1. Do you need a new pair of shoes?
When you become a fully fledged lover of running, it can be easy to convince yourself you need the latest kit.
Research has found that most running shoes have up to 500 miles in them, though this varies between the brands and more minimalist designs are likely to need replacing after 300 miles.
Keep a record of your runs and you'll be able to tell when it's time to go shopping again. If you're not sure, pop into your local sweatshop.com and ask them to look at your existing trainers.
2. Do you need specialist shoes?
Our bodies and posture all differ greatly, and this can have an effect on the kind of running shoes you need to run at your best and avoid injury. Most sports stores will offer you the option to have a gait analysis, which will involve running on a treadmill while your gait is assessed. It's quick and simple, and usually takes no more than 30 minutes.
Most runners can get away with wearing any running shoe style they find comfortable, but some people may need to opt for a shoe with extra arch support. However there is now law and opting for the most comfortable shoe is always the best option. Ask for advice in your local running store and always try on lots of shoes before buying a pair.
3. What surface are you running on?
Just as bikes have different tyres for different surfaces, you'll need different shoes, too. If you're mainly pounding the pavements, then a standard pair of road running shoes should be fine. However, if you're running through parks and the countryside, then it'll be worth investing in a pair of trail shoes that will offer more stability and support – crucial if you're running on uneven terrain.
4. How far are you running?
If you're training for a marathon, you may need a completely different pair of shoes than you would if you're chasing a 5K PB. Some people who favour long-distance running prefer a shoe with more cushioning and support, while shorter distances will benefit from a more flexible shoe designed to give you a spring in your step.
5. How much do you want to spend?
Running shoes available on the high street can cost anything from £10 to £200, and while the most expensive aren't necessarily the best, it’s worth being careful when it comes to cheap shoes that aren't made by running or sports specialists.