Let’s start by acknowledging that the best method to determine the best sports-specific shoe for you is not via the internet. It’s by visiting an expert store like a running gear shop if you’re searching for running shoes and getting them fit by the experts employed there. “Your foot is like your fingerprint. It’s distinct to you. Each shoe is likely to have a different shape and feel different,” Geoff Burns, Ph.D., an expert with the Michigan Performance Research Laboratory at the University of Michigan and an elite ultrarunner who speaks to SELF. “Going somewhere where you can have somebody who sees thousands of feet a month talk to you very frankly about these things” and exploring a range of choices is essential for him, he adds. If you’re looking to go to an outlet IRL or are hoping to purchase online, doing some research on the things you should look out for and the questions to ask is extremely helpful. This is the reason we created this buying guide.