Running Gear for Beginners – Your Running Equipment Guide

choosing Running Gear for Beginners

Looking for the best advice on how to choose the right running gear? Then you have come to the right place.

Here’s the truth.

Your running equipment has an enormous impact on your training performance and running motivation. In fact, having the right gear is crucial—whether you’re a complete beginner or a veteran athlete.

The right gear improves your chances of success, and might even make your runs more enjoyable.

In today’s post, I’m sharing with you a list of the must-have running items for all runners, new and old.

This post will be particularly useful for those of you who don’t have the first clue as to what running gear you might—or not might not—need.

So, are you excited?

Then here we go.

What is Running Gear?

Running gear, running equipment, or running accessories, is the general term used to refer to the list of items you can wear on your person during a workout.

And it’s a big business.

From running shoes,  technical clothing, performance socks, hydration belt, to sports bras, compression garments, heart monitors, and GPS watches, this niche is one of the most profitable sectors in the global fashion and sports equipment market.

So, What Do You Really Need As Running Equipment?

The answer depends on your personal preferences, training level, training goals, where you live, budget, and how much you love high-tech, stylish fitness gadgets.

Everyone is different and might be in the market for various things.

No suit fits all.

But, all in all, a basic running kit includes proper running shoes, T-shirt, shorts, socks, and a sports bra for female runners.

If you already have these in your wardrobe, then you got 90 percent of the must-have running accessories.

But how do you choose the right clothing and fabrics for running? That’s where the rest of this article comes in handy.

Running Gear  1 – Running Shoes

Your running shoes are the most important piece of protective running equipment you need as a runner.

Thus, you should spend time and money looking for the perfect pair.

If you want to stay a healthy and pain-free runner, then you need a pair of well-cushioned running shoes that feel comfortable and match your unique foot biomechanics and gait.

I hate to break it to you, but running in old or ill-fitting sneakers is not the wise thing to do.

It’s, in fact, one of the leading causes of pain and injury.

So, if you have a used pair gathering dust at the back of your closet, get rid of them, head to the closest specialty running store, and buy a new pair.

I personally like Brooke and Nike running shoes, but feel free to try out other brands and styles.

I’m not affiliated with any shoe brand, and I cannot recommend a perfect pair.

You decide.

running equipment

The Main Things

So, how do you pick the right trainers?

As a rule of thumb, fit, comfort, and flexibility should be the ultimate measuring criteria whenever you’re looking for a new pair.

Here are the golden tips for picking the right sneakers:

  • Go shopping for a new shoe in the evening when your feet are at their biggest (our feet tend to swell after prolonged sitting or standing).
  • Get your shoes from a running specialty store. The pro staff will match you with the most suitable pair by assessing your foot type, running biomechanics, training needs, and personal preferences.
  • Leave enough wiggle room between your big toe and the end of the shoe—at least a thumbnail’s space.
  • Don’t under nor over pay. A cheap pair will not provide with enough support and won’t last you that long, whereas a super expensive pair is uncalled for—especially if you’re just a recreational runner.

Buy Quality

Sure, the most expensive pair in the store is not inherently the best, but, at least, don’t skimp.

You can always go for a low-priced pair, but often than not, these are made with rock-bottom, non-durable materials, which provide little to no protection.

However, a mid-range shoe—80 to $120—usually has excellent cushioning and stability properties.

If you still want to save off a few bucks then go for last year’s version of a mid or top-range shoe.

The differences won’t be that significant, but you’ll, at least, get a top-shelf pair for a fraction of the price.

Expect to pay: $80-$160

Running Gear  2 – Running Clothing

Although they’re the most critical, shoes are not the only running equipment that makes your running comfortable and more enjoyable.

Clothing also matters.

The Importance of High Tech Materials

There are many features to look for when choosing running accesories.

But most importantly, choose items made of high-performance, synthetic materials such as polyester, Coolmax nylon, or Lycra.

These wick moisture away from your body in the same way a candle absorbs liquid.

What’s more?

High-performance fabrics are also lightweight and designed to move with your body.

High-tech fabrics can help you regulate your body heat—even in weather extremes. This works by retaining heat during winter training and dissipating it during hot summer days.

For more icing on the cake, high-performance clothing dries faster. They also better endure use and washing cycles than exercise clothes made of cotton.

Say No to Cotton

Now that you know what makes great running clothing let’s discuss what you should avoid.

As a rule, say no to cotton. Cotton is comfortable only when it’s dry.

Once it gets wet, it stays wet, turning heavy and scratchy. This can chafe the skin, leading to painful blisters.

Cotton does not also allow for proper temperature regulation. You’ll overheat in the summer and freeze in the winter.

What’s more?

Avoid wearing sweatpants. These are designed to help keep your body warm in cold temperatures but can be counterproductive when running as logging the miles makes you work up some heat.

All of this heat can get trapped close to your body. In fact, the longer you run, the more uncomfortable they become.

That’s why you should only use sweatpants for short runs, especially when worn an outer layer when it’s really cold.

