First off: Yes, it becomes just as much fun as buying heels after some time and there is a full science in itself on running shoes.
New shoes with new technologies come out every 6 months and it is seriously worth getting the newest model of the kind of shoe that works for you. You can save money on everything else – but not ever on the shoes! They are quite literally the basis of your running success and are immensely important for the health of your bones, muscles and sinews in your body.
There was never a better excuse to go for the best shoes – not that you need an excuse…
For your first pair of shoes it’s important to go for shoes with great cushioning, because your body is not yet used to the impact of running. The muscles will form fast if you stick with it, but until then you need all the support you can get.
Recommendation before buying your first pair:
Try and find a specialist sport shop for runners like Runnerspoint, that have a treadmill and the IT to measure your feet and your pronation (?) while running. Most people have a neutral to slight underpronation, but if you should have a stronger under- or overpronation, then you definitely need the suitable shoes or even inlays if you want to avoid health issues. There are also at-home ways to find out your pronation, like the wet foot method. I did that and it turned out correct when I did the professional measuring later.
At the beginning it can be confusing to figure out which model to get, the range is huge. There are shoes for trail running, long distance, short distance, asphalt, cold or warm weather…
Shoes for each weather:
If you start in the autumn/winter, you should make sure the top material is water repelling.
If you expect to run on snow or ice, I recommend water resistant trail running shoes, as they have a better profile than standard running shoes (Example: Any runners brand with gore tex top material, Salomon Trail runners).
If you start in hot temperatures, I recommend shoes with knit top material that allows for strong air circulation. (Example: Nikey Flyknit shoes)
Running shoe fashion & in business:
Most models come in a range of colours, even if you don’t see this in the shops. My first running shoes for example came in 10 colours, but even good shops can’t possibly stock that much. So I recommend to always also do an online search at the brand (links below) to see what’s available.
Today it is accepted that women do no longer have to wear heels at work! I got a pair in black to go with my business suits and I wear them at work. In fact I gave away all my heels, as they become increasingly uncomfortable the less you wear them. Wearing heels can damage your feet and negatively affect your running and no company today will put up a fight if it comes to employee’s health issues.
Great side effect: If that plane is delayed again on your layover, now you can still catch it with ease. I did the distance from Frankfurt train station to T1 recently in under 5 minutes and was the only one who caught the train. It feels good!
Retirement of running shoes:
The general recommendation from professional runners is to retire a pair after 500 – 600 km. I’m quite sure you can use them a lot longer, but I’m not putting up too much of a fight with that recommendation to be honest 😉
Running apps like Strava, Garmin, Runtastic and others allow you to track how many km you have run with each pair of shoes that you have (if you track all your runs of course), that way you will know when it’s time to go shopping again! I find this feature very useful meanwhile (when you do have more than one pair).
My first pair were the Asics Gel-Nimbus 18 (Oct. 2017). They were so good that I got the successor Gel-Nimbus 20 afterwards. It is extremely important to get them in at least half a size larger than your normal shoe size, as your feet will expand during a run and if your shoes are a tight fit, it will feel very uncomfortable.
If you are still unsure, you can check out back issues online from running magazines like e.g. Runnersworld. They regularly do shoe tests & comparisons. Of course you can also search for the same online and look at tons of youtube videos about running shoe reviews.
Here are a few running shoe specialists you may not know yet (beyond Nike and Adidas):