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Running Shoes - Getting the Right Fit

Whether you are walking or running, running for fitness or competing at a high level, an extremely important piece of equipment is a good pair of shoes. The definition of a good shoe is one that fits you, not necessarily one that’s expensive. Wearing shoes that don’t fit or don’t properly support your feet can easily result in injury, resulting not only in discomfort and pain, but also discourage you from achieving your goals. You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on the best brand name shoes - you just need something reliable and shoes that feel comfortable for you.

footprint in the sandwhat is your foot shape?

There are a lot of features that are important in an exercise shoe. The running shoes you choose need to tick all the right boxes, not just fitting correctly, but having the support, stability, and cushioning that are all going to play a role in your comfort and performance.

Get Assessed

It is best to get professional advice. Seek out a running shoe store staffed by professionally trained shoe fitters, and expect to spend 30 minutes or more in your shoe fitting and selection expedition, allowing the fitter to properly assess your stance, foot strike, gait, and wear pattern, and giving you ample time to try on as many pairs as possible.

It is a good idea to take an old pair of sneakers with you, so that the fitter can assess your wear pattern on the sole, giving them an insight into your running style. The fitter should also look at you standing in bare feet to determine whether you have low, medium, or high arches. Finally, the fitter should also watch you walk and run with bare feet. All of these assessments help determine your specific shoe needs.

What's Your Foot Shape?

With every stride, your foot pronates to some degree. This is the natural roll of your foot from heel to toe. A neutral pronation is when you hit the outside of the heel, and move through the ball of your foot so that you push off evenly across the front of your foot. You can have supination (under pronation) or overpronation too, and you get shoes that can help compensate for that.

Those with flat arches (whose shoes show wear on the inner section of the toe box) over-pronate, meaning that their feet roll too much. Such feet require strong, stabilizing shoes that help prevent over-pronation.

Walkers with high arches (whose shoes show wear on the outer section of the heel) supinate; their feet don’t roll enough. Supinators need very flexible shoes, to encourage their feet to pronate further.

Another way to determine if you have high or low arches is with the "wet foot" test. Put a couple of newspaper pages or other paper on the floor. Wet the bottom of your barefoot, and step onto the paper. If the wet area on the paper is just around the outer edge of your foot, you have high arches; your arches never touched the paper. If you get a big, wet blob, you have flat arches.

You can also look at your footprint left after walking in the sand.

More Tips for a Proper Shoe Fit

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