The Running Accessories and Clothes You Need

Here’s what to look for when buying running clothing.


Shirt choice depends on the weather.

That’s why you will need shirts for different seasons and temperatures in a wide range of weights and fabrics.

These might include sleeveless shirt, light shirts, heavy turtlenecks, etc.

Go for Technical Fabrics

As a rule of thumb, steer clear of cotton shirts.

Technical materials feel comfortable, light and cool against the skin, unlike cotton which, once it gets wet, it stays wet, turning into cumbersome and scratchy material that can cause chafed underarms and bleeding nipples.

Furthermore, technical fabrics can regulate your body temperature by dissipating heat during hot weather training and retaining it when the temperature drops.

A good running T-shirt is typically made from nylon, or brand names like Dri-Fit, Climalite or Coolmax.

It should feel cool, light and comfortable against the skin.

To regulate body temperature, get a shirt with a mesh panel covering high heat areas such as the back, underarms, and sides.

Whatever you end up sporting, make sure it fits nicely and loosely, so it doesn’t bother you while running.

Expect to pay $20 to $50.

Additional resource – Your guide to running compression arm sleeves

Leg Attire

You’ll need leg attire that moves as you move while protecting you from the elements.

Running shorts and running tights are the best options.

These can be used both during road and off-road training.

When it comes to leg attire, the two choices I recommend are shorts and running tights.

In my experience, the best shorts are those made of breathable, lightweight fabrics, with a light mesh interior underwear lining.

Also, consider getting shorts with a key pocket or extra pockets for carrying gels, keys, ID, or phone.

Proper tights are made from high-performance stretchy fabrics, like Nylon or Supplex.

These can draw moisture away from the body, and keep you running comfortably, regardless of outdoor temperatures.

Tights also work well for the overweight beginner as they often protect against chafing and painful irritation in the inner thighs.

But, all in all, your leg attire should be made of a lightweight construction that protects you from debris and undergrowth and does not hinder your movement.

Expect to pay $20 to $60.

Additional resource – Compression leggings for running

The Shorts

Running shorts are an integral part of your running kit.

As a rule of thumb, your running shorts should provide you with enough support, comfort, and practicality.

Make sure your shorts have a non-restrictive feel.

They should provide you with a maximum range of motion for you to run at your best and unleash your full potential.

Also, consider getting shorts with an inner brief to provide with excellent internal support that acts as underwear, and a zip pocket or additional pockets for carrying your phone, keys, and/or gels during long training sessions and races.

Expect to pay $20 to $50

The Tights

Running tights come in a variety of different lengths, from knickers to 2/4-length to full-length.

So, choose whatever works the best for you.

Proper tights can help cut the risks of chafing in the inner thighs and are ideal to wear on colder days.

Tights work well for the overweight beginner as they often protect against chafing and painful irritation in the inner thighs.

Longer shorts are also an option here.

Proper tights are typically made from synthetic stretchy fabrics, such as Supplex or Polyester to provide with a flexible and stretchy fit.

Expect to pay $20 to $70

Your Underwear

Last but not least, you’ll also want to wear underwear with leg attire.

A proper pair of running underwear should provide you with a good layer of support and insulation, particularly during winter.

Go for whatever works the best for you.

As long it’s comfortable, you’re good to go.

Expect to pay: $5 to $20

Sports Bras

Listen up, ladies, a proper, high-impact, sports bra is non-negotiable for running—especially if you are serious about the sport.

An improper sports bra won’t provide you with enough support to reduce breast movement while running.

This bouncing action is not only uncomfortable but can also stretch the ligament around the breast, which is an irreversible damage in most cases.

And any permanent stretching of these supporting ligaments can cause the breast to droop.

Here is the good news.

A proper sports bra can drastically reduce that unwanted movement—by up to 50 to 60 percent according to experts.

So, whatever you end up getting, make sure it’s comfortable and has been designed for high impact activities.

Expect to pay: $20 to $50.

Running Socks

The fit of your running socks can make a huge difference in your running comfort and experience.

Thus, do not run in socks that suck.

First, your running socks should be constructed with high-performance technical materials.

These will keep your feet dry and cool, which can reduce the risks of blisters.

In fact, some high-performance socks include a mesh venting system for more breathability and comfort.
Secondly, make sure your socks are a good fit, especially under the arch of the foot and around the heel.

Avoid socks that slide off your feet or bunch up inside of your shoes.

These will irritate you while running, leading to horrid blisters.

If you are blister prone, opt for thicker running socks, or double up.

For more protection, look for socks that provide extra padding in the heel and the rear of the foot.

You can also give compression socks a try.

Expect to pay: $10 to $30

Running Jackets

When it’s too cold outside, an extra outer layer is needed to protect you from the elements.

As a rule, your running jacket must repel water, and the fabrics also wick sweat and dry fast.

It also should be breathable and have proper ventilation, so you don’t wind up sweating more because of it.

The best running jackets are usually made from fabrics like Ripstop Nylon or Pertex.

