Why shoe categories? - Because there are different shapes of feet and different amounts of foot motion, the shoe companies develop shoes that do different things. High arched feet are curved, flat feet are straight. Some shoes are curved to meet the needs of high arched feet, and some are straight for flat feet. The rest of the shoes are made semi-curved, we reccomend shoes for the shape of foot they fit, and the kind of foot motion they are designed for.
Training shoes for training sessions - If you are training for a race, you might consider some lightweight training shoes for your faster running. If you overpronate, look for styles that have firmer medial support (often identified by gray paint on the inside edge of the midsole). If your gait is neutral get a cushy single density midsole shoe. Save them for speed sessions on the track, or for tempo runs to build your speed for racing.
Match your foot shape and your running shoes - Make sure that your foot shape and the shape of your running shoes match. If you have very low arches or flat feet you need to find a straight lasted shoe. If your arches are medium height you will need a semi-curved shoe (which more than 80% are). If you have a high arch you will need a curved shoe. If you are in the wrong shoe it will eventually be painful. A shoe that is too curved will rub on your small toe causing blisters, calluses, or corns. A shoe that is too straight will affect the big toe in the same way, as well as increasing the possibility of bunions.
Make your trail running safer - Some of your training should be done on softer surfaces to reduce the pounding of pavement and concrete. Trails offer great challenges and softer surfaces, both a boon to your training. Regular running shoes will work on trails, but a trail shoe can make your trail running more enjoyable and possibly safer because of their improved traction and stability features. Keep your toenails trimmed short - Keep your toenails trimmed short to prevent them from rubbing on the upper of your shoes. This will eliminate many black toenails, especially in a marathon.
Racing shoes can save you seconds - If you are interested in shaving time from a personal best, consider that racing shoes can save you up to 1 second per mile for each ounce less than your current shoes. What does this mean? If your training shoes weigh 12 ounces (per shoe) and a heavy racing shoe weighs 8 ounces (per shoe) you could be running a 5k 12 seconds faster just by using lighter shoes. Racing shoes are for just that, racing, and do not protect as well as training shoes, but if this time savings is worth the extra recovery time you will need, you should seriously consider it.
Take a look at your innersole - Pull the innersole out of your shoes and take a look at it. If it is the flimsy white variety made of EVA foam, you can get much more comfort, support or both by replacing it with an aftermarket innersole of softer or more supportive materials. Consider doing this when you are buying new shoes as well. Hang on to the old innersoles and use them to customize new innersoles for special purposes like accommodating Morton's neuromas or adding extra padding, or improving the fit of loose shoes. Washing your running shoes - If your shoes get a little dingy it is perfectly fine to toss them in the washing machine after taking the innersoles out. Wash them on gentle with warm or cold water and a little detergent or dish soap. Do not put them in the dryer! The heat almost exactly matches the temperature at which the thermoplastics which hold them together melt! Put them in a place with good airflow and let them dry at least overnight, though preferably until absolutely dry before running in them again.
Choose the right midsole - If your feet roll inwards when you run that may be why your knees hurt. Look for shoes with gray paint on the inside edge of the foam midsole, these are stability shoes designed to keep your wobbly feet on the straight and narrow.
Replace your shoes at least twice a year - Examine your shoes for wear by looking closely at the sole of your shoes and at the midsole. When your shoe becomes a little worn on the outersole, look at the sides of the midsole for small creases in the EVA foam. These creases indicate that the midsole is compressing and does not provide as much cushioning as it did when new. When the midsole becomes compressed you may begin to notice sore muscles more, or even become injured. Think about replacing your running shoes two or more times a year.
Lace up your shoes - To prevent heel slippage, lace the shoe up to the second to last eyelet as you normally would, then stay on the same side and put the lace through the top eyelet, creating a loop. Now run the two ends across into the loops and (with your foot in the shoe) pull on the ends of the laces. You should feel your heel seating into the shoe with a snug fit, without pressure on the sensitive top of your foot.
You have two feet - Have both feet measured for running shoes to insure that your feet are the same size. If your feet do vary in size, one slightly larger than the other, try to allow enough room for the larger foot (about a thumb's width) without allowing too much space in the smaller foot's shoe. How to deal with long laces - Long laces may present a problem with catching on passing objects when flopping from side to side. Tie your laces by pulling the length of the loops out to the tips, then add a double knot and finish by tucking the lace ends back under the criss-crossed lacing over the tongue.
Stand up when measuring your shoe size - Always have your foot measured for running shoes standing up with your knees slightly bent. Your foot flattens out a little bit when it is under the load of your body weight and becomes slightly bigger. Don't be surprised if your running shoe size is up to a size or even a size and a half bigger than what you think your street shoe size is.
Prevent blistering - Always make sure your running socks are smooth and well fitted to prevent blistering.
Don't lace your shoes too tightly - Don't lace your shoes too tightly or you may cause damage to the nerves on the top of your foot. If you are sensitive to problems with your feet "falling asleep" from too tight laces, look for shoes which use stiffer foam in the tongue, to protect the nerves in the foot. Tie your shoes with a double knot - Before beginning your run, or especially before beginning a race, tie your shoes with a double knot. The extra square knot after tying the laces will keep them from untying which is always inconvenient. After your run, pinch the laces at the knot and pull the square knot loose before pulling the end of the lace.
Remove thorns and stickers - After running, examine the bottoms of your shoes and remove thorns and stickers. The "windows" whic h reveal the technology of the shoe are designed to resist puncture, but the thorns may migrate through the foam and cause future irritation. This also gives you an opportunity to notice any excessive wear to the shoes indicating a need for replacement.