Best Shoes of 2019 Part 1 with Ross Martinson Owner of Philadelphia Runner

Best Shoes of 2019

Shoes. As individual as… well, feet. In the history of running, there has probably never been a time when more styles, brands, and models have been available. And every year, after countless hours of research, development, and testing, brands release something completely new and revolutionary as well as updated versions of our favorites.



Photo by Liz Pagonis

2019 is no different and today we have the privilege of being joined by Ross Martinson, Owner of Philadelphia Runner. Philadelphia Runner is an independent and locally owned specialty running company that strives to be more than just another running store, but a running community. Ross will be sharing with us some of his favorite shoes of 2019.

Four running shops in Philadelphia means lots of shoes

Ross is the owner of four running shops in Philadelphia and head coach of Team Philly Race Training where he has helped hundreds of runners from beginners to Boston Qualifiers. He began running as a freshman in high school where he remembers being dropped on his first run. But the camaraderie brought him back again and again. Having improved through high school, he started working in a running specialty store in college. He continued to run competitively into his 30’s, earning a top 23 Boston Marathon finish.

Ross has been fitting runners in all types of shoes since the 1990’s and at his own stores in Philadelphia for the past 15 years. He believes the last few years have been some of the most exciting for shoe design.

Training, racing, road, trail – best shoes for all types of running

In this episode’s conversation, we discuss training and racing shoes for both road and trail, what the unique features are as well as their (approximate) weights and price points. If your favorite  shoes have started to lose some life, this will give you some ideas you can take to your local running store to find your next running sole-mate.

Questions Ross is asked:

1:48 First Four:

  1. How old are you?
  2. Where were you born?
  3. Where do you live now?
  4. What is your favorite race distance or type of race?

5:20 What did it take for you to finish 25th in Boston?

7:09 What was your finishing time?

7:37 Do you remember what shoes you wore?

8:50 How did you get started with Philadelphia Runner?

10:02 What are the top shoe brands in 2019 and what innovations are you seeing?

12:01 Is Philadelphia Runner an independent shoe store?

12:11 What are your favorite shoes starting with road-running training shoes?

15:30 Are people in Philly doing more trail running?

16:15 What are your favorite trail running shoes and also shoes to help transition to trail running?

21:38 What about ankle protection on trail running shoes?

22:15 Can you / should you run on the road with a trail shoe?

24:57 How about racing flats for road and for trail?

26:50 What would you recommend for shorter races or for a marathon or longer?

28:34 How much does foot strength play into wearing really light shoes?

30:09 What about trail racing shoes?

32:38 What are your personal favorite shoes in any category?

35:51 Any other shoes that deserve a mention?

37:15 How have shoes evolved over the past few decades?

38:49 Anything you’d like to share with us?

43:24 Final Kick Round:

  1. What is your favorite local training run or outing (location, starting point, parking, distance, terrain and safety issues)?
  2. Favorite shoe related book(s)?
  3. Words of Wisdom or Humor?
  4. Who or what would you like to have featured on the Run To The Top podcast?

Quotes by Ross:


“Philly has this great trail system. There’s a place that’s not that far from the center of the city and you can do a 20-mile trail run without running the same trails and it’s super hilly.”


“Trail shoes, in general, tend to be a little bit firmer than a road shoe, so you have a little bit more side-to-side protection if you’re leaping out of the way of stuff.”


“They could be the same distance, but the trail race could take you twice as long, so some of it is ‘time on your feet’.”


“You shouldn’t pick a flat ultra race because you’re going to want to do some walking and the hills give you an excuse to walk.”


“It really is important to try stuff on because everybody is so different. A shoe that one person says feels really soft another person will say it feels really firm.”


“If you go into a run specialty shop, the people there are all so into the shoes, they’ve tried everything on, they can sympathize with you and find you something good to run in.”

Take a Listen on Your Next Run

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Mentioned in this podcast:


Run To The Top Winners Circle Facebook Community


RunnersConnect Facebook page


Blinkist Homepage


RunnersConnect 2019 Running Retreats


Philadelphia Runner Homepage


Team Philly Race Training


Brooks running shoes


Nike running shoes


New Balance 880


Diadora Mythos 3


Altra Lone Peak


Brooks Cascadia


Hoka Torrent


Nike Vapor Fly


Nike Pegasus Turbo


New Balance 1400


Nike Kiger


On Cloudswift


Asics Nimbus


Brooks Ravenna


ASICS GEL-Lyte III


Lloyd Hall Running Trail, Philadelphia PA


Book: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight


Book: The Incomplete Book of Running by Peter Sagal


Book: Running: A Love Story by Jen Miller

Follow Ross on:


Philadelphia Runner Instagram


Team Philly Runs Instagram


Philadelphia Runner on Facebook

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