Expect to pay $20 to $70

Additional Resource – Your guid to running jackets

Running Hat

While the theory that we lose 40 percent of heat throughout the head has been debunked, it still has some extra protection against the cold.

A running winter hat will help you in cold temps.

For more protection, choose hats made of warmer fabrics like wool or cashmere to keep your head cozy.

Expect to pay $15 to $50

Additional Resource – Your guide to the best running hats.

Running Gloves

Another piece of kit that’s essential during the winter is a pair of running gloves.

Choose a pair of breathable, moisture-wicking gloves.

For freezing temperatures, go for thin linter gloves to keep your hands toasty and comfortable.

Expect to pay $20 to $60

Find the Right Mixes

Many factors determine what mixes of of running accessories needed to stay comfortable while running.

These include the time of day you train, your training intensity, workout lengths, climate conditions, outdoor temperatures, and your personal preferences.

As a rule of thumb, your running wardrobe should be versatile and adaptable, carrying you from the coldest months for the hottest months—especially if you run most of the time outdoors.

Here are a few tips to help you dress right whenever you’re heading out for a run.

Additional resource – How to choose running gaiters

Hot Weather Running

During extreme weather, you’ll want running gear that pulls moisture away from your skin, while shielding you from the sun.

This will keep you both well-hydrated and comfortable.

Dress in Layers—Winter Running

During the cold season, you need to dress warmly, but bear in mind that running will increase your heart rate and body temperature.

So, don’t overdress.

The simple solution is to dress in layers of light, breathable clothing items.

So, for instance, if halfway through the session you feel too warm, you can remove the extra layers.

The Main Layers

Start with a base layer of the close-fitting and moisture-wicking dry layer, such as a tank top, or a technical T-shirt.

Next, put on a looser fitting, warmer layer, such as a long sleeve shirt, or a fleece pullover on top.

Last up, the last layer (or the outer shell) should be a wind- and water-proof layer, such as a nylon shell or a windbreaker.

Additional resource – Prescription Glasses for runners

More Running Gear

You’ll also need headwear for different weather conditions—mainly a face mask, or balaclava for cold and win, a stocking for cold, and a cap with a visor to protect you from the sun, blinding headlights and rain.

For rainy days, opt for waterproof pants, wind-resistant jackets and sweatpants to keep you running dry and comfortable.

Want more? Here’s the full guide to winter running gear.

list of running gear for beginners

Running Gear 4 – Sports Watch

If you are serious about your training routine, then a specialized sports watch will come in handy.

A good GPS watch can turn each workout into a data-producing session.

It is ideal for keeping track of your running time, taking splits during the race, and help you see patterns in your training—all of which can encourage you to push the pace and run faster.

As a beginner runner, you can also use the sports watch “stop and start” button to measure run/walk intervals, making sure you’re training within your fitness level.

Not only that, this interpretive piece of equipment is often equipped with a GPS system that tracks how far and how fast you run.

Just don’t get me wrong.

As a beginner runner, you don’t need a fancy digital timepiece.

In fact, a simple watch with a stop and start button can do the trick.

Once you get more sophisticated, consider getting a running watch that can track your pace, heart rate, running intervals, and pace, etc.—especially if you do any speedwork or carefully paced workouts.

You can choose from a wide variety of watches.

They can range from a cheap Gosasa GOSK1155B costing around $12 to a several hundred dollars Garmin Forerunner 910XT multifunctional and GPS-Enabled Sports Watch.

Expect to pay: $10-$300+

Additional Resource- Here’s your guide to running sunglasses

Running Gear 5 – Headphones

I love music, and Rock My Run Premium has made my running routine tenfold more enjoyable.

Numerous studies have linked music to improved running performance, consistency, and overall more enjoyable training experience.

In other words, having something to listen to while pounding the pavement can make your runs that much better.

That’s why having a proper pair of running headphones are some of the most essential running gear you can get these days.

Good running headphones should have these three traits:

  • They need to be tough enough to keep up with your training,
  • They must be moisture-resistant so that they won’t get damaged by sweat or rain.
  • They should fit nicely and comfortably in your ear. If your headphones fall out as you run, they’re useless. In fact, fit is the most important factor, no matter how superior the music quality is.

In case you’re not into music, turn to Audiobooks, podcasts to keep your mind occupied during long and tedious runs.

Check out the Tim Ferris podcasts for some fantastic interviews.

Note: If you’re running outdoors on the streets, then be careful.

Listening to music while running can block out traffic noises, which can set the stage for accidents and other horrible tragedies.

So, please, put on your earbuds only you’re safe outdoor.

For more safety, go for a  pair of headphones with an open design that let in ambient sounds.

Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to hydration running vests

Running Gear 6 – Heart Rate Monitor

If you are a serious runner looking unleash your full potential, or a beginner runner trying to keep your heart rate within a certain range during your runs, then training with a heart rate monitor is non-negotiable.

A heart rate monitor is strapped to your chest, and can provide you with an accurate reading of your heartbeat while exercising.

