The right shoes for your marathon

Between weeks of training and the actual marathon itself, you can expect to cover hundreds of miles as you prepare for your race. So, finding the right marathon shoes which are comfortable, supportive and dependable is really important. The last thing you want is a pair of marathon trainers which are painful to wear or even start falling apart before your big day.

Let’s look at how you can go about selecting the right marathon shoes for you – what to look for, what’s important in design and what factors to consider.

What to consider when choosing marathon trainers

Finding the best marathon running shoes for your 26.2 miles will depends on a number of factors. Consider these factors when choosing your pair:

  • Comfort is king

    There’s a lot of debate about the importance of technical features that go into running trainers, but most people agree that you should choose footwear which feels comfortable, above all else. If you’ve had a pair of running shoes you found comfortable before, that’s obviously a good place to start – certainly consider that brand when browsing. Nonetheless, it’s worth trying out a few different trainers to see if there’s a pair you really feel good in – this should guide your decision.

    You can think about comfort from two angles. The first is the shape of your feet – comfortable trainers will fit more snugly around them. Think about width – if you have wide or narrow feet, for instance, you’ll want wide or narrow trainers. Similarly, if you have high arches, you’ll want shoes with extra arch support. Or if your toes spread or you have bunions, you’ll want a wider toe box to accommodate that.

    Another way of approaching comfort is to think about the materials the marathon trainers are made from. If you want to go fast, choose extra-lightweight foams. Is the upper mesh breathable? This will stop your feet from getting hot, especially in warmer environments. Or, are you going to be running along damp trails? Finding shoes that use water-resistant materials will prevent miserable, moist socks.

  • Think about your gait

    If you’ve never had your running gait analysed, visit a running store where trained staff can assess your body’s biomechanics as you run, and recommend the right kind of shoes for you. Gait analysis essentially involves filming your feet from behind as you run on a treadmill. The store assistant will then be able to tell if you either:

    • Overpronate: meaning your foot rolls in especially far when you are running
    • Are neutral: meaning your foot is fairly flat when you run
    • Underpronate: meaning your foot doesn’t roll in far enough

    Depending on your gait, the store assistant will be able to recommend different kinds of shoes for neutral,overpronating or underpronating runners.

  • Consider the running surface

    Depending on the kind of surface your marathon will be on, it’s smart to choose shoes to that respond best to that kind of surface. Browse road running shoes if you’re going to be running on tarmac and concrete – these offer extra cushioning for hard ground. Or, look into trail running shoes if the marathon is across muddy surfaces and slippery ground, where bigger lugs and support are invaluable.

  • Think about your targets and goals

    What do you want to achieve out of your marathon? Is the goal to simply cross the finishing line while avoiding injury or discomfort? In this case, the right marathon shoes for you will include a lot of additional support features and cushioning in the heel and mid-foot. On the other hand, if you’re working towards your personal best, it’s worth considering fast running trainers. These tend to be more lightweight, offering less support but including design features which allow you to kick off and run that little bit faster.

  • Think about your socks too

    Whenever trying on marathon trainers, it’s smart to think about the socks you’ll be running in too, as these may add support but also a little extra ‘length’ to your foot – especially thicker socks. So, it’s a smart idea to bring the running socks you wear when choosing your trainers.

  • Does cost matter?

    The best marathon running shoes are not always the most expensive pair – as noted above, you should select based on comfort above all else. That said, there does tend to be a big difference between ‘bargain’ shoes and better known, more trusted brands. Ultimately, you will be covering hundreds of miles in your trainers, so it’s a smart idea to invest in a pair which offer the durability you need.

  • The right running shoes for you

    Every runner is different, and so are their needs – and that means that finding the right shoes for you and your marathon will take a bit of time and testing. Our running shoe finder is a handy tool that helps you start narrowing down your search – try it today