As the weather gets warmer, many are lacing their shoes up for a walk or run to get some fresh air. If you want to upgrade your kicks before heading outside, shopping for the right fit amid a stay-at-home advisory and nonessential business closures means going online.
Wearing solid footwear is incredibly important. So Boston.com spoke with Dan Fitzgerald, co-founder of Heartbreak Hill Running Company, who is connecting customers with a run specialist by phone or video chat, and posting running “events” to Instagram with a coach detailing a new daily workout (Fitzgerald hosts on Mondays). He also gave some advice to those looking to pick up the sport during these times.
“There are probably a lot of people who are just starting, so I would just say: always go slower so that you want to do it again,” said Fitzgerald. “Exercise should be about empowerment, not unhealthy grinding.”
Ahead, we share what to look for when shopping online for running shoes, and a few helpful tips from Fitzgerald.
Before you begin browsing, it’s important to know your arch type. There are three kinds: Flat-footed, normal arch, and high arch. An easy way to figure out your type is by taking a “wet test.” New Balance offers a helpful guide to shoes based on your arch type, and provides custom insoles for men and women, as well as a range of shoe widths, which can help determine the design that will best fit for your foot.
New Balance men’s Made in US 990v5 ($175) come highly rated for accommodating those with wide feet or who wear insoles.
“I finally found a shoe wide enough,” one reviewer wrote. “I felt relief from day one trying these shoes on.”
They are available online in eight colors ranging from Castlerock grey, Andromeda blue, black, and molten lava red. Women’s Fresh Foam 880v10 ($130) are lightweight and well-fitting, and also recommended for wearing over long periods.
If you have high arches, the Altra Torin 4 Plush ($140) and Mizuno Wave Creation 20 ($170) provide support and foot pain relief, according to reviewers. Asics Gel-Kayono 26 ($80-$320) is another popular choice for flat-footed runners designed to help correct overpronation.
Lightweight shoes can help lessen impact and promote faster recovery for runners. The Saucony Kinvara 8 comes highly recommended. Runningshoeguru.com wrote, “The Kinvara 8 is true to size and provides a snug midfoot fit. This shoe gives runners the benefit of a wider toe-box and 4mm heel-to-toe offset. The shoe was road and natural-surface tested, performing well on both.”
Heartbreak Hill Running’s Fitzgerald recommends the Nike React Infinity ($160), that was just released in January.
“The shoes are extremely well made and light as a feather,” one reviewer wrote. “Aside from looking great, the performance is amazing. The Epic react foam in the souls seems to be the best one I’ve worn yet. Really springy and feels like you are running on clouds. You can feel an immediate difference when you take the shoes off and switch to a different shoe. If you are looking for a really comfortable shoe that also provides the highest level of performance, these shoes are it!”
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The wait is over. Nike React Infinity Run is now available for Nike members in select countries. Check nike.com/React for availability where you are. ⠀ Designed to help reduce injury and keep you on the run, Nike React Infinity Run was tested by 226 runners over 11,264 runs.
To avoid injury, a quality running sneaker is essential. Fitzgerald says many of his customers remain loyal to the Brooks Ghost 12 ($130), calling it a, “great tried and true running shoe that’s been a best seller for years.”
The reviews support this very statement. One customer on Brooks’ online store wrote, “I’ve been buying Brooks for 7 years or so and have never been disappointed… I am so in love with these shoes. They are extra cushiony which helps with my right knee pain.”
Another added, “The shoe is lightweight and provides a balanced amount of stability and cushion which suits my needs well.
Praised as a “runner’s favorite” for its cushion and smooth feel, this sneaker is considered a solid choice for marathon training and comes in 28 colors. Brooks also has a shoe finder guide to help find the perfect sneaker depending on how you workout.
For a shoe that is stable and supportive, your foot should move comfortably while in motion. The Hoka One One Gaviota 2 ($150) provides stability thanks to their arch-lock wings on the mid-foot and a rubber foam for “support, rebound, and durability.”
Runner’s World wrote that, “for runners used to a higher and heavier stability shoe, the Gaviota 2 has it made. The shoe is also quite comfy as a walker, making it an option the next time I play tourist or have to be on my feet all day. They’re very forgiving on your soles.”
Hoka has also been providing at-home workouts via their Instagram stories.
Before we worked from home, walking around the city was not only a way of commuting, but a form of exercise. The Brooks Ariel ’20 ($160) provides maximum support and is extremely lightweight. Shoppers highlight the fit and comfort when wearing for long periods of time.
“I have hip and lower back issues, and I can be on my feet for several hours without pain,” one customer wrote. “Worth the money.”
The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% ($250) have been hailed by elite marathon runners who log in faster running times. The shoes are praised for their lightweight design and providing good traction with a carbon-fiber foam plate that seemingly allows you to run faster and longer. It is also durable in water, which is perfect for spring showers.