can find your perfect fit.

Do you have the best running shoes for your feet?
Do you have the best running shoes for your feet? Image Source: Unsplash user Kristian Olsen.

Basic Types of Running Shoes

The types of shoes you’ll find in stores, from “lightest” to “heaviest,” include:

Racing Flats

Racing flats are the lightest foot protection runners wear. These flexible shoes are built strictly for speed and are the preferred shoe type for competitive sprinters. On average, racing flats have 15 percent less cushioning than standard trainers, which could save you 20-30 seconds off your time in a 10K race. These shoes are not widely recommended for longer races, however, as the absence of heel lifts can increase the strain on the Achilles tendon. After wearing trainers on practice runs, you’ll feel especially fleet of foot in your flats!  Some brands, like Vibram, are deemed “barefoot running shoes” and fit more like a glove than a standard shoe. Before wearing racing flats in a race, you’ll want to take them on a few short runs and participate in speed-work drills to break them in.

Examples: Saucony Kilkenny, Mizuno Wave, Brooks Mach 17 Spikeless

Light Trainers

Lightweight trainers have less cushioning than trainers, so they are not as durable for everyday use. The weight of this shoe category ranges from 6.5 to 10.5 ounces. Competitive long-distance runners (who run seven-minute miles or less) like to wear light trainers on race days for better injury protection compared to flats. It takes a few weeks to break in this type of shoe, so you’ll need to keep workouts shorter in duration and less intense when transitioning to a light training shoe.

Examples: On Cloudflow, Nike FlyKnit Racer, Adidas AriZero Boston Boost 6

Trail Shoes

Trail shoes have come a long way from the modified hiking boots of old. Light, breathable nylon mesh has made these shoes lighter than ever. What was once a high-top boot is now more of a modified running shoe. The bottoms are outfitted with extra traction, deep treads, and hard rubber outsoles running the length of the shoe. Trail shoes are only really necessary if you do more than half your miles on trails.

Examples: Adidas Tracerocker, Salomon Speedcross 4 CS, Brooks Cascadia 12

Specialty Running Shoes

Very few people are fortunate enough to have biomechanically “perfect” feet with completely even weight distribution. Most of us suffer from one flaw or another that requires compensation from our shoes. A simple test is to stand on a piece of paper with wet feet and look at the imprint. If you lack an imprint in the arch area, you are likely a supinator. If your footprint is wider and flatter, you are probably a pronator. A neutral footprint would show an arch footprint running straight from the forefoot to the heel.

Motion Control Running Shoes For Overpronators

Motion control running shoes offer dual density midsoles, roll bars, or foot bridges to slow your feet from collapsing on the inside edge as you run.

Examples: Asics Gel Foundation, Brooks Addiction 12, New Balance 1540V2

Stability Running Shoes For Neutral Feet

Stability running shoes offer premium midsole cushioning, added arch support, pronation control, and rigid heel counters.

Examples: Adistar Booster EDM, New Balance 990, Asics Gel-Noosa

Cushioned Running Shoes For Supinators

Cushioned footwear includes greater shock absorption in the midsoles and/or outsoles, with enhanced cushioning in the heel and forefoot areas as well. They may use air, gel, or some other technology.

Examples: Reebok One Cushion, Hoka One One Bondi 5, Nike Pegasus

Need Help Finding the Perfect Running Shoe?

The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine offers footwear counseling for active individuals and competitive runners looking to avoid common injuries like Achilles tears, foot fractures, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis. We offer a state-of-the-art gait analysis center used by Olympic athletes, professional runners, and NYC Marathon participants to gain training pointers that improve form and time. For more information or to book an appointment, contact us today.

If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.