How do you know if you have the right running shoe?

How do you know whether you have the right running shoe? 👟

It’s a question we all ask 🤷🏼‍♀️. 

When I started running about 6 years ago, I nipped out of work at lunch time to a general shoe shop and picked up a black pair of trainers from a well-known brand as I liked the look of them. I went for my exact size too, a ladies 6. Perfect. 

Not so. Every time I ran my feet were ripped apart and ended up full of blisters. When I say ran, it was no more than 2k on a jog/walk basis. I blamed my feet, not the brand of course. I didn’t know then that running shoes should really not do that damage to feet! 

Nevertheless, I had a Race for Life event looming, so off I went to a big Sports Shop. I picked up a pair from another well-known brand that I had chosen myself because they had a beautiful purple in them, and they went very nicely with my outfit. Perfect. But again, more pain!  I thought this was normal, this was a well-known brand after all, all part of running, and although I persevered, I really didn’t enjoy running. 

Eventually someone at a parkrun told me to go to Run North West, as they would get me on the treadmill and check my gait, let me know “what I am” and recommend the best trainers. “What I am?” What did that mean??!! Only today I now know it means my bespoke running style – whether I was a neutral runner, whether I overpronated or whether I under-pronate. 

So I did, I went. On a lovely Summer day whilst out and about I decided to innocently call in, but quickly realising to my horror that wearing a play suit without a bra was not ideal for time on and off the treadmill!! Nor did I have the shoes I had been running in and causing me problems so the team could not tell me how small and totally wrong they were for me. 

However, that day I went away with THE perfect shoes for me, in the right size (length and width) and with the correct level of support for my running style and suddenly realized I could run and end up with painless, blister-less and happy feet! 

I am now part of the Run North West team of running experts. So here are my top tips about coming in for gait analysis and new shoes which will probably change your running life as, they did for me:

  1. Come ready to run, you could be on and off the treadmill a fair bit. 
  2. Bring your current running shoes. It’s helpful if we know what you have been wearing, even if you end up throwing them away!
  3. Don’t go off looks alone, judge by how the shoes feel and our advice on their sizing and support. The best shoe for you could be the ugliest to your eye – but think of those happy feet. Oh OK, I am sure we will have some sort of choice to match your outfit, but after our expert analysis.  
  4. Try not to have a colour in mind… the perfect shoe might not be available in the specific colour you had in mind, but we will try our best.
  5. Wear a pair of running socks so your size can be assessed in the typical thickness of your running sock. Don’t worry if you forget, just ask us for a sample pair. Many people do this.
  6. Trust us when it comes to size, we are the experts. Sometimes it can be difficult hearing that you need a size or two bigger. See us as your friend that you take shopping to ask “do I look good in this?”
  7. Listen to the aftercare instructions, such as how to break the shoes in and their life expectancy. 
  8. If you are unsure about anything; terminology, a feature – just ask (we love to explain)

Don’t worry if you don’t come prepared (like I did), we can still help you and send you away happy! 

I now have a shoe from every brand we stock in the style and size that suits me and believe me they are all different sizes depending on brand. I like to mix things up and use them for different sessions and distances. I’m really open to trying a shoe that feels right for me. 

What’s more, gait analysis is free at our store and there is no need to book an appointment. You can relax knowing you are in expert hands with a team of runners. 


gait analysis

Sam ,

Operations Manager – Run North West, Retail and Events. 

🕰 Mon-Sat 9:30-5:30 & Sun 11:30-4:30


📧 [email protected]

RNW Wilmslow

🏠 2 St Ann’s Parade, Alderley Road, Wilmslow, SK9 1HG

📞 01625 528887