Nike, Asics, Pearl iZumi, Brooks, Mizuno, New Balance, Adidas, Hoka One One, Saucony, trainers, flats, or performance trainers; are you confused yet? Have no fear, AJ here to guide you through that tough decision on what style of shoe you need for your Fort4Fitness race.

First let’s start off with the basic trainer. This style of shoe will normally be a tad heavier and have a bit more cushion compared to the flats and performance training shoes that are out there. There are a few different styles of trainers; Neutral, Stability, and Motion Control. Which one is best you ask? I suggest stopping by Three Rivers Running Company and let us analyze your gait to see what’s best for you.

After figuring out what style of shoe you need, now it’s time to figure out what brand or style you like. This is by no means easy. We get asked every day at the shop, “what brand is the best?” Simple answer: the one that feels the best for you. I really don’t think there is one “best brand.” I encourage you to step outside the box and try some different brands from time to time. You may find something out there that you may really enjoy!

Now that you have your training shoes picked out, let’s talk race day shoes. Race Days shoes?! Yes, if you want to shave a few seconds off your time wearing a slightly lighter shoe will help. If this is your first race, stick to your normal training shoes. Can’t go wrong with ol’ reliable! There are two different types of race day shoes: racing flats and performance trainers.

Racing Flats

According to www.racingflats.org:

Racing Flats are a cross between traditional running shoes and barefoot shoes, a perfect blend that provides ease to biomechanical efficient runners. Tracing back to the origin of racing flats, you will be surprised to know that there was no running specific shoe until the mid 1960’s, that is when a company named “Blue Ribbon” jumped in and created a running shoe industry, which later became Nike. From there on several companies developed interest in the running specific shoes.”

In laymen’s terms, a racing flat is like a slipper compared to your regular training shoes. There is just enough rubber on the bottom to protect your feet from the ground. You will feel every rock, root, squirrel spine, pothole, and curb. According to Jack Daniels (the running coach not the distiller), “You will save about .83 seconds for a mile, per ounce less weight.”

Performance Trainers

A performance trainer is essentially a racing flat with more cushioning. You get the lightweight feel of the racing flat, but a little more cushion like the basic training shoe. These are great for races and workouts.

So if you are a seasoned vet at running these distances and are looking to shave some time off, try looking into a lightweight shoe like a racing flat or performance trainer.

If you’re that new runner/walker just getting into the fun, get a good set of trainers, put some miles on them, love them and they will love you back and get you through that race!

We always suggest a range of 300 to 500 miles on a pair of running shoes. If your shoes start to feel different, flat, or you start feeling weird aches and pains, it’s time to switch them out.

You should try to get at least a handful of runs in your shoes before race day, but typically a running shoe doesn’t need a ton of break-in time.

If you have any other shoe questions, shoot us an email at [email protected] or come in to the shop!

written by AJ Arnett

“In all the miles I’ve run, I’ve found a lot of fabulous friends (and myself) along the way!”

Sherrie Konkle


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