For starters, running shoes DO make a difference. Years ago I made the same mistake that you may have made in thinking that any running shoe from a big company will be fine. You end up shopping in the clearance section and at big sporting goods stores while trusting a shoe salesman that doesn’t even run, or perhaps runs 5 or 6 miles a week. Here’s what we have learned.
Shop for running shoes at a place where avid runners are the sales people. The shoes might be a little more expensive up front but because you are more likely to get into the right shoe it is cheaper in the long run (pun intended). It’s cheaper because you avoid injury and also a trip to the store to buy a better pair.
Start off with shoes that promote a proper stride. Brooks, Saucony, Altra, and New Balance have some of the most popular low drop or zero drop shoes. The drop refers to the measurement in millimeters from the heel to the midfoot. The lower the number the more it promotes a mid-foot strike. To start off, we suggest you look for something in the 6-10 mm range.
A running shoe lasts for years, but it should only be ran on for the first 300-600 miles (your weight and running form determine where you fall on the spectrum).
If you can financially wing it, it’s wise to have two pairs of running shoes that are different brands or models. You rotate them every other run. This provides time for each shoe to decompress and also provide the foot with a little different feel each run so repetitive injuries are avoided.
If you want to be serious about running you’ll need to get serious about shoes. Shoes will be your most expensive item in this sport, but if you take the time to find the right shoe they will keep you running rather than sidelined with injury.