It is precisely what you need to avoid under- or overtraining.

In fact, a good heart rate monitor is just like a running coach that can help you find your sweet training spot—not too much, not too little.

You will no longer have to “guess” your pace or training intensity level.

There is a broad range of heart rate monitors to choose from.

A basic model will just monitor your heart rate, while advanced versions will produce loads of stats, including calorie burned,

Just keep in mind that HRMs are not an absolute requirement even when you are preparing for a race, but they are something to consider getting.

Plus, some advanced running watches come with a built-in heart rate monitor.

So if your watch already has one, then this is not something you have to buy separately.

Expect to pay: $30 to $350.

Additional Resource – Here’s the full guide to calf compression sleeves for running

Adding it All Up

So how much you should invest in your running kit?

As previously stated, there is no right or wrong answer to that question.

It’s all up to you.

You might already have in your current workout wardrobe the bare essential running equipment.

But, irrespective of your budget, fashion sense, technological sophistication and training goals, let functionality, fit, and comfort, be your primary guiding criteria.

Your running gear is a performance tool.

Not a fashion statement.

I cannot emphasize this enough.

Additional resource – How to find cheap running gear

New to Running? Start Here…

If you’re serious about running, getting fit, and staying injury free, then make sure to download my Runners Blueprint Guide!

Inside this guide, you’ll learn how to start running and lose weight weight the easy and painless way. This is, in fact, your ultimate manifesto to becoming a faster and a stronger runner. And you want that, don’t you?

 Click HERE to check out my Runners Blueprint System today!

Don’t miss out! My awesome running plan is just one click away.

Foot Types for Shoes – How to Determine Your Foot Type?

foot types for runners

Looking to determine your foot type? Then this guide to types of runners feet is exactly what you need.

Here’s the truth.

When it comes to foot type biomechanics, foot type is divided into three broad categories: the neutral-footed, the flat-footed (the overpronator runner), and the high-arched (the supinator runner).

Therefore, if you are a serious runner looking to boost training volume but still hunting for the ideal running pair, then you need to learn more about your foot type.

According to conventional wisdom in the running world, your pronation type is also a contributing factor in selecting and choosing the right running shoe.

Not only that, some experts also claim that having an understanding of pronation and how it affects the rest of your body can help you determine the type of a shoe most appropriate for you.

Therefore, today, dear reader, I will share with you all you need to know about your foot type, what does that mean, and what type of shoe works the best for a particular foot type.

Foot Types for Shoes Explained

Substantial amounts of research and technology go into designing running shoes that best suit these three most common types of foot arches.

Determining your foot type can help you make the most suitable choices when looking for new running shoes.

This can help improve running efficiency, understand the way you run, reduce pain, and prevent injuries, such as heel pain or plantar fasciitis.

So are you excited?

Then here we go.

The Wet Test

If you have no idea what arch type you have or are not sure, you can perform the Wet Test.

Here is How To Do It

Simply wet the sole of your foot, then step onto a blank piece of paper or a shopping bag.

Last up, step off and examine the shape of the footprint and compare it with the following diagrams.

The result can help you determine if you’re a neutral runner, an overpronator, or a supinator/underpronator.

Please keep in mind that this test is not the most accurate in the world.

The Wet Test is simple, but the results might not be conclusive.

Lest you have a very low or high arch, it might be hard to interpret the results properly.

So it’s not the end of all your running shoe prayers.

Other factors must be accounted for.

Check this article for more.

Foot Types for Shoes

The Wear & Tear Patterns

The “Wear Test” is another straightforward assessment you can do to determine your arch type.

All you have to do is to check out the wear pattern on one of your used and abused pairs of running shoe.


Just flip over the shoe and assess the rubber tread on the outsole.

In case you couldn’t see a clear and consistent wear & tear pattern by looking at the outsole of your running shoes, then simply place them on a flat surface, a table for instance, for instance.

Additional resource – Running shoes for plantar fasciitis

The Pro Option

For the most accurate assessment, go see a professional physician or a sports podiatrist.

While using high-tech tools, these experts can evaluate your feet in both a static and dynamic position.

This can help you determine whether you pronate or not and if you do, how much you pronate, etc.—all of which is essential for finding the most suitable shoe for you.

The Degrees of Pronation—Understanding Pronation

The feet rotate naturally while running.

But, the degree of rotation, what’s known as pronation, varies from one runner to the next, depending, mainly, on the foot unique anatomical structure.

Pronation, simply put, is the natural inward roll of the foot as the outside part of the heel comes in contact with the ground.

Pronation is 100 percent normal.

The proper amount of pronation is part and parcel of the natural movement of the human body.

In fact, it is the process by which your feet absorb the impact forces of running—about two to three times your body weight.

This inward rolling acts as a shock absorber for the legs and the rest of the body, ideally dispersing the forces of the impact of the heel striking the ground.

In other words, your foot NEEDS and MUST pronate to keep your lower limbs safe and injury free.

