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How To Get The Right Size Running Shoe

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Are You Wearing Insoles

Running shoes size guide | TOP TIPS on how to get the right size

If you already wear insoles, make sure to bring factor them into your fitting as they can change the fit and feel of the footwear. If you havent tried insoles before, maybe now is the time to consider it? Insoles allow you to personalise the fit to your foot and help provide additional comfort in the heel, arch and across the ball of your foot, while reducing problems like slipping, blisters, hot spots and shin splints.

Designed to match the contours of your foot, insoles can compliment your trainers to take your training to the next level.

How Should Running Shoes Fit Find The Best Running Shoes For Your Feet

A lot of the running niggles and problems that we hear about in the shop are down to the fit of the customers running shoes. Running shoes in general, from major high street brands in particular, started to take on a common shape and form and many people bought what they considered normal.

A Quick History Lesson

For example, it seemed normal for all shoes to have a pointy toe box and yet feet arent pointy and this shape squashes the toes into a small space and doesnt allow them to function. This shape didnt come about because it was the ideal shape for our feet, in fact in one point in history a pointed toe shoe would fit into a stirrup, which is better for riding horses. Plus if you had pointed shoes then you must have been well to do! The same is true to some extent with the heel on shoes. Neither of these two developments was added to footwear to improve the comfort of the shoes or to suit the anatomical shape of the foot.

Over time this pointed toe box and higher heel has become the norm across all shoes, including running, and anything that strays too far away from this was considered strange. If you have worn shoes of this shape since you started to walk, like most western kids, then your feet wont have developed much strength. This if why in the west we have a lot of foot related problems that dont exist in barefoot nations.

Testing If Your Shoes Are Too Narrow

How Running Shoes Should Fit

Have You Had Your Gait Analysed

All Runners Need stores offer free video gait analysis as part of our comprehensive running shoe fitting service.

Using video technology to analyse your running style, our expert fitters can assess how much you pronate – thats the extent to which your foot naturally rolls inward when you run and where your foot strikes the ground.

They will then be able to recommend you a running shoe based on foot shape, terrain, pronation and personal preference from a range of top brands like New Balance and more.

It is important to remember that each shoe and brand will fit slightly differently even if the size is the same. You should have at least a thumb width between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe ideally for running.

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Tips For Getting The Right Size

When did you last have your foot measured? Feet change over time based on factors like ageing, pregnancy, weight, and injury. Visit a Running Expert specialist running store to have your foot professionally measured or reference our guide for how to measure shoe size.

Because feet swell with heat and activity, its better to measure your feet at the end of the day.

Does the sockliner of the shoe match the shape of your foot? Remove the insert and stand on it to check. Be sure your toes and sides of your feet dont extend over the sides of the sockliner.

When trying a pair on, lace the shoes up snug but not too tightly – you should still be able to fit a finger under the knot.

How much space is at the end? Generally there should be about a thumb width between the front of the shoe and your longest toe.

Factor in your socks. The thickness of your sock can play a significant role in the fit of your shoes, try and wear your usual running socks.

If you have one foot that is bigger base the fit on your biggest foot.

How To Tell If Running Shoes Fit Properly

Whats my size: How to properly fit running shoes

One of the first pieces of gear we need to upgrade is our running shoes. We often start with whatever is available and quickly realize that the right, high quality, properly fitted running shoe is a game changer!

Running shoes need to fit slightly different than your everyday casual shoe.

Were looking for a shoe that provides enough room for your toes to spread out and grab the ground, enough space for your foot to swell as the miles increase and one that supports your movement.

Ill-fitting running shoes can lead to a host of injuries tendonitis, stress fractures, knee pain, ankle pain to bunions.

We obviously want to avoid injuries to keep our training consistent, so this article is here to help avoid those issues and help you tell whether running shoes fit properly or not.

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Wear Appropriate Socks Or Hosiery

Wear the socks, nylons, etc. that you would normally wear with the type of shoes you are trying on.

If you wear athletic socks with sneakers, wear athletic socks when trying on sneakers. If you wear hosiery with dress shoes, wear the same hosiery when you try them on. The thickness of the sock will have a big impact on the fit of the shoe.

