How to Buy Running Shoes

You need a running shoe that matches the unique mechanics of your gait cycle — offering a precise balance of support, stabilization and cushion. Use this guide to find the shoe that's right for your run.

Determining Arch Size

FLATFlat Arch Size

Flat feet have very low or non-visible arches. Flat feet leave imprints that are nearly whole, appearing much like the entire sole of the foot. Flat feet are usually more flexible and likely to overpronate. This excess motion can cause several different types of overuse injuries.

Best Shoes: Stability Shoes or Motion-Control Shoes

MEDIUMMedium Arch Size

Normal feet have moderate to average arch sizes. A normal foot leaves an imprint that shows only the heel and forefoot connected by a wide band. Runners who have normal feet usually have a semi-flexible arch. These runners have a range of shoe options, but may choose stability shoes for their support.

Best Shoes: Stability Shoes or Neutral Shoes

HIGHHigh Arch Size

A foot has high arches when the heel and forefoot connect in a very narrow band. High-arched feet are more rigid and do not typically pronate enough to effectively absorb shock. For this reason, runners with high arches often require shoes with extra cushioning. High-arched runners often, but not always, supinate in their gait.

Best Shoes: Neutral Shoes

Gait Types

NEUTRALNeutral Gait Size

With this gait, the outside of your heel strikes the ground first, and your foot rolls slightly inward to absorb the shock. The foot pronates, but not excessively. Your foot evenly pushes off at the end of your gait.

Best Shoes: Stability Shoes or Neutral Shoes

PRONATIONOverpronation Gait Size

The outside of your heel strikes the ground and rolls excessively inward, hindering your foot and ankle’s ability to stabilize your body and absorb shock.

Best Shoes: Motion-Control Shoes or Stability Shoes

SUPINATIONSupination Gait Size

The outside of your heel strikes the ground first, but does not roll inward through the gait cycle. The heel remains rotated outward and the impact is concentrated on a small portion of the outside of your foot, decreasing shock absorption.

Best Shoes: Neutral Shoes

Running Environment


Run on pavement, packed trails and indoor surfaces with this footwear. These shoes are light and designed with flexible outsoles.


This footwear is fortified with dense rubber outsoles, designed to provide tread and durability against off-road terrain.

Shoe Types


Neutral Running Shoes

This footwear matches runners with high arches who exhibit supination, or an excessive outward roll of the foot. Neutral running shoes offer midsole cushioning for added shock absorption.


Motion Control Running Shoes

This footwear is ideal for runners with low or flat arches. Motion-control shoes have extra built-in support and flatter outsoles, a combination that combats excessive pronation to stabilize the foot.


Stability Shoes

Stability shoes are for runners with medium arches. They feature adequate medial support and midsole cushioning.

Shop the entire collections of men’s running shoes and women’s running shoes at DICK’S Sporting Goods for our complete collection of running footwear.