Top 5 Brands for Running Shoes

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Running shoes are – arguably – the most important item required for successful running.
Beginner runners often don’t know where to start and, with 100s of different brands, feel overwhelmed with excessive choice.

Too much choice can be a problem

Ever felt like there was too much choice when trying to pick dinner from a 50-item restaurant menu?
Picking the Bolognese may seem like the right choice, but your dinner comes out and your mind wonders “should I have chosen the steak? The ravioli? The pizza? The Chow Mein? The soup?”

Keep it simple

Too much choice means we feel overwhelmed and paralysed to inaction; especially when we’re not an expert on what we’re buying.
To avoid ‘missing out’ or ‘making a mistake’ we scan through every single available option and still don’t feel satisfied after. “What if the other brand was better?”
When we don’t know much about something– running, a health regime, a business idea, new music – recommendations on what’s proven to be popular and work well, saves time, effort and mental wellbeing.

Take a few minutes and learn 5 of the most popular running shoe brands, proven to prime those who wear them for running success.
But first…

Why bother to buy running shoes?

When doing anything in life, having the right tools will go a long way.

An author writing a book will find it more efficient to use a computer and keyboard than to write it out the old-fashioned way. A miner will find it easier to extract minerals and ores using a digger than when using a shovel.
Investing in the right tools – a pair of decent, branded running shoes – is a perfectly justified action to take. Even if it costs something small.

Benefits of a good pair of running shoes are:

Reduce the risk of injury

Make no mistake, running is one of the highest impact sports you can do.
Your feet, toes, ankles and legs are constantly hitting the ground and pushing off it to propel you forward. Though an inbuilt human behaviour, this high impact can lead to injuries (runners knee, Achilles tendonitis and shin splints to name a few) running shoes can help prevent.

They feature inbuilt midsole cushioning, absorbing shock each time you contact the ground.
Imagine a car going over a pothole with no shock absorber. A few times is manageable, but over time the constant beating will cause the car to weaken and damage i.e. a crack in its frame, meaning it will have to go in for repair.
Going in for repair (going to your GP, spending time recovering) is not ideal because you can’t train, struggle to move around, and can’t perform everyday tasks as well as usual.
Get a good pair to reduce the risk of injury.

Improve performance
Running shoes are scientifically designed with performance in mind. Cushioned support reduces stress on lower legs and feet, meaning you can run for longer and do not feel worn out quickly. Running shoes are designed with you foots anatomy and how your body moves in mind, meaning they naturally promote good technique and reduce bad running habits like overstriding.

Style
A human takes a huge interest in what they wear. Whether it’s a hat, a watch, a pair of jeans, top, bags or shoes.

A certain style can give you confidence and lead to an increase in performance. Ever felt sharper, more sophisticated and enthusiastic when in a suit or business dress?
What you wear correlates to the emotions you feel.

Runners could, subconsciously, choose shoe colours which align with their personality. For example, red represents passion and emotion whilst blue represents confidence, intelligence and faith.

To keep it simple for the beginner runner, who just wants to start and ‘get their feet wet’, here are the top 5 running shoe brands which have proven – time and time again – to add value for runners all over the world, regardless of ability level.

Here we go! 

Sure, you may look to other brands as you get more knowledgeable and experienced but for now, here are the top 5 brands to get you started.

1. Asics

Overview: Asics has been designing quality, stylish running footwear since 1949. Founder, Kihachiro Onitsuka, started out in the basketball shoe game but then expanded the range over the decades to focus more on running, tennis and other sports.
They’re a brand of choice for lots of runners globally, and for good reason.
Their shoes are known for innovation and sleek design, being highly durable, light and stable. Some Asics shoes feature cutting edge gel technology, giving runners protection and a bounce in their step to push them along on their runs.

Slogan: “Sound mind, sound body
Location: Japan
Popular Shoes: Asics Gel Nimbus, Asics GT200, Asics Gel Kayano, Gel-Quantum 360 Shift
Price: Mid-to High Range, £60-£200

2. Brooks

Overview: number two is Brooks, sure to be found in many runner’s shoe cupboards.
Created in 1914, American running manufacture Brooks, specialise in of road, trail and track shoes, meaning – whatever type of running you enjoy – there will be a shoe for you.
Brooks has lead technological advance in running shoes, with their first model, the Villanova, featuring EVA foam. The EVA foam stood out in the market because it was light, soft, cheaper and lead to a more pleasant running experience (think running on soft grass compared to running on hard mud). As a result, most modern shoes today feature EVA foam, proving Brooks are forward thinking market leaders in the running shoe game.

Brooks has the respectable “Brooks Running Responsibility Programme’ which considers a few factors in everything they do. They think about manufacturing, environmental footprint, fair labour, the community in which they operate, and product design and materials used, meaning they’re an ethical and responsible company to buy from.

Slogan: “Run Happy
Location: Seattle, Washington, America
Popular Shoes: Brooks Launch, Brooks Ghost, Brooks Glycerin, Brooks Cascadia
Price: Mid-range, £70-£135

3. Adidas

Overview: The biggest maker of sportswear in Europe, the Adidas sports brand are well-known producers of quality running shoes with “innovation and technology” at the heart of their designs. When running at any event, it’s likely you’ll see lots of Adidas on the scene.

Slogan: “Impossible is Nothing
Location: Germany
Popular Shoes: Ultraboost, Aerobounce, Energy Boost
Price: £45-£120

4. Altra

Overview: The youngest on the list, Altra was founded in 2009 and is frequently included in seasoned runners list of best running shoes. Altra design shoes with a natural, back to basics view in mind. The heel and ball of the foot, in the shoes, will be the same distance to the ground compared to other running shoes where the heel is elevated with the idea of reducing Achilles problems (though this might not actually be the case). ***
They won the Runner’s World Magazine’s 2012 Editor’s Choice Best Debut award for their powerful entrance into the market.

Slogan: “Every Road, Every Trail, Every Day
Location: America
Popular Shoes: Escalante, Instinct, ZeroDrop
Price: Varied, £40-£200

5. Mizuno

Overview: Founded in 1906, Mizuno is a Japanese sportswear company well known for their attention to detail, innovation and style when it comes to running shoes.
Mizuno shoes have a signature Wave Plate running directly throw the midsole. It gets its name from looking like ocean waves. The innovative design absorbs impact and spreads it across the Wave Plate, promoting stability and reducing stress on the legs. a stable and stress-free experience for the runner.

Slogan: “Never Settle
Location: Japan
Popular Shoes: Catalyst, Rider, Inspire
Price: Varied, £40-£200

Put your running shoes to use

Now you have your running shoes, put them to use. Run for charity, enter a race, run in the morning and start running at parkrun.

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