Most men do not enjoy shopping for shoes, so when it is time to replace an old pair of running shoes, they may look at the process with more dread than excitement. However, buying the perfect pair of running shoes can make the difference between a great run and a run that leaves men with blisters, joint pain, or even sprains. This guide lists seven features that men should look for in their next pair of running shoes: a perfect fit, ankle support, arch support, terrain-appropriate design, high-quality construction, style, and affordable pricing.
1. A Perfect Fit
Runners should try their shoes on late in the day, since feet typically swell slightly during a normal day’s activities. They will need to measure the length of their feet to ensure that they have an idea of their correct shoe size. They should also consider two additional factors: the width of their foot and their weight as a runner.
Men will need to consider the width of their foot in addition to its length. A man with a size 11 foot may actually require an 11 wide (11W) for optimum comfort while running. However, the shoe should not be too wide or the foot will have too much room to shift during the run.
Some brands differ slightly in the width of their standard shoe. For instance, Adidas offers narrower shoes, while Brooks shoes are slightly wider than average. Some manufacturers, such as New Balance, supply more than one width option to further tailor the running shoe to the wearer.
The runner’s weight will affect the amount of force to which the shoe is subjected. Buyers typically understand that each stride will bring the entire weight of the wearer onto the shoe’s sole. However, most buyers are unaware that the force that they exert on their shoes may double or triple depending on how fast they are running. Heavier runners will need shoes with thicker soles that offer extra cushioning against impact.
2. Ankle Support
Adequate support for the upper foot, heel, and ankle is vital in a good pair of men’s running shoes. Without it, a quick morning run can result in a badly sprained ankle and weeks of physical therapy. Buyers need to understand the shape of their feet and the way that their feet and ankles move during a run. The three primary types of motion are designated as pronation, supination, and overpronation.
The term "pronation" refers to the way that the average foot reacts to a stride. Usually the heel contacts the ground first and rolls inward a little. At the same time, the arch of the foot flattens, absorbing the impact of the step or stride. A slight outward roll follows as the foot tenses and lifts for the next step. The feet of runners with basic or neutral pronation work exactly as they should, with only slight rolls to either side at the appropriate time during the stride. This effective type of pronation reduces stress on the ankles, knees, and hips. Runners with neutral or normal pronation require some basic support but need not invest in a special type of running shoe.
Supination or Underpronation
Supination or underpronation occurs when the foot rolls outward upon contact, rather than inward. This causes a harsher impact, jarring a runner’s knees unnecessarily. Runners who suffer from this condition should have extra cushioning in the soles of their shoes. Their shoes will also need to have a more flexible upper portion. Supination is fairly rare among runners.
When the foot rolls inward too far upon impact, the result is overpronation, which is a common condition among runners. Without proper support, runners with overpronation may suffer injury to their knees. Their shoes should have additional rigidity and stabilizing features to minimize the effects of the condition.
Identifying Pronation Type
The chart below provides a quick way for runners to check their own pronation type. They should pull out a pair of their well-worn running shoes and examine the shoes’ soles, as the wear pattern can provide clues about the owner’s pronation type.
The inside edge of the shoe shows significant wear.
The runner may have a tendency to overpronation.
The outer edge of the shoe is heavily worn.
The owner probably suffers from supination.
The ball of the foot shows the most wear. There is also some wear to the heel area.
The wearer likely has neutral or basic pronation.
Armed with this information, runners should be able to identify their pronation type with some degree of accuracy. For an official diagnosis, they should visit a physical therapist or podiatrist.
3. Arch Support
The type of shoes that runners need for adequate arch support is closely tied to their pronation. Runners can also do a wet footprint test to determine what sort of arch they have. All they need to do is step into a basin of water and then place their wet foot on a brown paper bag, bath mat, or some other surface that will show the resulting imprint clearly.
Runners with high arches are typically supinators or underpronators. They will have a strongly curved imprint in which the ball and heel of the foot are barely connected or not connected at all. Flexibility is a key feature in shoes for these runners.
Flat-footed runners with low arches will have a broad footprint with a wide connection between ball and heel. Runners with flat feet tend to be overpronators. They need motion control and stability in their running shoes.
Normal arches will be somewhere in between, with a less dramatic curve and a marked, narrow strip connecting the ball and the heel. These arches belong to runners with basic or neutral pronation. They will want mild arch support in their running shoes.
