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  • Writer's pictureCoach Jacob Puzey


Updated: Aug 2, 2019

Running shoes are the most essential piece of running equipment. However, with so many brands, models, and marketing campaigns, it can be challenging to know which shoe is best for you.

Coaches Malc Kent and Jacob Puzey discuss the purposes of running shoes and the importance of trying shoes on when determining which running shoes to use. What works for one runner may not work for another. As Malc outlined in this article, fit is key.

Visit your local running specialty shop and try on as many models as possible to find the shoe(s) that fit(s) best and provides the comfort, protection, support, and traction that you need.

Given that the surfaces and intensities that we run often vary from day to day, owning and rotating through a number of models, styles, or brands is ideal. Don't just buy a brand or a model that you have always worn or that you have seen others wear.

Our bodies are all different and just like models change from year to year so too do our bodies. Perhaps a model that worked for you once is no longer the best option.

Jacob and Malc discuss the evolution of minimalist and maximalist shoes, the pros and cons of each, as well as the importance and place for neutral and stability models. Additionally, they discuss stack height, heel to toe drop, and other terms and topics in the running shoe world.

The conversation continues in the next video:

Here are some of the key points from the discussion:

  • At a minimum, shoes should provide protection. The amount of cushion, traction, & support will vary from person to person & the surface, duration, & purpose of the run.

  • The majority of runners (up to 80%) do best with a neutral shoe that doesn’t impede the natural movement of the foot.

  • The traditional footwear paradigm that emphasized midsole stability & cushioning in the heel has been turned on its head. Minimalist & maximalist models abound.

  • Minimalist shoes were designed to decrease injury to the knees, hips & lower back, but ended up simply moving impact injuries to the lower legs & feet.

  • Maximalist shoes were designed to counter the negative impacts of the minimalist movement, but simply moved the lower-leg impact injuries to the upper legs, hips, & back.

  • The industry standard for a training shoe is 300-500 miles / 500 to 800 km. Coach Jacob Puzey generally replaces his shoes every 200-300 miles (or whenever he notices recurring pain or soreness in his legs after wearing the same pair more than once).

  • Performance shoes are made with lighter, less durable material & provide less protection & stability than day-to-day training shoes. They should not be expected to last as long as more durable training shoes.

  • Try on as many models as possible at a specialty run shop. Buy the ones that feel best, and not just the ones that match your race kit or the ones you saw advertised in a magazine or online.

  • Rotate between a variety of running shoe models. Coach Jacob currently rotates between the 10+ models on display.

  • When considering the cost of a new pair of shoes, ask how much a sidelining injury would cost: X-Ray, MRI, Bone Scan, Physical Therapy? An average of one new pair of shoes per month is less expensive than one major, sidelining injury per year.

  • When determining whether to wear road shoes or trail shoes, go with the least amount of shoe to safely and effectively get the job done.

Here is another video from a previous retreat on the same topic.

Video filmed at edited by Cameron Hardy

These discussions took place at Strides Canmore as part of Peak Run Performance Rocky Mountain Running Retreats.

For more information about gait analysis, training plans, and other coaching services, please visit

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