How Should Running Shoes Fit?

Any runner can tell you that having shoes that fit properly is a crucial component. When you pound the pavement, it is important to take care of your feet, and that starts with the shoes. So how should running shoes fit exactly? Keep reading to find out.

How Should Running Shoes Fit:

Start with a Sizing

Even though you may think you know what size shoe you wear, go in for sizing. People’s feet change as they age. Things like health factors, pregnancies, and other life events can cause changes in shoe size and width.

In a perfect world, you would have your shoe sizing done in a running store by a salesperson who specializes in fitting running shoes. This person will be the best equipped to help you find the perfect fit.

shoe sizing

Ask any experienced runner, and they will be quick to tell you that the best running shoes are typically one-half to a full size bigger than your everyday shoes. This is due to swelling that takes place as you put on miles.

It is noteworthy that you should have your feet measured in the afternoon or evening, and you should be standing while sizing.

Fit Your Larger Foot

If your feet happen to be two different sizes, choose shoes for the larger foot. Many people are shocked to hear that it’s fairly common for people to have feet that are slightly different sizes. You never want to wear a shoe that is too small.

Fit at the Heel

A properly fitted running shoe should feel snug through the heel, but not too tight. If your shoes fit well in all other aspects, you can tighten up the heel fit by lacing your shoes differently.

Quality, moisture-wicking running socks can also help prevent heel slippage.

Pulling Out the Insert

One trick for sizing shoes is pulling out the insole and standing on it. Believe it or not, that’s a great way to determine if the shoes are a good fit. If you stand on the insert and it is considerably smaller or larger than your foot, it is most likely a bad shoe choice.

inserts for running shoes

Your toes should not go over the edges, nor should other parts of your foot.

Arches: To Support or Not to Support

Although you can add arch support inserts into the shoes, you should still feel generally comfortable with the feel of the shoe around the arches. If your feet feel uncomfortable trying them in the store, pass on to another style.

Putting It All Together

In a perfect world, you are trying on the running shoes in a local running store that offers a trial before purchase. Many stores specializing in running shoes have a treadmill right in the store where they can assess your running style and gait.

Watching how you run helps the specialist determine if you pronate or supinate and can assist the clerk in guiding you toward a shoe that is a good choice for your feet. For this trial run, bring the types of socks you prefer to run in with you.

While running in the store, ask yourself these questions:

  • How does my heel feet? Does it slip? Does it pinch? Is there uncomfortable rubbing anywhere?
  • How do my toes feel? Are they too tight? Are they moving around too much, which could result in blisters? Can I wiggle them slightly? Are they comfortable?
  • Does the width of the shoe feel good? Is it comfortable?
  • Are your feet comfortable through the arches? This is an important consideration. You should feel properly supported.
  • Is there enough cushion? Some runners like and want a lot of cushion, while others prefer a very natural feel.
  • Are they breathable? Most runners desire breathability in a pair of shoes. We all know someone who is a particularly sweaty runner, and breathability is a huge thing for those people. This is also an advantage when you have just finished a rain run.
  • Are they pretty? Do they make you happy? Sure, you can run in ugly shoes…but why would you want to?

Don’t Assume Your Next Generation Shoe is Improved

One problem some runners find is that the shoe they love is changed, but not for the better. Every runner has had this problem. You fall in love with a shoe. You run hundreds of miles in it and need a new pair. When you go shoe shopping, you find that the design has been new and improved.

Trying on the shoe, you discover that the improved design does not make your feet happy. You should never assume that the next year’s model of the shoe you love is the same and will still work for you.

Always either try on the shoe or purchase from a store with a money-back guarantee. Many shoe stores now allow returns, even on shoes you have worn.

Signs Your Shoes Do Not Fit Properly

There are many signs your shoes do not fit properly. If you run and get tingling toes, that is a sign your shoes don’t fit correctly. Black or bruised toes are also a sign of poorly fitted shoes. Blisters on your toes are also an indication.

Blisters on the bottom of your foot can be caused by it sliding around too much, meaning the shoes are too wide. If your toes burn after a run, it could be a sign that your shoes are too stiff for your foot.

trying on running shoes

Although you should always untie running shoes before taking them off, you should not have to loosen them all the way.

If your heels slip around while you are running, it is a clear sign that your shoes are too big.

Keep Your Feet Happy

The long and short of it is that you need to spend time to ensure you have a properly fitted, quality pair of running shoes on your feet when you lace up to fit the pavement.

To put yourself in the best situation to stay healthy and happy as you train to toe the line, your shoes are an excellent place to start.

Everything You Need to Know About Running Shoe Sizing
Shoe Size and Fit
9 Signs Your Shoes Are The Wrong Size

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