Choosing a comfortable and well-constructed pair of running shoes will go a long way toward improving your running experience and will help keep injuries at bay. The best running shoes will feature an appropriately supportive sole, breathable uppers, and lightweight materials. The biggest consideration is, of course, a snug fit that will prevent the foot from moving within the shoe — movement can lead to hot spots and blisters — and an insole that provides support to the arch of the foot. Some types of running shoes are activity-specific, however, and one type of running shoe may not be the best choice for a certain activity, such as cross training.
Runners generally run straight without moving side to side suddenly, as a sport-specific athlete might do. The best running shoes, therefore, do not necessarily need features that support side to side motions. The foot moves in a certain way when running forward, and a good running shoe will support this motion. The sole of a good pair of running shoes will flex with the foot, and it will provide cushion in the heel and in the ball of the foot. Good running shoes are also very lightweight to prevent the legs and feet from tiring too quickly.
Some runners require a shoe that provides lateral support. Cross training shoes are the best option in this case. If you are participating in any sport that requires forward and lateral movement, consider cross training shoes that provide support for forward motion as well as lateral movements. Such shoes often feature a sole that is stiffer than a normal running shoe, and the sole is also much wider to provide support when the foot moves sideways. The uppers are usually thicker and more supportive to keep the foot in place during lateral movements as well.
If your feet have pronation or supination issues — in other words, the feet are not situated in a forward position as they should be — then corrective insoles or corrective running shoes may be in order. Such shoes and insoles can help correct the running gait, improving the leg function and reducing pain or excess strain on leg muscles and joints. If you have these problems, consider talking to a professional trainer or a podiatrist to explore corrective footwear. Whatever shoe you choose, make sure the insole has adequate arch support, as this can help correct or improve the running gait simply and painlessly.