A good running shoe should be designed to assist with three major functions: to provide a cushion for shock absorption, to support the foot by effectively distributing impact forces, and to supply a barrier to protect against outside elements. Finding the right shoe that accomplishes these factors requires some insight into your own running mechanics which, fortunately, can be easily determined. First, you’ll need to observe your degree of pronation (the inward rolling of the foot when it comes into complete contact with the ground). The article “Pronation, Explained” does a fantastic job of demonstrating the different pronation types. Runners that have issues with excessive pronation which is common among those with low to flat arches should choose a stability or “motion control” shoe containing rigid devices around the heel and arch. Runners that have high arches typically have issues with underpronation that require a shoe with more cushioning, A combination shoe containing some stability and a moderate degree of cushioning will work best for those with normal pronation and no apparent mechanical abnormalities. What is your degree of pronation? You can determine this by simply visiting a running specialty store that has staff trained in determining your type. If you want to go it alone, you can make an informed decision by using a Wet Footprint Test as described in the article “Take the Wet Test: Learn Your Foot Type”. Another aspect to consider is your body weight. Heavier runners will be best served with a bulkier, sturdier shoe. Make sure to try out many different models in the store to find a shoe that immediately feels comfortable as they should not have to be broken in. As a final point, make certain that you leave about a half inch between your toes and the front of the shoe as extra space allows for shifting that occurs when running downhill. Happy running!