It goes without saying that a runner has a special relationship with his/her shoes. You may assume that most long time runners figure out what they like and stick with it until the end (or until they are discontinued). So as a new runner you may ask around and see what your “runner” friends suggest.
Here is the problem with that…people have different types of feet and feet change. Your shoe needs can change for many reasons, most notably injury and age. Running shoe manufacturers make shoes to work with all different types of feet. Some people have extremely high arches and some people have no arch. These people have drastically different shoe needs. So seeing that your really fast friend down the street runs all the time in Asics doesn’t mean you should go out and buy a pair of Asics.
I started running in Nike shoes because that is what I wore before I ran. They worked well for me until I started running quite a bit. All of a sudden I started fighting plantar fasciitis. A painful condition that makes it difficult to stand let alone run. I switched to some Brooks shoes and it went a way for a while. When I started serious training for the races it came back. The amount of running I was doing required a different kind of support for my foot. I went to someone and had my stride analyzed and bought a pair of Asics that are designed for people with my type of foot. Plantar fasciitis went away and hasn’t came back yet.
The funny part about that story is the same time I was switching from Brooks to Asics my daughter (cross country runner) was switching from Asics to Brooks because she was having trouble. Her issues went away as well. The most important thing to do is pay attention to your feet. As a runner they will be very important to you. If your feet say it’s time for new shoes you better start shopping for new shoes. Just make sure you get the ones that are going to fit your needs best.
I firmly believe in shopping local. For my day job I work in a local business and shop that way as often as possible. If you are having trouble with your feet or just want to buy a good pair of running shoes and get started then go check out Soft Shoe here in Richmond. They carry many brands and know the difference between an overpronator and an underpronator. Plus they are local and run good deals.