My second tip about choosing your shoes is to not settle for one style of shoe. You should always try to keep at least two styles of shoes in rotation at any given time. There are two sides to this coin.
First, you want two different styles to give your feet a little variety. Even if you are going out for just a random training run, it does not hurt to use different kinds of shoes. The shoes may belong to the same category of shoes, or they may belong to different categories. But, you should try to have at least two different makes or models.
Second, you will want to use different shoes for different occasions. A Sunday run might call for trainers, but a 1 mile race on the track probably calls for some sort of racing shoe such as spikes or flats. Having a few different styles lets you choose a shoe appropriate for the race or workout that is on order for the day.
Some of the generic styles of shoes that you might come across are:
- Trainers: Heavier shoes with plenty of cushioning. These are all-around every day use running shoes.
- Lightweight Trainers: These are trainers that might not offer as much padding, but they weigh a few ounces less than regular trainers and for some people make a good alternative for every day running.
- Trail Shoes: These tend to support your ankles a little better than the average trainer and will have a larger tread on them. These shoes are ideal for running through puddles and piles of leaves and dirt.
- Cross Trainers: These shoes tend to be heavier than trainers, and usually provide much more support for your ankles. These shoes are ideal if you want one pair of shoes for running in and playing basketball or tennis in.
- Walking Shoes: These shoes can be of any variety. They might be sneakers, they might be boots, they might dress shoes, they might sandals; these can be any shoe that is not meant for running, and should not be used as such.
- Racing Flats: Lightweight shoes that weigh sometimes half as much as the average trainer, these shoes are ideal for road races and can be used on the track.
- Spikes: Shoes with metal teeth in the soles that can grip a track surface or grass and earth. These shoes are lightweight like racing flats, but usually have threaded holes in the bottom that you can screw in a variety of different spikes and plugs. These shoes are perfect for a fast track race, and for maintaining your footing during a cross country race. They are especially useful in cross country races when it is raining. They can be uncomfortable to wear if you have to run on roads or other hard surfaces, and doing so will dull your spikes very quickly. The spikes should be removed and cleaned after every race.
- Waffles: Similar to racing flats, these lightweight shoes have a little bit more tread on them and might have rubber spikes in the same patterns as spikes. These shoes are best suited for cross country racing, especially if you will need to cross or run along any roads.
Racing flats, spikes, and waffles should not be used for every day training in. They should be reserved for races and speed workouts. They tend not to offer enough support to keep you from injuring yourself if you use them as your every day running shoe.