How to Buy the Best Athletic Shoes for Long Distance Runners

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Long distance runners need the best support their feet can get. Marathon runners pound the cement for 47 km, and that puts serious strain on the human body, not to mention runner's shoe s. The choice of shoe is a big factor, and for most runners it is the most important buying decision of all. Purchasing the right shoe keeps the foot comfortable and safe on long runs. The wrong shoe can not only harm the runner's potential, it also leads to nasty accidents and falls.

Shoe stores and online websites like eBay are lined with a large selection of running shoes, and selecting the right pair can be more than overwhelming without the proper tools. Considering the importance of the shoe as well as the making the right decision regarding material and style are crucial to a successful purchase. When it comes to buying long distance running shoes, the consumer needs to purchase a type that fits his foot while offering superior cushioning and stability.

The Runner's Foot

The most important consideration when it comes to buying a long distance running shoe is not the shoe itself, instead it is the runner's foot. The average human running gait varies from person to person, and people place their weight on different parts of the foot based on the foot's shape. A runner who has a flat arch with severe overpronation, for example, may have trouble if he bought a neutral running shoe. This is because neutral running shoes are designed for those who have high arches. If the shoes do not fit the runner's gait, they are not providing the support needed to go on short runs, let alone long ones.

The Arch

The first part of understanding the foot involves knowing the kind of arch the runner has. An easy way to find out the arch is to first lay a paper bag on the floor. Dip the bare foot in water and place it on the bag. If the entire footprint appears, including the inner arch, then the runner has a flat arch. If the footprint is slightly narrow where the top part of the foot curves in slightly before reaching the heel, then the runner has a medium arch. If there is an extreme curve from the front of the foot to the back of the heel, then the runner has a high arch.

High Arch

Runners who have a high arch typically have a foot with sharp elevation between the toes and the heel. This means that the runner puts most of the weight on the outside edge of the foot. Look at an old running shoe, for example, and it is clear that runners with high arches have more wear on the outside edge of the shoe. The technical term for this is underpronation, and a runner with underpronation must be careful when selecting shoes. A neutral running shoe that helps disperse weight to the inside of the foot is always a great idea in this case.

Medium Arch

Those with medium arches have a slight elevation between the heel and toe. Runners with this type of foot typically push off from the centre of their toes. Such runners are called neutral pronators, and runners can tell if they run this way because their old running shoes are worn on the centre and heel. These types of runners also need neutral shoes.
However, some runners with a medium arch suffer from mild overpronation. This means that they are pushing off towards the inside of their toes. Likewise, an old running shoe shows more wear along the interior of the foot and just under the big toe. These runners need a stability running shoe that helps shift the gait more towards the centre of the foot.

Flat Arch

Those with flat arches have almost no elevation between the toe and the heel. When they walk or run, almost all of the person's weight is placed on the arch instead of the outside of the foot. Again, this principle is easily demonstrated by looking at an old running shoe that is severely worn along the inside of the foot. This is called severe overpronation and can affect the running gait badly. Motion control running shoes work well for this foot type since they help redistribute the weight back towards the centre of the foot.

The Athletic Shoe

Once a runner understands his own foot, it is time to start looking at long distance running shoes. This means shoes with serious cushioning and support. Lightweight running shoes made largely out of synthetic materials are not the best option for runners. Minimalist barefoot shoes, those that offer little support in the sole, can be considered if the runner prefers the natural, barefoot style. However, in most cases, heavier running shoes made from leather are needed for long distance runners, including those who run on trails.

Shape of Athletic Shoes

The shape of the shoe is very important for providing proper support which is crucial for long distance runners. There are three types of shoes: straight, semi-curved, and curved. Out of all three, the curved shape provides less support to the arch than the other two. Because of this, it does not make for a good running shoe. Those who have flat arches, for example, and do not need a good deal of arch support can go with a semi-curved shoe. Runners with high arches, or medium arches, need the extra support provided by a straight shoe so that they do not strain the muscles in the foot.

Sole of an Athletic Shoe

A good long distance running shoe has a thick sole to provide cushioning for the foot. The single exception is the minimalist barefoot running shoe, which has a much smaller sole compared to the other options on the market. Most runners, however, opt for the heavier soles. Heavy soles help protect the shoe long enough so that a dedicated runner does not have to buy new running shoes frequently. Those who often run outdoors, especially those who do so on hiking trails, need to consider a shoe with a very thick sole that has a gripping pattern on the bottom. This helps prevent against slips and falls when on the trail.

Shoe Size

The fit of the shoe is key for a long distance runner. A proper running shoe gives the runner some wiggle room around the toe area while fitting snugly around the rest of the foot. The heel should not slip away from the back of the foot when the wearer moves. Ideally, the shoe also needs to be somewhat flexible and should feel supportive and comfortable to the wearer. However, too much flexibility means the shoe is not providing vital extra support. Pick a shoe that bends slightly with the foot.

Foot Length (cm)




24.8 6.5 7.5 40
25.4 7 8 40.5
25.7 7.5 8.5 41
25.8 8 9 42
26.7 8.5 9.5 42.5
27 9 10 43
27.3 9.5 10.5 43.5
27.8 10 11 44
The above chart lists average shoe sizes, but the exact measurements may vary by brand. Consult measuring charts available from brands like Nike or Adidas in order to get the proper size measurements when buying shoes online.

How to Buy the Best Athletic Shoes for Long Distance Runners on eBay

eBay offers the convenience of purchasing running shoes online, with dozens of great deals. You can find a massive collection of running shoes on eBay at prices that are reasonable. Runners can buy new shoes at fantastic prices and even find slightly used shoes at an excellent bargain.

When it comes to looking at running shoes, start your search by typing in ' running shoes'. This limits the results to all running shoes, but it is likely that the overall selection is still too broad. Focus on narrowing your search in one of several ways. You can search by brands, such as ' New Balance running shoes', in order to get results from a particular company. If you are not too picky about brands, then you can start searching by size, such as ' size 8 running shoe'. Finally, try looking for specific styles, such as 'motion control running shoes', in order to find the shoes that offer the best fit for your foot.


Long distance running shoes are meant to take quite a beating before they give out, requiring the wearer to purchase a new pair. These thickly cushioned shoes typically come with large soles and lots of internal support designed to keep the runner comfortable during a run. However, not all running shoes are created equally, and certain types feel better on the foot compared to others. Runners need to start shopping for shoes by examining their own feet and determining the type of arch they have.
After a little bit of research, the customer can pick a shoe style that can improve his running gait while also providing the necessary support. Shoe shape is also extremely important for the proper support, while the shoe's sole needs to be thick. Finally, the runner needs to select a shoe in the proper size according to his foot measurements, especially when purchasing shoes online through eBay. When all of these factors are considered, the runner ends up with just the right shoes that feel great and provide adequate support.
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