The Running Shoe Buying Process

Finding the Right Running Shoes For Your Running Needs

Are you heading to a running store to get new running shoes? Are you wondering what amount of time you need to be in the shoes before they feel broken in? Do you even know what kind of shoe to buy?

Here are all the details on how to find and break in your new pair of running shoes.

Running Shoe Tip: the best time to buy new running shoes is after a training cycle
The best time to buy new running shoes

We’re definitely not in the 1990s anymore. At this point, shoe brands do a great job of providing running shoes that are good to wear right out of the box. Back in the day, we probably needed to wear them around the house for a few days before they felt good; but now, as soon as we open the box, they are ready for miles.


Ready to Go

Running shoes are pliable, easily molded to your foot, and ready to go once you lace them up. If the brand and the style are what you’re used to, for example, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17 to Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18, you’re more than likely ready to run them right out of the box. If you’re switching brands or switching styles, you may want to break in the shoes for a day.

The right time to buy running shoes is after your peak race
Buy your running shoes at a local run specialty shop to get the attention you need

Personally, I have found that if I have a shoe that I like – for example, the Brooks Revel or the Brooks Levitate, then I am going to stick with that shoe through their updates until it doesn’t work for me any longer. This could, literally, be years before I switch to a different shoe.

I urge you to find a shoe that you like and that works for you and your running and stick with it until it doesn’t work for you anymore.

How do you find a shoe that works for you?

How to Choose Running Shoes

There are potentially a half-dozen shoes that are a good fit for you. Don’t focus so much on the brand, but yet, focus more on the shoes within a brand. Each company – Nike, Adidas, Asics, Brooks, Hoka One One, etc – all make shoes that are comparable to each other. So, for example, all of the running brands make a shoe that is designed as a racing flat. They make shoes for runners who pronate and some who supinate, and other shoes for those who have a neutral running gait. What is different about all the shoes is the specific brand technology that they use. Nike using something different than Adidas and Brooks and On.

Think of it this way:

Honda makes the Civic and Mazda makes the Mazda 3. They’re both in the same category, with similar pricing and features. The same is the case with running shoes.

There are 4 main categories of shoes:

  • Lightweight Neutral
  • Lightweight support (pronation or supination)
  • Maximum Cushion (neutral)
  • Maximum Stability (pronation or supination)
Purchasing running shoes & the best time to do so
The best time to buy running shoes: after a training cycle

When you get to a specialty running store, you’ll want to find out what kind of shoe you need – do you need a stable shoe or a neutral shoe or something in between? Once you know what kind of foot pattern you have, you’ll want to go to each brand and find a shoe that feels comfortable on your foot. That might mean you have to try on 4 or 5 shoes. There’s nothing wrong with that!

Keep in mind that a specialty running store – like Dave Welsh’s Haddonfield Running Company, Craig Segal’s Runner’s High, or Scott Tantino’s North Wales Running Company – can properly take care of your foot and shoe needs. They’ll watch how you run and make sure you’re in the right type of shoe. Not all big box stores can and will do that for you.

Do you need to break in your new running shoes?
How to break in new running shoes

When You Should Break Shoes In

I would be cautious about wearing brand new running shoes on race day. There could be spots on the shoe – the upper, the toe box, the heel – where something rubs your foot the wrong way and blisters can form. You really wouldn’t want bad blisters on race day, especially if that day is a marathon.

To break in new running shoes, I suggest wearing them around the house for a few hours. If you don’t feel any bad spots, then you’re more than likely ready to go. The time to buy new running shoes isn’t the week of a race though. Do some planning and make sure you’ve done some runs in different weather and for at least one long run before wearing them on race day. When in doubt, the best time to buy new running shoes is after your racing season at the start of your running cycle.

Running shoe varieties at the Pelerin household

What’s your strategy for breaking in new shoes? Do you wait or do you dive right in?  I don’t think there’s a right or a wrong – except for race week/day.  I wouldn’t wear new shoes that close to a big race.  You never know what might could pop up – blisters, rubbing, or even worse.

Try doing a few long runs in a new pair and rotate between your old pair and your new pair until your old pair is dead.

Searching for a running coach? TrainwithMarc has flexible schedules, dynamic plans, and access to a coach who’s worked with every type of runner.

TrainwithMarc will design a training plan based on your needs, running history, and your goals.

Gear I Love

Garmin is my go-to brand of running watches

My Favorite RUNNING gear from Amazon ⬇️
Feetures socks:
Tifosi Sunglasses:
Garmin 235:
Garmin heart rate monitor:

Coach Marc does strides after easy runs to prime his legs

Current Running Shoes ⬇️
Brooks Levitate:
Brooks Revel:
Nike Pegasus:

Marc uses a massage gun to loosen up his legs

Running Recovery Gear I use daily from Amazon ⬇️
Sonic X Percussion Massage Gun:
Foam Roller:
CEP Compression socks:

Marc running a popup 5k in Haddonfield

TrainwithMarc’s Social Media links ⬇️
Instagram: @TrainwithMarc_LLC
Twitter: @marcpelerin
Facebook: @TrainWithMarc
TikTok: @Run_Coach_Marc
Venmo: @marcpelerin

Marc is a middle school Special Education teacher and the distance track and cross country coach who also works with distance runners seeking personal bests. He blogs at and writes a Friday newsletter. You can find everything Marc is working on here.

Gear I Love

Location Cherry Hill, NJ E-mail Hours Weekdays: 3-10 pm; Weekends: 7 am-10 pm
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