The Odds and Ends to Fitting Running Shoes
Getting a good running shoe fit should always be one of your top priorities if you want to run healthier, longer, and happier. During my experience fitting people, I’ve learned a few things here and there that really help my customers get a great fit that makes them want to just go out and do the next local 10k. Below are a few tips on how to get a proper fit for your running shoes. If you haven’t already read the basics of choosing the correct running shoe length, width, and shape, I strongly encourage you to read my article on the basics of how to fit running shoes.
Fit Tip 1 – Remember, there is no such thing as a « break in » period. If the shoe you are trying doesn’t feel right out of the box, it won’t feel right when you are pounding the road.
Fit Tip 2 – The ideal fit of a shoe should be snug at the heel, relaxed at the midfoot, and loose at the toes. This is a natural fit to the natural « fan » shape of the typical human foot.
Fit Tip 3 – Always fit test a shoe standing up. Ideally, you should walk or run around in them for a few minutes. This ensures that you are comparing your foots full range of motion to the confines of the shoe. Adjust the size accordingly until you find the perfect fit.
Fit Tip 4 – When in doubt, go longer or wider. You can always do things to tweak the fit of a bigger shoe but you can’t do much to tweak a smaller shoe. For example, to get a more snug fit you can switch to a more cushy sock, switch to a thicker insole, or simply lace up tighter at the ankle and midfoot. Contrary to popular belief, running shoes don’t stretch out.
Fit Tip 5 – Most people have one foot that is bigger than the other. Always size for the bigger foot.
Fit Tip 6 – Our feet get bigger as we age. Get measured once per year and adjust the size of your running shoes accordingly.
Fit Tip 7 – Our feet get bigger when we run. Get fitted in the day when your feet are at their largest to simulate running conditions. Better yet, get fitted after your run workout.
Fit Tip 8 – Always try on shoes with the typical socks, insoles, and other things you wear on your feet as you run. A good running shoe fit will be long and wide enough to accommodate everything you want to add to them.
Fit Tip 9 – If you wear, or plan to wear orthotics, make sure the shoes you are buying have removable insoles. Placing an orthotic on top of an insole is not recommended as it may take up too much space and change the function of the prescribed orthotics.
Fit Tip 10 – Women’s feet tend to get bigger during and after pregnancy. Get measured if you are pregnant or have just given birth and adjust the size of your running shoes accordingly.
Fit Tip 11 – Make sure the shoe is not too big. If your foot is sliding around in the shoe even after you’ve adjusted the lacing in various ways, try the shorter length or narrower width.
Fit Tip 12 – Make sure your heel doesn’t slip or rub against the back of the shoe. This will cause blistering and interfere with the shoe’s overall performance. A snug heel is also essential for stabilizing the entire foot.
Fit Tip 13 – The shoe should flex well with the ball-joint area of the foot. This applies to all types of running shoes, neutral, stability, and even those « stiff » motion control ones.
Fit Tip 14 – Test for seams or overlays. If you feel something is rubbing or putting pressure against any part of your foot uncomfortably, even after tweaking the length and width, don’t get the shoe. It will only get worse as you run more.
Fit Tip 15 – If you plan to go to a store to try on shoes, it may be helpful to bring along an old pair of shoes. The reps can analyze a number of things on it, such as wear pattern, length, width, shape, and brand to help you get a good fit on your next pair.