A pair of Nikes laid on the floor

Like I mentioned in my last blog, it can be daunting when trying to figure out what running shoes you should purchase. There are just so many to choose from.

There are definitely benefits in seeing a running shoe knowledgeable Podiatrist (like we have a Sports and Spinal) to help you make this decision.

To give you an idea of why – below are seven important considerations that, as a running Podiatrist, I keep in mind when helping runners choose their shoes:


Someone who is a complete beginner and wants to run 10 km per week for fitness is going to have different shoe selection considerations versus a more experienced runner running 80+ km per week and maybe training for their tenth marathon.

For example, the more experienced runner usually engages in different running sessions (long runs, tempo sessions, intervals, and speed work) and may run on the trail within their cycle, and choose different shoes for the varying sessions.

This may help limit wear on running shoes, but the variety underfoot may also be good to help prevent injuries. As they do more kilometres, they must consider the durability of their running shoes, including monitoring the number of kilometres run in each pair.

If they are trialling a new category of shoe, they must make sure they feel 100 per cent comfortable during short runs before using them for long runs.

Finally, consideration for what they wear on race day is important, especially allowing enough time to get used to a new, potentially lighter weight, less supportive running shoe leading up to the event.


This is especially important if a runner with no major injury history is contemplating using a traditional lightweight trainer or a minimalist running shoe for the first time.

To help decide this, I consider how long they have been running, what sort of distances they run, what types of sessions they do, and the different terrains they train on.

Their knowledge about running technique and understanding of cadence is also important. An absolute beginner runner, for example, might be best served to stick initially to a more traditional running shoe, as opposed to a minimalist running shoe.

This is especially the case as some of the identified benefits of running in minimalist running shoes (on the more minimal end of the scale, e.g., zero drops), such as landing on the forefoot, do not seem to automatically occur in beginner runners.

A traditional high-mileage running shoe would also be a wiser choice as opposed to a lightweight version because the added cushioning aims to help protect the body against high-impact forces, especially while becoming accustomed to the increasing running load.

In contrast, a more experienced runner, who has slowly built their running load over time, demonstrates great technique and has considered all aspects of the running-injury prevention picture may be more suited to choosing to incorporate lightweight trainers and more minimalist running shoes as part of their rotation.


This is important to consider as different shoe categories can place more load in certain areas. If a runner has a persistent injury we may look at recommending a particular category of running shoe with features aimed at lessening the load on the affected site.

For example, a runner with a long-standing history of Achilles tendinopathy might be advised to wear a traditional running shoe with an elevated heel, as opposed to a minimalist running shoe with a lower heel drop, to ease the load on the Achilles tendon.

A runner with a long history of recurring patellofemoral pain might be advised to run in a more minimalist type running shoe that attempts to garner some of the effects of barefoot running.

For example, the shorter stride length while barefoot running and potentially running in minimalist shoes may help decrease forces at the knees.


This may shed light on what has and hasn’t worked well in the past, including experience with particular categories of running shoes. Inspecting running shoes for wear patterns may guide runners to favour particular features.

For example, excessive medial leaning (when viewed sitting on a flat surface) of a running shoe may indicate premature medial wear of the midsole foam.

This runner’s foot may display over-pronation, and if they are not wearing one already, a running shoe with a medially posted dual-density midsole stability feature might be a better option, as long as it is as comfortable as previous pairs, to achieve longer, potentially less injurious wear out of the shoes.


If weaknesses in these areas are identified, a more traditional shoe type with an elevated heel to protect these structures might be recommended, at least until the weaknesses are addressed.

For example, if a runner has weak, tight calf muscles on testing, a more traditional running shoe with a 10–12-mm heel drop as opposed to a minimalist style running shoe with an 8-mm drop or less would be advisable.

Once the runner has met certain strength and flexibility markers, as well as gradually built their running load over time, it may be possible to include lower-pitched minimalist running shoes as part of their rotation.


Observing the way the foot moves through the stance phase of the running gait cycle are important to potentially match certain features of different brands and models within brands.

For example, while there is still a lack of evidence to support this in terms of preventing running-related injuries, if your feet do over-pronate, in my experience it is still important to gravitate towards a medially posted stability running shoe, as long as it is just as comfortable as its neutral counterpart.

I know of no evidence to suggest that medially posted stability running shoes will actually cause harm, as long as they are comfortable.

Ascertaining whether a runner has a hypermobile (very flexible) or a hypermobile (rigid) foot type may also determine what other running shoe features are useful.

The more flexible your feet are, the more stability and stiffness features are usually recommended to counter over-movement.

And the more rigid your feet are the more flexibility and cushioning features you want that avoid interfering with your foot movement. That said, there are exceptions to this, making it wise to seek in-person advice for your feet.


Foot strike is important to assess mainly to determine whether certain traditional running shoe features are even considered. You can potentially save weight when selecting your shoes, as stability shoes are traditionally heavier.

For example, medially posted midsole stability features are designed to support the foot from heel strike through to toe-off, so striking on your forefoot negates the effect. A lighter traditional neutral running shoe or a more minimalist type of running shoe, depending on running experience, maybe a better option for runners who forefoot strike.

As noted in tip #4, keeping on an eye on wear patterns is important if your forefoot strike in a traditional running shoe, as the front of the midsole may wear faster because it is being used for both impact absorption and propulsion.


Sports & Spinal Podiatrist Aleks Baruksopulo is the Author of The Runner’s Foot Guide: Shoes, Feet, Myths and Tips. For more valuable Podiatry running advice and great tips, you can purchase Aleks’ book at Amazon here.

Aleks is also available for Sports, Running and Exercise consultations on the Gold Coast. Bookings can be made here.