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Choosing Well Fitting Running Shoes

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 17 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Shoes Training Runners Fitness Marathon

Whether you’re a runner who enjoys running for fun or fitness, or because you want to compete in marathons or fundraising events, having running shoes that fit correctly is essential. Here are some helpful tips and advice on choosing well fitting running shoes.

Whatever shoes we’re buying, it’s crucial to ensure we get the right fit, so are feet are comfortable and not in danger of developing problems. This is especially important in the case of running shoes, as a good fit will help prevent and reduce the risk of various foot problems occurring.

Children’s feet are regularly measured, so you know what size to buy, but once we reach adulthood, the foot measuring approach tends to stop. Although some people’s feet will remain relatively the same size throughout adulthood, other people’s feet may change slightly. For example, narrow feet may fatten up and become a bit wider and people who run regularly may find that their feet go up a size, due to the arches collapsing.

If you’ve not had your feet measured for years and have no idea about the size and width of your feet, it’s a good idea to try and get them measured in the first instance. If you go to an established sports shop specialising in running shoes, then they should be kitted up with the ability to measure your feet. Alternatively, specialist shops online sometimes have self-measuring kits that they can send out to you to use at home. This might not always be quite such an accurate way of going about it, but it’s better than having no idea at all.

Fitting Issues

Once you know your correct size and width, it’s time to get to the shops and start trying on some running shoes. With specialist shops, it’s not unheard of to actually try out running shoes before you buy, as it’s essential they’re a good fit for your fitness training – especially if you’re training for an event such as a marathon. Different brands vary in size, width and general fit, so try on different brands and ask for advice on what might be the best fit for your needs.

With running shoes there are some other fitting issues that come into play too. Running shoes need to have good shock absorption and support, as your foot absorbs up to four times your weight with each running step you take. Running shoes also need to have good stability too, so they can support your feet in the best way as you’re training.

If you’ve been running for a while, it’s helpful to take your old pair of running shoes with you when you go to buy new shoes. Turning the shoes upside down will reveal your tread wear patterns, which gives useful insight into the amount of stability you need. For example, the tread wear may be even all over the shoes, the tread may be worn on the outside on one or both shoes or it may be won on the inside of one or both shoes.

The running shoes you buy should ideally provide stability for your foot’s natural running motion. If you’re choosing shoes in a specialist shop, it’s a great sign if assistants ask to see your old shoes, as they’re likely to be looking out for these signs. But it’s also useful to try shoes on and have a quick jog or run in them – even if it’s just in the shop – as assistants should be able to see what stability you need.

Running shoes with good levels of shock absorption will be more expensive, but it’s worth going for if you’re a serious runner. For those on a tight budget, you can buy shock absorber insoles to go inside the shoes, but they’re not quite as good as built in shock absorption.

A pair of shoes to run in are a good investment, and should take you through plenty of training sessions, events and marathons, so choose carefully, do your research and make sure you choose the right fit for your feet.

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