Take the time to test drive each model before you invest in some serious mileage.

Not all running shoes are designed the same and no shoe is perfect for every runner. Shopping for running shoes is like shopping for cars: take the time to test drive each model before you invest in some serious mileage. All runners are biomechincally different with distinct needs, so investing in the latest fad shoe may not be the best way to go, as running in the wrong shoes can result in aches, pains and even a missing toenail (it happens). We caught up with Jon Teipen, footwear product line manager for Brooks Sports, for tips on how to shop for running shoes.

VIDEO: Check out the latest styles of 2012 running shoes in Shoe Talk!

1. Visit a local running store to have your gait analyzed based on your foot type and biomechanics. Experts will then recommend a shoe that will work best for you. The three main foot types are flat, neutral and high-arched–factors which can help determine one’s level of pronation. In general, flat-footed runners are fit into motion control shoes to help slow down the rate of overpronation, while those with moderate to high arches are fitted for either cushioned or stability shoes, which provide a mild amount of support but are still flexible and well cushioned.

2.  Choose which feel is right for you. Do you prefer to feel the responsiveness of the road with every stride, or do you like the cushioned ride of a more traditional running shoe? The models of running shoes are endless. From racing flats to trail shoes and everything in between choose the pair that will best suit your personal preferences, as well as your running environment.

3. Make sure you have a half to a full thumb’s nail length from your big toe to the end of the shoe. This may require going up in size from your street shoe. Running causes our feet to swell so you’ll want to have plenty of room in the toebox. If you’re toes are crammed in the front of the shoe, you could develop blisters or black toenails.

4. Before buying, take a short run around the store to test the fit, function and comfort before you make your final purchase. Make sure the shoe you choose feels great when you are running, not just standing.

5. To prevent injuries replace your shoes every 300 to 400 miles depending on the surface that you run. Running in old, worn-out shoes is one of the most common causes of running injuries. Over time, our shoes lose cushioning, stability and shock absorption. You’ll know when you need to replace your shoes when you feel discomfort in your joins and muscles.