Running shoe myths – What to consider when buying running shoes?



Christoph Kellerhals, MD, Specialist in General Internal Medicine FMH, Interdisciplinary Focus on Sports and Exercise Medicine, Sonography SGUM, Medbase Thun Panorama-Center



Ambitious runners can be a few minutes faster with modern shoes. However, for most athletes, other points are important.

For ambitious runners, until two or three years ago it didn’t really matter what running shoes they wore – the main thing was that the shoe fit their feet. Since shoes with carbon plates became available, things have changed. In a marathon or long-distance triathlon, a high-tech shoe like this can really save time. Good athletes can reach the finish line several minutes faster.

Hobby athletes, in my experience, can save the money for a shoe with a carbon plate, because the rebound effect only takes effect at speeds below 4:00/km.

Regardless of whether you are a hobby runner or a competitive athlete: the shoe must be comfortable and you should not get blisters in it the following day or after longer runs.

Important: Get advice

Most runners “run” best with a lightly supported shoe. Good cushioning leads to slower fatigue of the muscle groups used. Anyone with flat feet – and there are many – needs a good orthotic.

Over time, the feet change. That’s why it’s better not to just order shoes on the Internet, but to go to a specialized store where you can try them out and get good advice. Be sure to test different models of shoes on the treadmill or outside and let the sales staff watch you. A good shoe consultant will see, for example, whether your feet buckle. He will also want to know what kind of terrain you run on.

Do not run in the same shoe model every day

Competitive athletes almost always have several pairs of running shoes: two or three models for endurance running, one or two for weight training and one or three very light pairs of shoes for competitions. You should not get blisters in them.

It’s good to change your shoes every now and then during the week, because this prevents injuries: the foot and the leg are challenged more than if you always run in the same model.

However, the brand of shoe is secondary for the majority of runners – even if many competitive athletes always go for the same one. The big brands offer a shoe for practically every foot type.

Good-quality shoes currently cost around 140 to 220 euros, and last year’s models can sometimes be snatched up as a bargain. But if a shoe for 90 euros is advertised as a super running shoe, then you should be skeptical. Today’s shoes contain a lot of “technology” that is hardly available for this price.


  • A few steps in the store are not enough to find out whether a shoe model suits your feet. Go with it on the treadmill and/or make a small test run outside.
  • Good shoes are essential for knee problems. From the age of about 30, many people have the beginnings of cartilage damage (chondropathy) in the knee joint, which naturally increases over the years. In this case, do not choose an extremely light shoe, but rather a shoe with good cushioning that absorbs shocks in order to protect the knees.
  • If you have special problems or very uneven feet, you can have the distribution of forces measured on the pressure plate and remedy the situation with individual strength training, foot gymnastics and shoe inserts.

Who is Medbase?

Medbase is the largest multidisciplinary sports medicine network in Switzerland and offers specialized sports medicine services for athletes, clubs and sports associations of all activity levels in the areas of sports medicine, sports physiotherapy, performance diagnostics and training advice.

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