The Problem With Too Much (or too little) Pronation

During a typical gait cycle, the feet alternate between pronation, which is the inward roll motion, and supination, the outward motion.

Overpronation occurs when the feet roll inward too much.

Supination, or commonly known as underpronation, happens when the feet don’t roll inward enough.

If you overpronate, then your feet will roll inward too much.

Research shows that this might risk overuse injuries, mostly to the knees.

On the other hand, if your feet roll outward too much, what’s known as underpronator, then you might risk overuse injuries, mainly in the feet.

Figuring out your foot type and gait mechanics can help match you with the correct shoe type, with the main purpose of compensating over- or under-pronation.

This might help cut the risks of injury while improving your running economy and efficiency.

Additional resource  – Here’s your guide to pain on top of the foot while running.

The 3 Main Types Of Runners Feet

1. Normal (medium) Arch

This is the most common type of runners, and people in general.

The medium foot type is often called normal because of most people—roughly 60 percent—have a medium arch.

So, that does not mean there is something inherently wrong with having high or low arches.

These are also normal, but not just as widespread.

The Process

The Neutral type is identified by a slight pronation

While running, the foot lands on the outside of the heel then rolls inward to support body weight and reduce the shock impact of the foot strike.

The Wet Test

If, after assessing your footprint, it doesn’t look high arched or flat footed, then your chances you have a normal or neutral foot.

In general, the footprint will show a plain curve inward, but not by more than ¾ of an inch.

The Wear Patterns

Neutral pronation manifests as a wear pattern focused on the ball of the foot region and a small portion of the heel.

The Trouble

A runner with neutral feet has a normal arch with centralized balance.

The impact stresses generated by running are well distributed in the center of the foot, which cuts the risks of pain and/or injury in the tendons, bones, and the muscles of the lower body.

But having neutral feet does not mean that you’ve hit The Happy Feet Jackpot.

The fact is, as a runner, you are always prone to injury due to bad form, ill-fitting shoes, overuse, or repetitive stress injuries.

Best Shoes

Runners with “normal feet” can wear just about any type of shoe, but they are still prone to injuries, especially if they are overtraining, or not taking good care of their bodies.

Additional resource – How to choose Running shoes for overpronators

2. The Flat Foot

Overpronation is the second most common type, accounting for over 20 percent of all runners.

Flat-footed runners tend to overpronate, meaning that their feet roll inward too much during a foot strike.

This can be a source of problems and often requires proper support and weight redistribution.

Here’s the full guide to underpronation

The Process

The outer side of your heel strikes the ground first at an increased angle with little or no normal pronation, resulting in a massive transmission of stress and shock through the lower limbs.

The arch is designed to absorb a specific amount of shock, but when it collapses too much following impact, the resulting stress forces travel up and down the legs, leading to pain, even injury to the shins, hips, or knees.

The Wet Test

You have flat feet when there is no is no clear inward curve from the big toe to the heel while looking at your foot.

Typically, the imprint shows a filled-in arch.

The Wear Patterns

Soles mostly worn on the inside (typically along the inside edge of the shoe) mean that you’re most likely an overpronator.


As previously stated, pronation is a good thing.

But too much of it can put a lot of undue stress and shock on your feet and knees, increasing the risks of pain and injury.

Flat footed runners are often biomechanically imbalanced, which can make them more prone to common foot issues such as arch pain, heel pain, and plantar fasciitis.

Other injuries include plantar fasciitis, shin splints, heel spurs, and bunions.

Follow proactive measures to reduce your risks of such ailments.

Additional guide – Running safely with bunions guide

Best Shoes

According to conventional wisdom, if you overpronate, then you might need shoes that help maintain your stability during a foot strike.

Look for terms like “stability” and “motion control” while selecting a new running pair.

Stability shoes can help stabilize your stride and provide better support for your feet.

This type of shoes might reduce the risks of common issues and injuries like heel pain, arch pain, plantar fasciitis, etc.

Just keep in mind that the current scientific research reveals no conclusive evidence that supports this theory.

In cases of severe overpronation, you might need to wear orthotics. These are custom made shoe inserts that may correct foot issues in some individuals.

Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to running shoes for flat feet.

3. The High-Arched Foot

The third type is the least common, accounting for less than 20 percent of the population.

In general, underpronators have high, rigid arches that do not sufficiently collapse.

Therefore, they do not absorb shock as efficiently as the other two foot types.

Supination is characterized by an outward rolling of the foot following a foot strike, which results in inadequate impact reduction and distribution.

The Wet Test

If the foot imprint shows little—or no—contact along the outside edge of the feet, mainly seeing only the heel and ball, then you have a high arch.

The Wear Patterns

Supination is marked by wear and tear on the outside of the heel area, especially along the outer edge of the shoe.


Research shows that high arched people are more prone to foot conditions such as ball-of-foot pain, heel pain, plantar fasciitis, etc.

Why might you ask?

As already stated, the supination cycle can result in insufficient shock absorption upon impact.

