6 things to keep in mind before buying runners

For runners, a shoe is like a dog—you won't notice a good one when you're running, but a bad one could haunt you. Be prepared to spend a little more and shop at a specialty store with well-trained staff.

1. Shop later in the day when your feet are at their largest and bring your aftermarket insoles, running socks and old running shoes.

2. Understand your body's needs. Manufacturers make shoes specifically for heel pounders, supinators, pronators and minimalists. Running in the wrong shoe can lead to injuries.

3. Pick a shoe that's right for where you run. If you mix it up between the trail and road, go for a hybrid with road-runner-like cushioning. Dedicated mountain runner? Go for a dedicated trail shoe with a protective shank, rubber rand and toe bumper. They'll protect your feet and your shoe's longevity.

4. Waterproof or maximum breathablily? If your typical run includes mud, snow and puddles that look like lakes, buy a shoe with a Gore-Tex, eVent or other waterproof liner. Otherwise more breathability is nice. A dedicated summer runner should have lots of open mesh.

5. Go for a run in each pair, even if it's just around the store. Look for a comfortable fit with room to wiggle toes and loosen and tighten the laces. Your heel shouldn't move.

6. Keep looking. There are so many models, lasts and styles; the right shoe is out there.