What Makes a Good Running Shoe: The Basics and Some Pro Tips

Finding the best-fitting shoes is not as easy as you think it is. You need to make sure that it fits you perfectly from heel to toe. It should also feel comfortable at all times! But are these enough? Read on to find out what makes a good running shoe!

What Makes a Good Running Shoe?

For better understanding, it is important to learn the basic anatomy of running shoes as well as their purpose. The slightest differentiation in the shoes can mean great effects in your running experience.

  • Upper

Upper refers to everything above the sole. This is traditionally made from layers of mesh and fabrics sewn or glued together. Some shoe models use printing and knitting to create a one-piece upper that can stretch and support your feet.

Pro Tip: Get an upper that smoothly takes the shape of your foot. This should not bind whenever it touches your foot.

  • Ankle Collar

Ankle collar refers to the wrap located on top of the shoe opening. This holds the heel down in place. Some shoes use thick padding while other models rely mainly on the shape of your feet.

Pro Tip: Always give attention to your heel slips, padding interaction to the bones on your side ankles, and back curves that irritate your Achilles tendon.

  • Heel Counter

Heel counter refers to the semi-rigid cup that is layered inside the rearfoot. This supports and cradles your heel. Some shoes have external heel wrap while others have eliminated the heel counter for more freedom and movements.

According to research, heel counters don’t really provide motion control. However, they place the heel on the center for better support and stable landing.

Pro Tip: Look for a heel that allows a comfortable motion of the ankle.

how should running shoes fit
  • Saddle

Saddle refers to the reinforced area around the instep, the arch of the foot between the ankle and the ball. This interacts with the shoelaces to hold the foot securely. Shoe designers and manufacturers develop a variety of eyelets, overlays, and lacing systems to help mold the saddle to any foot shape.

Pro Tip: Check how the saddle holds and fits on your foot. It should provide a secure feeling and allow natural arch doming without any slippage.

  • Toe Box

Toe box refers to all of the upper, starting from the eyelets to the end of the shoe. This is often capped with a toe bumper to hold the fabric off your toes and protect them against stubbing.

Pro Tip: The toe box should stay out of the way to allow optimum flexibility and natural spreading of your foot without rubbing the toes.

  • Outsole

Outsole refers to the area where the rubber meets the road. This is often made from a variety of foams and rubber compounds that are strategically placed to enhance flexibility and wear life.

Pro Tip: Look for materials that provide durability and traction without causing stiffness and adding weight. Go for running shoes that match your footprint shape to achieve the desired level of underfoot stability.