It’s important to take the time to find a proper fit for your running shoes. Poorly fitted running shoes could lead to lots of problems down the road. Wearing the wrong shoe size and/or shape has been known to cause ingrown toenails, calluses, muscular imbalances, bunions, and more. The main goal of the running shoe is to enhance your foot’s natural motion and inclination. When your shoes fit perfectly, your feet have the freedom to move and function without pain, soreness or discomfort. A win-win for all!
Sadly, a lot of women are running in shoes that don’t fit properly or are too small. Some people are surprised to discover that your foot actually changes in size while running! It lengthens, widens, and spreads upon contact with the hard ground. Your foot then contracts back to its normal size when the foot takes its next stride in the air. This widening and spread of your foot during impact can be up to ½ inch in length. The difference between shoe sizes is roughly 1/3 inch, so these fluctuations during running actually matter. This is why it’s so crucial to have a proper fitting running shoe. If you merely size a shoe based on how it feels while you are standing, your running workout will be compromised. It is recommended to go up at least half of a size from your standard shoe size. For example, if you wear a size 7 for a dress or casual shoe, then you will probably want at least a size 7.5 for your running shoe.
How do you find the perfect fit? Well, it takes time and patience. Go ahead and try on every running shoe in the store – it’s important to wrap your feet in luxury. Otherwise you’ll finish your run with blisters and blame your shoes, right? Shop for shoes at the end of the day, this is when your feet will be the most swollen and will help you find a shoe that can accommodate your foot size fluctuations. If you have feet that are different sizes, make sure to pick a shoe size that fits your larger foot. A shoe that is too tight or small will probably cause more discomfort over time than a shoe that is too loose or big. Wiggle your toes and make sure they have plenty of room to spread and breathe. Another way to find an ideal fit is to take out the insole from inside the shoe, place it on the ground, and examine how your foot fits inside the boundaries – make sure there is room to spare, especially by the toes! And don’t forget to bring the socks you will wear during your running workouts.
If you are looking to do fast running, it’s important to find a snugger fit. This will help your foot stay engaged with the shoe, even when turning sharp corners. Test out your potential shoes while walking/running on a hard surface – avoid carpeted floors. Keep in mind that some women’s feet change drastically during pregnancy due to the pressure from weight gain. The impact from the extra weight can sometimes lengthen the foot arch, which may result in a permanently larger foot size. It’s helpful to have a proper shoe fitting during and after pregnancy to make sure you’re adjusting for any changes in foot size. Try to find a place that has an excellent return policy, that way you can scrutinize your shoes on a run outside and rest assured that you can return them if your feet aren’t happy. Remember, happy feet = happy running!