The Endure EQ by Excel Endurance

Endure EQ 028 | A Simple Framework for Choosing Your Running Shoes

published2 months ago
4 min read

Hello Reader,

Welcome to Vol. 028 of The Endure EQ.

Every week you'll get a deep dive into a topic related to endurance training, maximizing your potential or reaching peak performance.

Let’s jump in.

A Simple Framework for Choosing Your Running Shoes

When thinking about running there is only 1 key piece of gear.

This is your shoes.

You may struggle to find the ‘right’ shoe for you or you may have your favourite shoe already.

This framework will help you simplify the process and always have the best shoes for your feet.

It starts with knowing the main use of your shoe.

Determine use of shoe (trail, road, distance, race focus)

Depending on distance, terrain and focus you can have different shoes.

I look at them in 4 major categories:

  1. General training
  2. Race shoes
  3. Trail running
  4. Cross-training

These are the 4 shoes that I generally rotate through in a given week.

If you have no running shoes, start by getting a general training shoe and expand your options slowly.

General Training Shoe

This is going to be your primary running shoe.

Look for one that is built for your current running volume and focus. You can get marathon shoes that can handle more volume or shorter duration shoes if your focus is sprint/standard races. You may even want both options.

Having a consistent, reliable training shoe is your first use case.

Race Shoes

As you look at performance based goals you may want to consider a race shoe.

This could have carbon or synthetic plates meant to propel you forward faster. These shoes are typically more expensive but they make up for it in the speed. Race shoes can be less durable so it’s best to reserve their use for races and race-pace workouts.

These can be an upgrade to get an edge while running.

Trail running shoe

If you are planning on being out on the trails for running you will need a pair of trail runners.

The construction of these shoes will be more durable and the soles will usually have treads that are much better on mud and dirt. Trail running is one of my favourite cross-training exercises. Your road shoes will likely cause you to slide around quite a bit more than trail runners.

I personally use my trail runners for hiking as well.

Cross-training shoe

The final pair of sneakers you should have is a cross training shoe.

Most running shoes are not constructed in a way that supports strength training. So it’s good to pick up a dedicated pair of strength training shoes. I prefer a flatter shoe that allows me to focus on smooth movements.

These aren’t really running shoes but good to have.

Optimize for personal comfort above all else

Once you narrow down your use for each shoe we need to pick the right shoe for your feet.

The best filter for whether you have the right shoe is comfort.

It should feel good on your feet from the moment you put the shoe.

  • No need for breaking in
  • No pressure points
  • No slipping

New shoes can feel ‘different’ on your feet but there should be no discomfort.

The best way to know what is comfortable for your feet is to try a ton of shoes on. Head to your local running shop and just start trying on shoes. Don’t become too concerned with specific brands. You will find some that feel more comfortable than others.

When it comes to narrowing down your fit:

  • Get the right size (have the shop size your feet for a starting point)
  • Make sure there is enough space in the toes (so you can move a little)
  • Make sure there is no rubbing (particularly in the heel and toe box)

Choose shoe that maintains your preferred running motion

You already have a natural running gait.

And it becomes very hard to change this over time.

The shoe you choose should maintain your preferred running motion.

When you’re trying shoes on, try to do a little jog in the store.

See how it feels to run in the shoe. It should feel similar to your normal running stride. If you’re being forced in a different running pattern it’s probably not the shoe for you.

When it comes to stability or pronation shoes I wouldn’t stress about these variations.

Instead stick to what keeps you in your normal running pattern.

Cycle between shoes frequently

The best way to prevent running injuries is with a large shoe closet.

Your support crew probably doesn’t like this advice.

BUT, go buy a new pair of shoes.

Small variations between brands and models will change the way you land and push off.

This creates different stimulus for the body and seems to have a protective effect on running related injuries.

So cycle between multiple shoes.

Some nice to haves with shoes

When it comes to triathlon here are 3 bonus things to consider for shoes:

  • A solid pair of lock laces (these make transitions quicker)
  • Comfortable running socks.
  • Many pairs of shoes.


Running shoes are your most important piece of gear:

  1. Pick shoes based on the use case (trail, training, race, or strength)
  2. Optimize for comfort on your feet.
  3. Aim to maintain natural running gait.
  4. Cycle between pairs.

Add lock laces and a solid pair of socks to round out your shoe choice.

Thank you for being here!

- Chandler

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The Endure EQ by Excel Endurance

Welcome to The Endure EQ by Excel Endurance. Every Sunday you'll get a deep dive into a topic related to endurance training, maximizing your potential or reaching peak performance. If you like what you read here join today so you never miss an issue.