Running shoes are arguably one of the most important pieces of gear you’ll use in training and time spent now selecting that shoe will make a huge difference in comfort and injury prevention.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed while in a running shoe store and there are so many different sneakers to choose from. The colors and name brands can be all so distracting.

But the process can be made easy when you are fitted for the proper shoe that is best for your body and feet. What works for you, may not be the best sneaker for me.

It’s best to find a store, like Fleet Feet that will do a proper fit process.

What happens during a fitting?

Be prepared to answer a lot of questions about how many miles you are running and how often you are running. You will get your foot measured, you will be asked to walk barefoot and possibly run in your old shoes.

In the end, I took away some good tips.

1. Gait analysis: This is the first step in getting properly fitted. A gait analysis determines how you run – whether you overpronate, underpronate or are neutral. You will run on a treadmill, which has a camera recording your run from behind. The sales associate will then be able to watch how your foot rolls when it hits the ground.

2. Each running shoe has a different type of shock absorption. You will be brought out several different types of shoes to see which ones work best for you.

3. Try them. Don’t just pick the first pair you think feels good. Try them on to see the difference. Also, check to see if your running shoe store has a return shoe policy that will allow you to take them home and return them within a specified time period. If so, go home or the gym and jump on the treadmill for a run.

4. 500 miles. That’s the lifespan of a pair of running shoes. Your shoes and the tread may look good, but the shock absorption may be shot.

Now, don’t be surprised if your running shoe size is larger than your regular shoe size. It was highly recommended that I buy my sneakers at least a half size larger to accommodate for when my feet swell.

In the end, I was fitted for New Balance sneakers. I still wear that brand to this day. I’ve tried others, but keep coming back to the brand that works best for me.

Are you a runner? What other tips have you learned along the way in purchasing running shoes?