This article is from the Running FAQ, by Ozzie Gontang with numerous contributions by others.
Here is a summary of shoe reviews gleaned from various places including
manufacturers' adds, Road Runner Sports catalog, Runner`s World, Running
Times, rec.running postings, and my own experience. I will post and update
Guide to Categories
BASICS: A good quality shoe for a beginning through mid-mileage runner.
LIGHTWEIGHT TRAINER/RACER: Typically under 10 ounces. Very light, very
fast, biomechanically gifted runners can wear these shoes as daily
trainers. Other runners may get away with using these as a second pair for
racing in or for track workouts. These shoes usually have blown rubber
soles for light weight so they wear out too quickly for an everyday
training shoe for most of us.
MC: (Motion Control) Made for over-pronators and heavier runners.
STABILITY: For neutral runners and mild over-pronators. Offers some
resistance to pronation and supination.
RACING FLAT: Most people should race in their regular trainers or
lightweight trainers. For people who can get away with it, racing flats
might buy them a few seconds in a 10k. If that is the difference between
1st and 2nd, it is probably worth it. If it is the difference between 38:04
and 38:14 it is probably not worth the risk of injury. These shoes have
very little stability, cushioning, or durability, but they tend to weigh
2-4 oz. less than a lightweight trainer.
If you remove the insole, you can tell the type of construction. Slip
Lasted shoes have a sewn seam running the length of the shoe. Board lasted
shoes have a cardboard board running the length of the shoe. Combination
lasted shoes have cardboard in the rear half, and a seam up the front half.
Slip lasted shoes are the most flexible. Board lasted shoes are the most
stable and least flexible. Combination lasted shoes attempt to compromise
giving a flexible forefoot and a stable rear. Orthotics wearers should
stick to board or combination lasted shoes. True over-supinators (these are
rare) should use flexible slip lasted shoes. Another way to look at it: if
you have a rigid foot (tends to be high arched feet), favor flexible (slip
laste) shoes. If you have a floppy foot (tends to have flatter feet and
overpronate), favor combination or board construction.
The last is the form the shoe is made on. Lasts vary from curved, to
semi-curved, to straight. Straight lasts are generally the most stable
shoes, while curved lasted shoes tend to be the most flexible. You just
have to see what last from what manufacturer fits your foot.
A good running shoe store is essential. The sales people at the sporting
goods chain stores and the mall shoe stores just don't know their products
or how to fit runners, despite advertising to the contrary. A real runner's
store should allow you to run in the shoe on the sidewalk outside the
store, or at least on a tread mill in the store and watch you run. They
should be able to tell you if you over-pronate in a particular shoe. The
advice you get in a good store is worth the price (full retail) you pay.
Don't be a jerk and pick the brains of a good running shoe store salesman
and then buy at a discount place. If you value their advice, buy a pair of
shoes from the specialty running store so they will still be in business
the next time you need them. Then, if you liked the pair you bought, go
ahead and buy it from a discount store or mail order place in the future;
you don't owe the store your business forever. Remember though, that models
change, and you will want to go back to the good store every few years.
Weight is typically listed for mens' size 9 as quoted by manufacturer and
found either in Runners World, Running Times, or Road Runner Sports
catalog. Different sources differ in the weight they report, often by as
much as an ounce. I have not been consistent about which source I use here
so you may find a discrepancy with a source you consult.
M.C. stands for Motion Control (i.e. a shoe for over-pronators).
************** SHOE REVIEWS *************
http://www.runnersworld.com/ Runner's World Online!