When it’s time for a new pair of sneakers, what do you look for? Style? Color? Comfort? Many people walk into the nearest department store and pick up the cheapest pair of sneakers on the rack. They figure they’ll be replacing them in a couple of months anyway so why pay more? The fact of the matter is if you buy a decent pair of sneakers in the first place, a pair designed for the purpose you intend to use them for, they can last considerably longer and might even save you money in the long run.
The outsole or bottom of the shoe should be made of some type of rubber. It should have horizontal grooves molded into it at the point where the ball of your foot will be, allowing greater flexibility as you run. The heel should be two-part with an outer and an inner part which makes heel-toe running more efficient.
The midsoles are the most important part of a running retro sneakers. It should provide cushioning and support. EVA is commonly used and feels good when the shoe is new but can easily become compressed, no longer providing support and stability. Polyurethane is more durable and adds a thicker level of cushioning. Along with that, it does add more weight.
The top portion of the shoe can be made of a variety of materials. It should provide a comfortable, snug but not tight fit. The toe box should provide enough room for the toes to flex. If it is too tight, the muscles and tendons can be restricted and cause pain. The Achilles notch is a groove in the upper portion of the heel section of the shoe. It protects the Achilles tendon and provides support.
In bare feet, step into a pan of water and then step onto the pavement. Look at the imprint left by your foot. If there is an imprint of most of your foot left on the ground you do not need extra medial support. You can use an EVA or compressed EVA midsole, which will provide the softest cushioning and the lightest weight, softer and a lighter outsole with a greater flexibility.
If there is a large open area on the imprint where the arch of your foot didn’t touch the ground, you have a high arch and should look for a shoe that provides features like a medial post (a stiff material on the inner side of the shoe) to help reduce over-pronation or rolling in, a dense, durable polyurethane midsole for moderate cushioning and greater stability and a carbon rubber outsole for greater durability.
If the imprint reveals a silhouette of your foot that lies somewhere between these two, you have a neutral or ideal foot. You can buy a shoe with moderate cushioning. Medial support is a matter of personal preference for your foot type.