4. Terrain-Appropriate Design
The type of shoes that runners select should be designed for the type of terrain that they usually travel. The two primary types of running shoes are road running shoes and off - road running shoes (also known as trail runners). While some shoes can handle both types of terrain, most running shoes fall into one of these two categories.
Road Running Shoes
Road running shoes work well for paved roads and paths. They can also handle the occasional hard-packed dirt path, wood-chip trail, fire road, or nature trail. They are lighter than trail runners are, and they allow a runner’s feet a little more flexibility than some other running shoes do.
Trail Runners or Off-Road Runners
Off - road or trail runners are ideal for running on unpaved trails. They are intended to provide extra shock absorption and stability for runners who may encounter uneven ground and the occasional rock, root, or animal burrow during their run. They are heavier and more rigid than road running shoes. Usually, they incorporate a more aggressive tread on the soles, enabling runners to have optimum traction even on slippery gravel or rock surfaces.
5. High-Quality Construction
Most running shoes are made of synthetic leather. The flexibility, durability, lighter weight, and quick drying capacity of synthetic leather makes it better for runners than genuine leather would be. A good pair of running shoes should have strong seams and breathable panels made of mesh, possibly at times nylon mesh. The upper part of the shoe, which is the area that circles the ankle, needs to be waterproof to minimize the amount of water that gets into the shoes. As water (such as rain) flows down toward the shoe, it is blocked by the waterproof upper so that only a minimal amount gets in through the mesh panels. The lining of the shoe should also be made of a water-resistant yet breathable mesh.
Style is another essential feature for many runners. Some runners prefer a chunky, heavy-duty shoe with thick soles for off-road running. Others like a streamlined look that narrows the appearance of the foot. Running shoes typically come in black or white, although they are available in a rainbow of colors. The standard running shoe will have a basic color such as white with splashes of another color, with red, green, yellow, orange, or purple among these options. Generally, a running shoe also bears the manufacturer’s logo or mascot. A Puma shoe, for instance, will have the signature leaping cat prominently displayed on the shoe. Reebok ’ s trademark is a red triangle, while Nike is well known for its iconic swoosh.
7. Affordable Pricing
For running shoes, a higher price is usually indicative of higher quality. A higher price is sometimes a result of the extensive research that goes into the manufacturer’s trademark technology. Constant improvements in the material used for shoe construction, the aerodynamics of the shoe design, and the development of durable soles with adequate cushioning power provide benefits to runners and may make higher costs seem worthwhile. However, for buyers who have a tight budget, overstock or outlet stores with lower prices may be a better option than traditional shoe stores or department stores.
Buying Men’s Running Shoes on eBay
While shoe stores and sporting goods stores may often be your first thought when it comes to purchasing a new pair of running shoes, their stocks can be limited due to inventory or logistics issues. In these cases, you should consider visiting online retailers like eBay for running shoes that can range from basic, inexpensive brands to high-end, top-quality trainers. Whatever brand or style you are looking for, eBay is almost certain to have it available.
Begin by searching for "men’s running shoes" using the search bar located on most eBay pages, or start on eBay’s main page by clicking Fashion, and then Men ’ s Shoes. Under the Athletic category, select Running, Cross Training as your preferred style, and then target your search by selecting your size, your price range, your favorite brand, and any other pertinent options. If you conduct a regular search, save it so that eBay can let you know whenever new listings for your specific running shoes search terms become available.
Remember to check seller feedback ratings and choose top sellers for your transactions. You can ask sellers for more details about the running shoes that they have listed by clicking Ask a Question in the listing or by visiting the seller’s profile page and clicking Contact Member. Look for sellers who offer free shipping, return policies, or package deals, in which more than one item or pair of shoes is bundled together at a bargain price as a means of saving money on your purchase.
While shoe shopping may not be on a man’s list of favorite things to do over the weekend, the process can be made even faster and simpler with a little advance research and planning. Buyers should familiarize themselves with their foot type so that they know which type of shoe will best serve their needs. They should look for quality in the shoe’s construction and ensure that it is appropriate for the terrain that they plan to traverse. If buyers keep these and other key features in mind, they should be able to find a pair of men’s running shoes that will provide them with a safe and enjoyable experience.