Running shoes are a vital component of many people’s workout wardrobes. A suitable pair of running shoes should be comfortable, provide support, and help prevent injury. Men’s running shoes are slightly different than women’s, and there are a few factors to consider when buying a pair.
The most suitable running shoe will vary among individuals, depending on their exercise preferences and the structure of their feet. Men will also have specific needs that manufacturers take into account when making running shoes. These include the shape of the foot and the way men typically run.
In this article, we look at what makes a good running shoe for men and list some points to consider when buying a pair. We also suggest some shoes that people may wish to consider trying.
What makes a good running shoe for men?
Male feet are anatomically different than female feet, and a properly designed shoe for males should not just be a larger version of a shoe for females. ResearchTrusted Source has identified differences between males and females in toe angles and ball and heel width, among other measurements.
A 2019 studyTrusted Source notes that male shoes should be wider and higher in the instep than female shoes.
ResearchersTrusted Source have also found a difference between male and female running styles, which affects the running movements of the lower body.
In recreational runners, differences between male and female running movements can include:
- hip movement toward the midline of the body
- hip internal rotation
- knee angles when moving away from the midline of the body
- knee flexion angles
- quadriceps activation
- hamstring activation, which may affect hamstring flexibility
Due to the differences in male and female foot anatomy and running styles, males may benefit from choosing running shoes specifically designed for male feet. Most running shoe manufacturers create male and female versions of each model.
What to look for
The American Podiatric Medical Association suggests that appropriate running footwear should ideally provide shock absorption and match a person’s foot arch type.
A 2020 studyTrusted Source notes that important qualities in a running shoe may include shoe mass, material breathability, and stiffness. Another 2020 studyTrusted Source also lists important features as including:
- Heel-to-toe drop: This is the difference between the heights of the heel and the toes, and it primarily affects how the foot strikes the ground.
- Midsole support: Shoes with thicker midsoles may protect against shock, while softer midsoles can help reduce impact.
- Heel cup support: This feature may help reduce impact while running, particularly when the heel strikes the ground first.
- Cushioning: Minimizing shock to the feet and legs may help prevent injury in some cases.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests that people may also wish to consider the following factors:
- the terrain they typically run on and whether this means they require shoes with extra grip
- a comfortable feel, with no pinching or rubbing
- quality materials for durability
- regular or wide fit options, depending on foot size
It also recommends that people visit a store to get accurate measurements of their feet and buy different shoe sizes if their left and right feet are not the same size.
What to avoid
According to the ACSM, people may wish to avoid the following when choosing a running shoe:
- selecting shoes based on their walking gait, as foot motions are different when running
- using foot shape or arch height to indicate which type of running shoe to buy
- choosing shoes with too much cushioning, which may worsen running motions and increase the impact on the joints
The organization also advises people to avoid shoes with “stability” features, such as additional arch support. These features stop pronation, which is the natural inward motion of the foot when running, and this may cause problems with the feet or knees.