In this blog we discuss how to choose the perfect running shoe for you.

Finding the best-fitting shoe among the many choices at your local running store isn’t always easy. Most shops now offer a gait analysis service. Where someone in your local running shop watches you jog, and suggests a pair of shoes that are more stable and all your biomechanical problems will be solved. Well that isn’t quite right.

Whilst it is essential that you have the correct footwear it is only a small part of the puzzle. And so should be taken with a pinch of salt. To conduct a gait analysis, your feet are only one small piece of your biomechanics. What happens to your feet is merely part of a whole body movement pattern. Running, like most other whole-body activities is essentially your unique way of moving.

To ensure you walk out with happy feet, you need to make sure the shoe fits properly from heel to toe. Knowing what to look for will give you a better idea how your next pair should feel on your feet.

5 things to look for when trying the shoes on:

Heel: Your heel should fit snug, but not tight, laced up (but not tied), you should be able to slide your feet out. There will be some heel movement, but it shouldn’t be uncomfortable. Any irritation you feel in the store will be amplified once you hit the road.

Width: Your foot should be able to move side-to-side in the shoe’s forefoot without crossing over the edge of the insole. You should be able to pinch a finger width of upper material along the widest part of your foot. If the shoe is too narrow, you’ll feel the base of your little toe sitting on the edge of the insole.

Length: Feet swell and lengthen over a run, so make sure there’s a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the end of a shoe. Your toes should also wiggle freely up and down, this wiggle room protects against front-of-the-foot issues.

Flex: Check the flex point before you put on the shoe. You can do this by holding the heel and pressing the tip of the shoe into the floor. The shoe should bend and crease along the same line your foot flexes. An improperly aligned flex point can lead to arch pain or plantar fasciitis, while a lack of flexibility leads to Achilles-tendon or calf strain.

Feel: Knowing your arch type or running mechanics isn’t the whole story. You still need to pinpoint shoes that match your foot’s contours and movements. You can’t get a good feel by just standing. So take your shoes for a quick jog, either on a store’s treadmill or down a hallway. A natural-feeling support under the arch works for most people. Your shoe should complement and support your stride, not try to alter it.

What not to do

Assume all brands are the same size: It seems sensible to assume that a size is a size—that an 8 in a Nike will be the same as an 8 in a New Balance. But sizes differ because of different lasts (foot forms), the different shape of the upper, and the way the shoe is stitched together. Have your feet measured every time you buy, and always try the shoes on for fit.

Shop at the wrong time of day: A lot of time people come in the morning and say, ‘This is the shoe I need.’ Then they’ll come back the next day and say, ‘I wore them at 5 p.m. and they were too small.’ Your feet start swelling in the morning and they don’t stop until about 4 p.m. That’s as big as they’re going to get, so always buy your shoes in the evening.

Buy for looks: Some runners are too concerned with fashion. Often, when you get a shoe because it looks cool, you end up coming back in a few months and saying, ‘This shoe hurts me. I had a problem with it.’ When you buy, think feel and fit, not fashion.

Summit Approach

If after all this you are still struggling with a niggle why not contact us to see how we can help. It maybe more than just the shoe that needs addressing.

Thanks for reading

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