Stability and control of your rear foot (heel area) is very important for all foot types. It will help prevent excessive rolling in (pronation) or rolling out (supination) of your foot, depending on your foot type. A good test is to squeeze the heel cup of the shoe and it should be firm and difficult to compress.
This is also an important feature for stability and control under your arch, especially in those of us who tend to pronate excessively when walking or running. It should be difficult to bend the shoe in this area.
Flexibility at the front of the shoe is very important to allow us to have a normal walking or running pattern when we ‘toe off’. It should be easy to bend the shoe in this area.
Most of the well known brands on the market have running shoes with the essential features listed above and most now stock different ranges for different levels of running, i.e. trail, road or track.