Half Marathon Q: What Shoes Should I Wear?

Expert answers to your most pressing concerns—posted every Friday between now and race day: April 3, 2011!

by Danielle Kosecki
running shoes image
Photograph: Doug Cannell

Q: If I plan on walk/running the half marathon, what kind of shoes should I wear?

A: “All half-marathon runners should wear running shoes,” says Shawn Marlovits, owner Fleet Feet Sports Hoboken, a specialty running shop in Hoboken, New Jersey. “They provide more support, cushioning and durability than the typical walking shoe.” Running shoes also come in more varieties than walking shoes, which can improve fit. The three basic categories are:


  • Neutral/Cushion
    Best for: Medium to high-arched feet, rigid arches and little to no pronation (flexing and rolling).
  • Stability Shoes
    Best for: Medium to lower-arched feet, fairly flexible arches and moderate pronation.
  • Motion Control
    Best for: Flat feet, very flexible arches and severe pronation.

There are other factors to consider when choosing a shoe, such as foot width and heel fit, so it’s best to visit a running store to having your foot and gait analyzed, says Marlovits. Once you’ve found a pair you love, replace them every 300 to 500 miles or sooner if you feel aches or pains in your feet, shins, knees or lower back. To make them last and preserve the fit, “you should have a pair of shoes just for training and a separate pair for everyday, casual wear,” says Marlovits. And remember: “The brand and color of your shoes isn’t important. Choose function over fashion.”

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First Published February 4, 2011

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