Having high arches means less surface for absorbing impact.

This can place undue pressure on the rearfoot and forefoot areas.

Next, the impact forces can travel unhindered through the legs, knees, and hips to the back and the rest of the body, resulting in pain, musculoskeletal injuries, and even stress fracture in weight-bearing bones.

Additional Resource – Overpronation vs Underpronation

The Best Shoes

Experts recommend well-cushioned, flexible shoes with good arch support and a soft midsole to take some of the stress off the lower limbs and ward off injury, especially to the feet.

In some serious cases, you can use the right orthotics.

Thee can help can help fill in your arch cavity to help improve shock absorption, and provide alignment and cushioning needed to ward off pain and injury.

Additional guide – How to prevent Foot pain in runners

New to Running? Start Here…

If you’re serious about running, getting fit, and staying injury free, then make sure to download my Runners Blueprint Guide!

Inside this guide, you’ll learn how to start running and lose weight weight the easy and painless way. This is, in fact, your ultimate manifesto to becoming a faster and a stronger runner. And you want that, don’t you?

 Click HERE to check out my Runners Blueprint System today!

Don’t miss out! My awesome running plan is just one click away.

The 5 Different Types of Running Shoes

Types of Running Shoes explained

Looking to learn more about the different types of running shoes?

Then you have come to the right place.

When it comes to your running gear, your sneakers are the most important piece.

But, finding the right sole-mate is easier said than done.

The whole process can be unnerving and might leave you feeling overwhelmed, especially when you are just starting out and/or don’t know what type of kicks works the best for you.

Fret no more. This full guide to different running shoe types will get you started on the right foot.

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

The Importance of Running Shoes

When it comes to preventing injury and improving training efficiency, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of proper shoes.

By getting ill-fitting shoes, you’re predisposing your body to pain and injury.

And you don’t want that.

Not to mention that it’s also a complete waste of your time and money.

On the other hand, finding the right shoes is like a dream coming true.

A suitable pair can help you run comfortably and increases your efficiency, which is something all of us runners want, regardless of our training background and goals. Here’s the full guide to running shoes anatomy.

Here are more resources on the history as well as the impact of running shoes on your performance.

What Running Shoes Type Do I Need?

Many factors affect shoe selection.

Things like your weight, unique biomechanics, training surfaces, training goals, personal preferences, and your foot type and gait should be accounted for when purchasing a new pair.

That’s why today, dear reader, I decided to teach you about the many types of running shoes out there.

The 5 Different Types Of Running Shoes

In my opinion, there are primarily five types of running shoes you need to be familiar with.

You’ve got the stability, the cushioned, the support, the performance/speed, and the trail running shoes.

This classification is based on structure, form, and function.

Every shoe type is different and designed to serve different objectives—both biomechanical and training wise.

So, are you excited?

Then here we go

1. Lightweight Shoes

If you do a lot of speed work or race, then you will need lightweight trainers.

Also known as racing flats, or cross country spikes, these are ideal for speed workouts, like sprints, intervals, fartleks, and competition.

Lightweight shoes are built with less foam and cushioning features under the foot, allowing for more natural and dynamic motion for the feet.

But there is a downside to the lightweight shoe.

In general, these do not offer the same degrees of cushioning and shock absorption as regular road shoes classified in the neutral or stability categories.

That’s why they should not be used for general training.

If you are just starting out, the last thing you’d want to get is a racing flat.

You don’t need them that early in your training program.

Note – Looking for the best Beginner’s Guide To Running?
Then Check my Runners Blueprint System Here.

 Types of Running Shoes

2. Trail Shoes

Trail runners have to maneuver across mud, dirt, rocks and other off-road obstacles, therefore, they require the best in support, stability, and protection.

And with over 6 million trail runners in the U.S alone, trail shoes sales have surged in the last few years.

Trail shoes, as the name implies, are built for trail running.

These shoes are designed for running surfaces that are undulating and have a wide range of terrain, from mud to grass, road, and hard packed paths.

Think of trail shoes as a mix of running sneakers and hiking shoes.

They offer enough protection around the ankle and the tongue to protect your feet against all the roots and rock found on rugged and rocky terrains.

Not only that, these also provide superior grip for better traction and control on softer, often uneven, and slippery surfaces—typically achieved through aggressive soles and stickier rubbers.

The incredible grip that trail shoes provide also makes them a popular option for wearing while playing disc golf, according to Reaper Disc Supply.

Additional resource – Here’s the full guide to running shoe anatomy.

3. Stability Shoes

Stability running shoes are usually recommended for runners with a normal arch or neural feet.

These athletes tend to require shoes with a good mix of midsole cushioning and good support.

There is nothing wrong with pronation—it’s, in fact, part and parcel of human movement.

Pronation, simply put, refers to the inward rolling of the foot upon impact.

But too much pronation might be problematic.

Stability shoes can come in handy as they can help prevent, or at least reduce, excessive pronation, by offering more arch and ankle support throughout the gait cycle.

