I need a new pair. I have Asics right now and their decent. Nothing spectacular but I feel they're better shoes out their for me. I have high arches due to a muscular dystrophy and I can't get insert because my toes won't fit into the shoes without being jammed. (I have hammertoes too) I'm not about to fork out a couple hundreds for specially made shoes especially since I use the shoes a lot and get worn out pretty fast. What has been a good, reliable running shoe for with minimal discomfort?
I work for New Balance athletic shoes, so I may be a little bias.. but.. I've been a barefoot running fanatic long before my start at NB.
The New Balance Minimus Zero. It provides little padding, so your first week of running will probably feel a little hard (your foot might feel a little bruised, but this will go away quickly). It's lure is that it gives all the benefits of barefoot running with all the protection from rocks, glass and other sharp objects that you need.
It's called the Minimus Zero because the toe heights and heels heights have a 0mm difference. This is unusual in a shoe, in that most shoes provide a 7mm or larger difference in height between the heel and the toe-- this is why shoe running usually results in a heel strike and why barefoot running usually results in a midstrike.
The Minimus series was made in collaboration with Vibram (the creators of the vibram fivefinger-- which also has a 0mm differential-- BUT is not going to slip on your toes well with hammer toes) and was designed to meet the needs of barefoot runners who want all the benefits of barefoot running without the scraped up toes.
So the Minimus Zero MT00 (Minimus Trail Zero) is my suggestion. It has a 0mm drop and it's extremely light weight. It's also a very stylish shoe, if that matters to you. The MT00 is the lightest athletic shoe out there and specifically designed with trail running in mind. The MR00 (Minimus Road Zero) offers a little more protection, and a little more weight, specifically designed for the road runner. If your main concern is efficiency, get the Minimus Trail. If you are scared about bruised feet (which is really minor, but nonetheless a comfort issue I bring it up only to be accurate and address your minimal discomfort goal) then go with the extra padding of the Minimus Road.
I really like Mizuno. They can be expensive, but you can get great deals on older models. They are really lightweight and incredibly comfortable. After my first pair, I never wanted a different brand. I'm not sure how they will work with your feet though, but that is the brand I prefer.
Try some brooks. I use to work for Finish Line so it was my job to help people find the right shoes for active lifestyles. Brooks are pricey but if you can find a cheaper pair they do a lot of good. They also tend to hold up a lot better than Nike, Reebok, etc.
The Saucony Grid Cohesion NX is a neutral cushioning shoe, good for runners with high arches and those who do not overpronate (feet naturally roll inward). This shoe is extremely comfortable, with a spacious forefoot that accommodates most widths, though it does come in two widths. Other great features of this running shoe is that it offers good traction, better than average heel cushioning and a breathable upper mesh for cooler feet. Whereas many shoes run $95 and up, this running shoe is more than a budget buy; it is a bargain at almost half that cost.
You can also try New Balance 1063 These shoes are specifically designed for underpronators (or those with high arches). They fit snugly (but have enough room in the toebox) and offer a maximum amount of cushioning. These shoes are lightweight as well, which is good for speed and distance. In the March 2009 "Runner's World," shoe reviewers gave this running shoe kudos for the way the upper hugs the foot and for offering good heel to toe lift-off. Like the Saucony Grid Cohesion NX, this shoe is lightweight and more responsive to the runner than earlier New Balance models. It is stable enough for comfort during even long runs. This model is quite an expensive shoe, however, retailing for more than $100.
Get some five finger toe shoes from Vibram if you're feeling adventurous. I've been using them and love every step I take. If you want to stick with shoes you should try roadrunnersports.com They have a cool questionnaire you fill out and it suggest what kind of shoes you should buy. I highly recommend it.
Have you heard of vibram shoes? I hear they're pretty good for running, if building strong foot/leg muscles is what you're about. I have asics too and that's personally my favorite brand for running and casual shoes but I also hear nike is really good, especially with that technology that works alongside your ipod/iphone to keep track of your distance.