How To Measure Running Shoe Size Properly

Whether you picked up running for the first time or are training for your 11th marathon, running shoes can make or break your workouts.

The first step to getting the right fit, though, is to properly measure your feet.

Once you have that number, youll likely find a suitable pair and start training in comfort.

In this article, Ill discuss the importance of knowing your shoe size, how to measure it at home, and how running shoes should fit. By the end, youll have all the tools you need to find that ideal fit.

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Flex Grooves And Toe Spring

To make the shoe bend like your foot bends, many shoes use grooves under the ball of the foot. Turning the toe up, called toe spring, or cutting away the midsole into a rocker pattern also allows the foot to roll through the stride. Small differences in location or angle can alter the mechanics and feel, and what degree of flex works best for your stride as it changes with speed.

What to look for: A shoe that flexes or rolls the way your foot wants to moveat the pace for which youll be using the shoes.

How To Choose Running Shoes That Fit

How to Size and Fit Running Shoes | REI

Getting to know your own personal running style will save you wasting money on the wrong pair of shoes. The right running shoe should offer heel and mid-sole support and enough toe room to get you through your run in comfort. From gait analysis to running terrain, here are some tips to help you find the proper running shoe fit:

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What Surface Are You Running On

If most of your training is on pavements, then road shoes are for you. With more cushioning than trail or lightweight race shoes these will provide shock absorption to minimise your risk of injury.

If you’re running through soft muddy trails you’re better off in a pair of trail shoes with a deep tread that offer better grip and ankle support, vital for running on uneven terrain. On pavement however, these shoes will be uncomfortable as the studs will press into the soles of your feet, and will wear away quickly.

If you’re doing a little of both you should consider a hybrid running shoe. These shoes work well on both roads and mixed trail conditions with a balanced mix of grip and cushioning.

Proper Fit Best Practices

What I like to do is to scoot my foot forward until my toes just touch the end of the shoe and then I just slide my thumb right into the back of the shoe again to make sure to have that amount of space.

Related: Best Running Shoes For Wide Feet


When youre at the running shoe store or once you order a pair of shoes and theyve arrived at your house during lockdown, for example, I recommend trying them on with the socks you normally wear while running whether theyre a little bit thicker or whether theyre a little thinner low-profile ones.

Custom Inserts

If you use orthotics or custom footbeds, place them in your shoe after removing the sock liner.


Its worth noting that feet tend to swell throughout the day, so trying them on in the afternoon will give you a more accurate idea of how the shoe will fit mid-run.

Thumbnails Width

Once your shoes are comfortably laced, stand up and test the shoes length. There should be about a thumbnails width between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe.

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The heel should fit snugly without slipping as you walk and your toe should have some extra room on either side to allow your feet to spread out.

Lacing Techniques

Many runners dont realize how much they can customize the fit of their shoes just by changing the way they lace them.

Here are a few different ways to lace up your running shoes to deal with various fit problems.


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Heavy Vs Light: Running Shoe Weight

Most running shoes nowadays can hardly be called heavy. Were lucky to live in a time where technology is so great that none of us have to be running in boats even when we desire the maximum amount of cushioning. However, well put the weight of running shoes in the three categories. None is better than the other when utilized for the proper purpose.

Light, average, and heavy running shoes can all serve a purpose:

-those needing maximum cushioning to protect joints-heavier weight runners-trail running

A more heavily cushioned shoe like the Brooks Adrenaline or something more streamlined such as the Altra Escalante have a seemingly small, yet significant weight difference. As a runner, you need to determine your needs in order to choose the best option for your training. Lighter isnt always necessarily better. Many runners will actually own both a set of lighter shoes and another pair of heavier shoes depending on the type of running theyre doing. Heavier is often great to train in as it provides more cushioning for all of those miles, springing for the lighter shoe on speedwork days and for races makes the most sense to keep it as light as possible.

Measure Your Foot Width

How to Choose the Right Running Shoe for You  Steward ...