Additional Reading  – Your guide to the heel to toe drop.

4. Motion Control Shoes

As previously stated, pronation is part and parcel of the body’s natural movement.

But not all runners pronate equally.

Some of them do it to excess.

That’s why they might need a pair of shoe to help them limit, or even prevent, this.

Motion control shoes are usually recommended for runners with low arches and moderate to serious over-pronation, which is the excessive inward rolling of the foot following a foot strike.

Motion control shoes are usually more rigid than the average sneaker and are built with a wide sole to limit excessive motion throughout the gait cycle.

These are also ideal for heavy individuals looking for shoes that provide high stability and durability.

Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to running shoes for flat feet.

5. Cushioned Shoes

In general, cushioned shoes are made with extra cushioning for a plush feel, but without a lot of corrective or supportive elements.

Most cushioned shoes are built with shock dispersion features in the outsole and/or midsole portion of the footwear—typically in the heel or forefoot regions.

Cushioned shoes are typically recommended for runners with little to no pronation as they offer both shock absorption and protection with little to no extra support throughout the gait cycle.

These shoes are also called “neutral padded shoes”.

These are designed to counteract supination.

Typically, cushioned shoes are recommended for runners with high arches—what’s known as supinator, or underpronators in the running circles.

Additional resource – Here’s the full guide to supination running.

Making Sense of The Different Types of Running Shoes – Experiment

The best way to find the “perfect” sneaker is to do a lot of digging yourself and experiment with a lot of brands and designs (as well as different types of running shoes).

That’s the trial and error process at its finest, and you can’t do without it when selecting the right sole-mates.

Once you have a rough idea of what you’re looking for , then you hit the nearest specialty running store where you can have your foot mechanics assessed by the knowledgeable staff.

Want to make the most out of your sneakers?

Here’s how to make your running shoes last longer.

Additional Resources


There you have it. Today’s article provides plenty of information on the different types of running shoes out there. Now it’s up to you to choose the type of running shoes that works the best for you. The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

Keep Running Strong

Anatomy of a Running Shoe – The 7 Main Parts

pictutre of shoe

The midsole? The tongue? Eva? What does this all mean? If you are serious about learning all about the anatomy of a running shoe, then you are in the right place.

But why would you care?

Here is the basic premise: understand basic shoe anatomy, and you’ll increase your chances of buying the right pair that meets your physiological needs and personal preference.

Do You Habla Runnerlese?

Runners have a language all on their own.

You can call it Runnerlese, Runnerlish, or Runnerilian, whatever… And in contrast to, let’ say, German or Japanese, the language of running is not difficult to pick up.

In a previous post, I shared with my dear readers an exhaustive list of the most common terms runners—from all levels and training backgrounds—use to talk about and refer to their running experience.

You can check that post here.

But today, dear reader, I decided to narrow my focus and talk about your shoes and their many components and parts.

Think of this post as a useful follow-up to my earlier piece The Complete Runners Lexicon.

Go through both these posts, and never be left in the dark, running-wise, ever again.

These Shoes Are made For Running

Running shoes are made to optimize training performance, and make training as safe and comfortable as possible.

There is a vast array of technical features to a pair of running shoes—and the terminology can scare off even the most well-intentioned and serious and smart beginners.

But worry no more.

I got you covered, buddy.

Today I will spill the beans on running shoe anatomy.

I’ll break down some of the must-terms you should understand that should shed more light on the features and structure of a given running shoe.

In Essence, I’ll walk you through each part—what it is and why should you care—layer by layer, starting with the upper.

Are you excited?

Then here we go.

Anatomy of a Running Shoe

Anatomy of a Running Shoe – The 7 Main Parts

In general,  the anatomy of a running shoe is made of seven main parts:  the upper, the midsole, the outsole, the tongue of the shoe, the heel counter, the toe box, and the last.

Each portion of shoe serves a particular function and has distinct features and properties that you need to be aware of to make the right running shoe buying decision.

Just don’t feel overwhelmed by any of this.

In this post, I’ll examine each component and give you practical advice on what to look for when purchasing your next pair of running shoes.

1. The Upper

Let’s start from the top.

Held together by the laces is the upper, which is the portion of the shoe above the midsole that encloses the foot, keeping the shoe in place, and protecting against dirt, rocks, and the elements.

The upper is typically made from a variety of materials, including mesh for breathability, synthetic leather for durability, or knits for a smooth, chafe-free feel.

When choosing a shoe, make sure the upper must fit well with the shape and size of your feet.

This can provide your feet with more stability over the long run.

2. Tongue of the Shoe

Underneath the shoe laces, you’ll find the tongue of the shoe.

This is the part of the shoe sticking out like a human tongue from the opening of the shoe, hence the name.

The tongue is the separate strip on the upper that protect the top of the feet from the pressure of the laces, preventing them from rubbing against the instep of the feet. That’s why it’s a key part of the anatomy of a running shoe

The tongue also makes it easier to put the shoes on and take them off.

