Finding the best-fitting shoe among the numerous choices at your local running store isn’t always easy. To ensure you walk out a happy customer, you need to make sure the shoe fits properly from heel to toe and that it feels comfortable with your regular running stride. The same goes for shopping online. Most retailers will offer a risk-free trial period so you can still lace up your shoes and head out for a test run, like you would at the store. Whether you’re buying your first pair or your fiftieth, browsing online or in-person, we’re here to help.
Step 1: Determine your shoe size
The first step to ensuring a good fit is to determine the correct shoe size, including length and width. For proper length, allow for at least 1/2 to 1 inch (a thumb’s width) between your longest toe and the shoe’s end. To get a feel for the proper width, you should be able to pinch some material at the sides or top of the shoe. Running shoe size is typically a half size larger than your typical shoe size. So, after determining the length and width and your true shoe size, try a running shoe that’s about a half size bigger than your standard shoe size.
Step 2: Try on different shoes
It’s now time to try on several brands and types of running shoes. According to Maloney, working with an experienced shoe professional who can help you with a proper fit is key to this part of the process.
Some specialty running shoe stores and sports-oriented podiatry offices also offer gait analysis. This can tell you how much support you need in the midfoot of your running shoe. The results of a gait analysis will determine which of the three categories of running shoes you should consider:
- motion control
This helps ensure you end up with running shoe that’ll provide adequate support. Once you’ve narrowed down your search based on these criteria, take some time to do a trial jog or run in the shoes. This will help you determine whether you like their responsiveness and heel drop.Make sure to wear the socks you plan on running in and bring any inserts — if you use them. Most stores will allow you to test the shoes around the store.
Step 3: Ensure they fit correctly
The main benefit of a proper fit is good stability and support for your foot, which will allow your desired level of running and activity. A running shoe that’s too big can cause damage to toes, and one that’s too small often causes damage to toenails.
Your toes should have ample room to spread wide.Your toes shouldn’t feel constricted or touch the end of the shoe.Your heel should feel comfortably cupped in the back of the shoe, which ensures that your foot won’t slip out from the back of the shoe. Holland also points out that the shoe shouldn’t alter your foot angles to extremes of supination or pronation.
How to lace running shoes
How you lace your running shoes can make a big difference in terms of fit. If you’re new to running and unsure which style of lacing to choose, ask a shoe expert for help.
Beyond that, Lobkova recommends using the style that provides the snuggest fit: “Laces that are too loose and too tight are common signs that the shoe is not the right fit, and the lacing is being done to compensate for poor fit.”
A good rule of thumb, says Holland, is that the shoes should essentially “disappear” from your consciousness when you run: “Anything that registers to you will turn out to be a nuisance at mile 14.”To get a better idea of lacing techniques, check out this video that demonstrates several methods.
These are some points to keep in mind while buying the perfect running shoes.