We often find ourselves clueless when we go shopping for running shoes. What shoes are good for my purpose? How comfortable are they? How well would they absorb shocks? etc. are the questions that come to our minds. Don’t worry anymore, the information ahead will provide you with all you need to know about the running shoes, their anatomy and features.

Running Shoes- The Anatomy

To buy a shoe that fits your needs and feet, you need to understand the terminology it comes with. The terms explained ahead will guide you through the anatomy of the running shoe.

Shoe Upper

Upper: The upper of the shoe is what you see first. This is the part that has the laces, collar and the tongue. The best running shoe is the one with a mesh upper that increases the ventilation around your foot, keeping it fresh longer. However, in case you are looking for the trail shoes - running or hiking, the ones with higher durability such as leather or synthetic overlays on top will help protect you from trail hazards.

Collar: The part surrounding the ankle of the shoe is the collar. Always look for a cushioned collar, ones that are lined with mesh so the shoe is breathable and moisture free.

Eyelets: These are the holes on the upper of the shoe through which laces go through. These are above the tongue and can be tied with different styles of laces and techniques.

Tongue: The tongue of the shoe is the centre-top part that helps the foot slide in easily and is padded to avoid the laces entangling with the toes. However, trail and hiking shoes come with gusseted tongues which keep trail debris and moisture out.

Toe Cap or Toe Bumper: This is technically a part of the toe box, the area where the toes are housed. It is the extra padding at the tip of the shoe that protects the toes from impact. For protecting the feet from trail debris, the trail-running shoes tend to have beefier toe caps as compared to running shoes.

Under Foot

Insole/ Footbed: The insole is a removable insert above the midsole that increases comfort and provides anatomically right support and cushioning to the feet.

Midsole: Sandwiched between the insole and the outsole, the midsole has a great importance in a running shoe. They not only absorb possible shocks but also provide support with air or gel cushioning. They are made with ethyl vinyl acetate EVA foams which are dense and hard foams that absorb shocks on the foot.

Outsole: The outsole is located at the bottom most part of the shoe and helps in providing traction on the ground and flexibility. While looking for a running shoe, make sure to look for ones that add durability like carbon rubber or blown rubber outsoles. 

Around the sides and the middle

Heel counter: The heel counter is placed just below the Heel Tab or Achilles Notch. It is where the collar ends inside or outside the back of the shoe. It is designed to take the shape of the bearer’s heel and hold the shoe in place.

Side/ Quarter Panels: These are a part of the upper but are incorporated to reinforce overlays for added durability and stability.

Toe Spring: This part of the shoe is not often highlighted but supports the toes from the front as it arcs upward to aid forward momentum.

Hopefully, the next time you go to buy running shoes, you would know exactly what you are looking for and how you can find a comfortable fit for your feet.