A proper tongue should be of an appropriate size that it does not rub against the foot just above the ankles and thick enough (or well-padded) to protect the top of the feet against pressure from the laces.

Shoe manufacturers use the tongue to meet various needs, too.

For instance, trail shoe tongues are stitched to protect against the elements.

So, keep that in mind whenever you’re assessing the suitability of a given pair of shoes.

Anatomy of a Running Shoe

3. The Heel Counter

On the back of the shoe, you’ll find the heel counter, which is the exoskeleton of inflexible materials that wraps around and surrounds the heel.

This stiff structure around the heel reduces Achilles tendon irritation, provides a more secure heel fit, excellent cushioning, and rotational control.

The heel counter is made of stiff materials that protect against the impact forces that the feet experience while running.

4. The Last

The last refers to the three-dimensional, foot-shaped mold that determines the outline of the shoe.

Think of it as the foot model over which a shoe is assembled.

Lasts can be straight, curved, or semi-curved.

According to theory, some lasts are best suited for a particular feet anatomical structure.

A straight last tends to be heavier, providing more support under the arch, which might help control excessive the inward collapsing motion following a foot strike.

That’s why they are often recommended overpronators—mostly runners with flat feet.

A Curved last is lighter and less supportive.

Thus, they are usually recommended for supinators—typically runners with very high arches.

Semi-curved last is a hybrid of the two—not quite as thick as the straight type but still offer ample support under the arch.

Most running shoes out there are made with semi-curved last, but, and as a rule of thumb, the last has to match the shape of your foot.

This provides better pronation control and greater comfort.

5. The Toe Box

The toe box is the front platform of your shoes that houses your toes—the space that fits around the widest part of the toes and feet.

And by far, the toe box is the most important ingredient in finding a good fit.

A running pair should fit like a glove, with no sense of cramming or constraining in the toe box.

The toes should not touch the inside front of the shoes, and the feet should not feel clasped at all.

If the toe box is too tight, or the toes do not have enough room between your longest toe and the front of the toe box, it can affect the mechanics of your movement, leading to black toenails, discomfort, and hindered performance.

When fitting a shoe, make sure you have enough room to comfortably fit your toes.

The toe box should have sufficient space to allow the toes to wiggle freely, and for the feet to swell while running.

In essence, you should be able to play the piano with your toes.

Ideally, you should aim for a distance equal to the width of your thumb between your longest toe and the tip of your toe box.

Also, Make sure the height of the shoe box comfortably fits your toes.

6. The Midsole

Moving down, you’ll find the midsole, which is the thick layer of technical foam or rubber sandwiched between the upper and the outsole.

More specifically, the midsole is the materials that sit above the outsole and below the upper.

Midsoles are another important part of the anatomy of a running shoe

They provide cushioning while controlling excessive foot motion (pronation or supination).

Most of the shock absorption and cushioning is provided by the midsole.

The cushioning properties are usually attached to or embedded within the midsole.

Most midsoles are typically constructed of foam type compound commonly known as EVA, or polyurethane. EVA stands for ethylene vinyl acetate and is the most common commercially mass-produced midsole foam used in running shoes.

In general, EVA is softer material due to its lightness and more cushioned feel. But it compresses, and breaks down quickly, losing rebound after constant impact.

On the other hand, polyurethane is heavier and more durable than Eva.

But a few shoes have polyurethane as the midsole.

Furthermore, some high-tech midsoles are made with non-foam technologies, such as airbags or GEL, to increase protection and durability.


7. The Outsole

The outsole is the threaded layer of rubber on the bottom your trainers—the portion of the shoe that makes contact with the ground, providing traction and durability.

Hence, this is the part of the shoes that shows the most wear and tear.

Most outsoles have treads for traction, multidirectional flex grooves for flexibility, and provide protection against rocks, dirt, etc.

For trail runners, the outsole is the most important layer to consider.

There is a broad range of outsole types to choose from.

Outsoles are usually made from carbon rubber, blown rubber, or a combination of the two—all of which offer different levels of durability and traction.

Runners looking for a sturdy pair should opt for outsoles made with carbon rubber (same material as tires).

Carbon is the more durable, but it’s also stiffer and heavier than blown rubber.

But if your priority is flexibility and a “softer feel” shoe, then blown rubber outsoles are exactly what you need.

These are more cushioned, more flexible, but not as durable as carbon rubber.

New to Running? Start Here…

If you’re serious about running, getting fit, and staying injury free, then make sure to download my Runners Blueprint Guide!

Inside this guide, you’ll learn how to start running and lose weight weight the easy and painless way. This is, in fact, your ultimate manifesto to becoming a faster and a stronger runner. And you want that, don’t you?

 Click HERE to check out my Runners Blueprint System today!

Don’t miss out! My awesome running plan is just one click away.

Anatomy of A Running Shoe – The Conclusion

There you have it!  If you’re curious about the many parts that make up a running shoe, then today’s post has you covered. The rest is just details.

Feel free to leave your questions and comments in the section below.

Have a great day