hi stephen, shoe fit is as particular as it gets... my standard: even after a year of daily wear, your foot should feel comfortable in that shoe for an entire day.
a little over three years ago, i was at a rehearsal dinner and started chatting with an orthopedic surgeon who also runs. i was having issues finding the right shoes. he told me: go to the best shoe store you can find and get fitted. make sure it's a correct fit. once you're sure, buy many more pairs. this comes from a guy who makes a living repairing peoples joints. i figure he's the expert.
you're in houston? guarantee there's some great running shoe stores there (4th largest city in the nation, right?). absolutely. but understand that even the best sales clerks are going on your feedback. one thing you will absolutely have to shed is the notion that style plays a role. shoes now are ugly. really ugly. a pair that you find horrendously ugly may be the perfect fit. and once you get the right shoe on your foot, nothing else matters.
so, three years ago, after sustaining some ankle problems from terribly inappropriate running shoes, i took that surgeon's advice, and i was blessed to be fitted for the perfect pair - brooks dyad 5 (a neutral runner with added cushion). i subsequently bought six more pairs (after the dyad 6 came out and the 5 went on sale) just to have ready. i'm only on the fourth pair: the third is for daily wear, the fourth is only for exercising. when the third pair becomes too worn, i'll start wearing the 4th daily, and break in #5 for exercising. you get the idea. point being, i found a shoe that fit my foot and complimented my gait. i use #2 for hiking.
whenever i'm curious to see what a different shoe feels like, i wear my daily beater brooks to the shoe store, but i also bring with me a new, unused dyad 5 for comparison. and that's what you need to do. bring with you a reference. it helps tremendously. being in a shoe store can be overwhelming, and if you don't have a reference to wear on one foot while you try on another, you can never be too sure.
as a testament to how perfect the dyad 5 has been for me - even after six months of daily wear, i can keep them on for 12 hours, and my feet don't hurt at the end of the day. and NO ORTHOTICS OR AFTERMARKET INSOLES. that's a real no-no. if you have to buy an insole to make the shoe comfortable, then it's the wrong shoe. that's what many of the die hard runners say, and i agree. trust me, there is a shoe out there that will fit.
the nice thing about a company like brooks (& other running shoe companies) is that they have continuity with their shoe lines. so when i run out of dyad 5s, i'll find a shoe with the exact same fit. also, their cascadia trail runner has the same foot bed as the dyad, so i'm guaranteed to get an identical fit if i ever choose to buy a cascadia rather than wear my retired dyads.
so take the time to hunt out a good shoe from a good company. they pay for themselves over time. and don't mistake a store's abundance with that store being good. sports authority has tons of shoes, but they know very little. the running store where i got my brooks has 1/16 of the shoe variety and selection that sports authority has, but each shoe they carry is specifically picked to meet a certain foot/gait type. they watched me walk, they watched me jog and run, they looked at my previous shoes, and asked me questions.
if you're not getting that kind of treatment from a running store, then go to another. good luck