The Importance of High Quality Running Shoes

The Importance of High Quality Running Shoes

Have a question about running? You’re in the right place. Every Tuesday, world-renowned coach, author and athlete Hal Higdon posts and answers athlete questions here. You can submit your question by joining the discussions on Hal Higdon’s Virtual Training Bulletin Boards.


I am new to running and have as my goal running my first half marathon in December. Friends and family keep telling me to invest in good running shoes. Is this true? I usually buy regular Nikes and did not know there was much difference between one shoe and another.


I’m not quite sure what a pair of “regular” Nikes would look like. Without surfing over to the Nike website, I’m sure that company has dozens of running shoes, from cheap to expensive, from light to heavy. Track shoes. Trail shoes. Cross-training shoes. Walking shoes. Looking-good-at-the-rock-concert type shoes. It can get very complicated.

There was a time when I might have told someone new to running that you’re right. It doesn’t make much difference. Just buy a cheap pair of sneakers, then after they wear out in a few hundred miles, you will have learned enough about foot fit to walk into a running specialty store with some idea of what to buy. But now I feel: why wait? Head to that store before Mile 1.

My reasoning? There has been a huge explosion in the last few years of both the number of and the quality of those running specialty stores. Yes, you can check out the shoe reviews in Runner’s World. Yes, you can search for both shoes and advice on the Internet. Do that first, then head for the running specialty store, where the salespersons can guide your final choice.

Shoes are the one essential piece of equipment if you want to be a runner. And they are not always cheap. While it’s good to get advice from fellow runners, what works for one person may not always work for another. Good luck finding the very best pair of running shoes for you.

Hal Higdon

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for'Runner's World'and author of 34 books, including the best-selling'Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. He ran eight times in the Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships. Higdon estimates that more than a quarter million runners have finished marathons using his training programs, and he also offers additional interactive programs at all distances through TrainingPeaks.Hal uses'TrainingPeaks'to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans.'Check out more of Hal Higdon's training plans here'or on'his website.