The Brannock Device also measures the width of your foot. If this tool is not available, you can use your ruler to find the best width of shoe for your foot. With the ruler still against the wall, stand on it in the type of socks you normally wear for running. Shift your foot until you your foot’s widest point is along the ruler. Record this number. Shoe widths cannot be easily converted from inches. A shoe size chart will help you find your width based on your shoe size and your foot’s width in inches.

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What Happens When You Wear The Wrong Size Running Shoes

Wear shoes that are too short, and your toes can butt up against the front. This contributes to the bane of runners existence, black and missing toenails, says Vincent.

This contact can also damage toe ligaments and the metatarsals, leading to deformities like hammer toes, he says. Over time, you can also develop Freibergs infractiona stress fracture of the second metatarsalfrom repeated impact.

Plus, squeezing your toes together too tightly forces the muscles of your foot out of alignment, Gray says. As a result, you might feel foot fatigue and develop pain in your arches or bunions.

At the front of your ankle, theres a bundle of nerves, tendons, and blood vessels, Vincent says. Theyre secured by a tight band of tissue, but shoes that fit too snugly can compress them, causing pain on the top of your foot or numbness and tingling throughout them.

Going too big, meanwhile, means your foot shifts around in your shoe. If a shoe doesnt lock down over your navicular bone, your foot can move back and forth with each step. The shear stress of shifting shoes and bunching socks against skin creates blisters, Vincent says. Plus, you can also wind up with bruised toes and toenails this way as your foot bangs into the front of the shoe with each slide, Gray says.

Know The Key Types Of Running Shoe

A stability or supportive shoe is one and thats the type thats one designed for someone that overpronates in their running gait. It uses design elements and a shoe structure to help reduce that pronation and excessive movement in the feet and ankle areas to combat the tendency to overpronate.

Neutral running shoes is the other key type of shoe. These tend to go lighter in construction compared to stability shoes as they dont need to offer those additional supportive elements. They usually offer more cushioning in the heel to cater for that more neutral running gait as well.

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How To Lace Running Shoes

How you lace your running shoes can make a big difference in terms of fit. If youre 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.

In general, Holland says, make sure the shoe fit is correct before you consider lacing techniques.

If theres any part of the shoe that slips or feels tight, or you feel the structure of the shoe too much, tell your running store adviser, and they will help you with lacing or provide socks, heel cups, or other accessories that make the fit better.

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.

Determine Your Shoe Size

Find the RIGHT Running Shoe for YOU | Running Shoe Fit Process

The first step to ensuring a good fit is to determine the correct shoe size, including length and width.

Running shoe fit is a combination of providing enough space for the foot to have room in the shoe and enough support so that the foot is not moving or sliding within the shoe, explains Patrick Maloney, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Mercy Medical Center.

Its also essential to get a good measurement of shoe length and width with your socks on and be sure to wear the type youll use for running.

For proper length, allow for at least 1/2 to 1 inch between your longest toe and the shoes 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 thats about a half size bigger than your standard shoe size.

Alice Holland, DPT, of Stride Strong Physical Therapy, says this leaves room for foot expansion during and after your pounding of the pavement.

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Checking For The Proper Shoe Fit

Wear your running socks when you go shopping. Different socks can change the fit of the shoes. If you are wearing thicker socks, it may make your shoes fit tighter. You want to make sure you wear the socks that you plan to run in. Pick several different brand and shoe options to try on. Dont go shoe shopping in the morning. Go shoe shopping later in the day or afternoon, when youve been on your feet for a while. Your feet swell throughout the day. Going later in the day will give you the best idea of how your shoes should fit. If you dont want to try on every shoe, heres a neat tip: take the insert out of the shoe and stand on it. Then, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does your foot fit?
  • Is the insert too wide or too narrow?
  • Does your heel hang over?
  • Are your toes brushing the edge?

Get Started By Walking

Walking is a great way to get active and even to slowly work yourself into running. While some brands do create specialized walking shoes, running shoes are equally good to walk in. The cushioning and close fit of a running shoe provides support to your foot as it moves, regardless if you are walking or running.

Read more about using running shoes for walking.

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