Tortoise and Hare Running and Fitness Center


Shoe Guide

Use this guide to learn about the different types of shoes we carry and to determine which type of shoe is best for you.  A diagram of arch types is below.

Neutral Cushion - Neutral cushion shoes are designed for the normal to high arched foot that requires no pronation control.  These shoes are flexible and allow the natural roll of the foot without any excessive correction.  They are cushioned and tend to be more sculpted in the arch area.  Neutral cushion shoes are typically designed on a semi-curved last.  They can also accommodate an orthotic.
Key Features: flexible and cushioned; supports the medium to high arched foot; sculpted in arch area to allow natural roll of foot; accommodate orthotics which require a totally neutral shoe

Stability - Stability shoes are designed to support the foot with a low arch or with a medium to high arch that collapses.  These shoes usually have a broad base and have a stability device on the medial side of the shoe.  A typical pattern will show pronation at the heel to mid-arch, with a lateral rotation or slide at the forefoot.
Key Features: medial support; supports the low arch or arch that collapses; controls mild to medium pronation

Motion Control - Motion control shoes are designed to support the flat foot.  It supports the low, flexible arch, and prevents overpronation.  These shoes have a broad base and have a stability device on both the medial and lateral side of the shoe.  This type of shoe is built on a straight last.  This shoe will accommodate an orthotic due to the straight last and broad base.  It provides a solid foundation for an orthotic.  This type of shoe is suitable for a heavier runner.
Key Features: medial and lateral support; broad base of support; supports the flat foot; controls medium to heavy pronation; accommodates orthotics

Racing Flats - Racing flats are designed to be used for racing on the roads or on the track.  They can be used for training when doing speedwork.  They are designed to be very lightweight and have minimal cushioning.  They usually do not have any stability devices.
Key Features: lightweight; designed for racing; minimal cushioning or support
Note: The vast majority of runners don't use racing flats for races longer than 10k because of the high injury risk associated with running long distances in a shoe with little cushioning and support.  For races longer than 10k, lightweight trainers are generally better (see below).

Lightweight Trainers - Lightweight trainers are designed for faster runners or for someone looking for a shoe to do speedwork in.  They are lighter than regular running shoes, but not as light as racing flats.  Lightweight trainers can be neutral or have stability devices.  They are also excellent choices for someone looking for a lighter shoe to race in without sacrificing too much cushioning and support.
Key Features: light, yet still cushioned; designed for speedwork; suitable for racing (especially 10k or longer)

Track Spikes - Spikes are designed for racing.  They are very lightweight.  They contain removable spikes in the forefoot of the spike that enhance traction and push-off.
There are three basic types of racing spikes:
1- Distance: full cushion wedge from heel to spike plate (1500m to 10k)
2- Middle distance: heel cushion wedge only (400m to 800m, also jumps and hurdles)
3- Sprint: no extra cushioning; streamlined for speed (100m to 400m, advanced hurdlers)
Key Features: lightweight; removable spikes; designed for racing

Cross-Country Spikes - Cross country spikes have a similar profile to distance track spikes.  They have a full cushioned heel wedge that runs from the heel to the spike plate.  The spike plate is covered by a rubber that adds traction to the shoe.  The cross-country spike tends to be a bit sturdier/heavier than the distance spike, which adds traction and support on the varied terrain.
Key Features: covered spike plate for traction; lightweight; added traction

Not sure what kind of arch you have?  Use the following diagram to determine your arch type:

Flat feet have a low arch and leave a nearly complete imprint.  This usually indicates an overpronated foot that strikes on the outside of the heel and rolls inward (pronates) excessively.  A person with flat feet should wear a motion control shoe.

Normal feet have a medium arch and leave a complete imprint that shows curvature through the arch area.  The flexibility of the normal foot decides the degree of support and cushioning.  With increased flexibility, more support is necessary; with increased rigidity, more cushioning is necessary.

High-arched feet have high ridged arches and leave two distinct imprints of the heel and the forefoot with a separation between them.  This foot requires more cushioning and a neutral midsole with a flexible forefoot.  Neutral cushioned shoes work best.

A Note on Sizing:

Many people are surprised to learn that they have to get a bigger size than they are used to wearing when buying running shoes.  In general, you should buy running shoes a half to a full size larger than your dress/casual shoes.