Running footwear: Part 1

Shoe fit

In the first part of this series, we are going to discuss the key fitting points of a running shoe.

The most important aspect of fit is that the shoe feels comfortable. Comfort is there for a reason, as is discomfort, it’s our nervous systems way of telling us if something is right or wrong. If it’s not comfortable, it’s not right. A bit alien is ok, but it should not feel uncomfortable.

Size. Size is definitely important when it comes to running shoes. The standard length we look for in a running shoe, is around a thumbs width (1cm) between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe. This is to allow for a change in volume of the foot during running. This is always important but especially so for longer distances. You may get away with it during shorter runs, but come longer mileage expect to start getting numbness, tingling, bruised toes or even nails dropping off.

Heel counter fit. You want the foot to fit securely in the shoe, there shouldn’t be any major movement or lifting of the heel. The shoe should hold onto the foot, not the other way around. The heel counter should also not feel too high or low, or like its rubbing on the ankle or achilles.

Width. The foot shouldn’t feel compressed in the shoe and there shouldn’t be any pinch points. Snug is ok, tight isn’t. The foot should ideally not hang over the midsole of the shoe either.

TRY SHOES ON. Sizes vary from shoe to shoe and even within brand. As do many other variables (type of cushioning, width, weight, lasting, heel counter, the list goes on!) The only way to find the right fit for you (and its different for everyone!) is to try on a few pairs.

There will always be exceptions to rules and some things will work for some but not others, but be sure to use these tips as a guideline and you have a very strong starting point to go out and find your new pair of running shoes.

Look out for part 2 “Support levels and foot type/stability” coming soon

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