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If you're interested in starting a new sport, running is one of the easiest to get into in terms of necessary equipment. Since so little gear is required, you can focus your investment on a pair of high-quality running shoes. As you shop, keep in mind that each person's perfect pair of running shoes will be different. Each runner has different feet, varying levels of commitment, and different goals, so the best shoe will be different for each individual. Despite all the different features available, every shoe should have a few standards; knowing what features you need will help you quickly narrow your search and get you the best shoe for your foot.
What type of arches you have: Determine if you have high, normal, or low arches. The easiest way to do this is to get your bare feet wet, stand on an absorbent surface, and then step away and look at your footprint. A normal foot will show a curve along the inside of your foot between your toes and heels. A high arch will have a severe curve with only a thin band connecting the heel to the toes, and a flat foot will have only a very mild curve. For normal arches, choose a stability running shoe, one that offers extra padding in areas of high impact and strong support through the center for the shoe. If your footprint indicates a low or flat arch, look for a motion-control shoe, one that's rigid and will help prevent your foot from rolling in as you run. People with high arches should choose a shoe designed to encourage pronation, so the foot won't roll out as you run.
How much running you plan to do: Most runners have a tendency to over pronate (often associated with flat feet) or over supinate (often associated with high arches). If you're a serious, competitive racer, then a high-performance running shoe will serve you well. Designed to be lower to the ground with less cushion and few stability features, they're lighter on the foot than most shoes, but also a bad choice for most casual runners.
What size shoe you need: Running shoes will typically work best if they are one-half size larger than your usual shoe size. Because your feet swell during exercise, it's important not to buy a shoe so tight it will be uncomfortable by the end of your workout. You should have room for the tip of your thumb between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
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