Barefoot Running shoes are primarily for hardcore runners looking to strengthen leg muscles. They offer very little cushioning, opting instead for a design that hugs the foot and feels like an extension of your body. Barefoot running shoes offer a more natural foot strike.
Minimalist running shoes offer technologies that give the runner comfort and support while putting emphasis on weight reduction. Minimalist shoes will not offer a complete barefoot experience, though they are meant to feel like they are barely there.
Cushioned running shoes have softer midsoles and less stability than other shoe types. They're ideal for underpronators or supinators who need protection on longer runs but don't require extra support like runners with higher arches do.
Enhanced Cushioning running shoes are made with extra cushioning for runners with a severe underpronating gait type and flatter arches that need less support.
Stability running shoes are designed for mild overpronators who don't have any distinguishable motion-control problems. Stability shoes offer extra support in the heel, midsole and post areas, which provides the right amount of comfort for runners with normal arches.
Light Stability running shoes are built just like other stability shoes, but with a lighter weight for fast-paced racing or training.
Motion Control running shoes are designed for severe overpronators with very flat arches. Motion control running shoes are characterized by their heavier weight and enhanced durability, along with maximum support along the inner side of the foot to help reduce inward rolling of the foot and ankle.
Lightweight Performance running shoes are built for efficient, neutral runners who are looking for responsive running shoes that will optimize your performance in racing, tempo runs or fast training sessions.
Performance running shoes are heavier than lightweight performance shoes and offer a limited amount of support and cushioning ideal for neutral runners.
Trail running shoes are designed specifically for off-road running, offering recognizable elements like a lugged outsole, gusseted tongue, debris and rock protection and water resistance. Because trail running shoes are designed for softer surfaces, they are usually made with less cushioning than road shoes.
Entry Level/Low Mileage running shoes are economical styles that are ideal for beginners who have just started running, covering fewer miles than conditioned runners.
Nike Air Max running shoes feature Nike's famous Air® technology that adds maximum impact protection and comfort to a runner's stride. These running shoes are made for underpronators and neutral runners who are looking for exceptional comfort and cushioning.
Nike Shox running shoes feature Shox™ columns in the heel, which add more cushioning to a runner's stride for an optimized overall running experience.
Modern Classic running shoes are retro styles that have been reintroduced as technical running shoes.
Understanding your gait type/arch type is an important first step in determining which running shoe is best for you.
Pronation refers to how the body distributes weight as it cycles through the gait.
Neutral Runners have evenly distributed pressure from heel-strike to toe-off. Neutral runners need cushioned running shoes, as there is no need for gait correction.
Overpronators have an inward roll of the foot, which is usually a result of flat arches. Overpronation is broken into two categories: severe and mild.
- Severe overpronators require support or motion-control shoes that help correct a substantial inward roll of the foot.
- Mild overpronators have a slight inward roll of the foot when it strikes the ground. Mild overpronators are best suited forstable shoes that offer gait correction and stability along the medial side.
Underpronators (Supinators) have the same initial heel-strike as other runners, but the foot has no natural inward roll, which causes strain on the outside of the foot and leads to uneven shock absorption. Underpronators need cushioned or neutral shoes.