How should running shoes fit?

How Should Running Shoes Fit?

Not sure how running shoes should fit?

Well, we at RAVE would like to guide you through the process of finding the right shoe size for you and prevent any unnecessary blistering. In other words, we’re going to help you find your perfect shoe fit. 

When you run, you want your shoes to fit just right. Since you will use them for a wide variety of endeavors and terrain, it makes sense to find a pair of shoes that is best suited for your needs. A shoe that doesn’t fit well can lead to joint pain and tear skin from all the chafing. 

In reality, many running shoes don’t typically fit to your usual size. And while it can be hard to navigate through all the styles and selections, finding the right size shoe is a top priority and will offer a far better experience as shoes that don’t fit can lead to not only blisters, but toe pain too. If you continue to have doubts after reading this article, we suggest going to a specialty store to buy your running shoes with recommendations from the local professional.

What should you look for?

Heel coverage

Starting from the back, a snug heel that fits well shouldn’t feel too loose or tight in order to prevent your heel from rubbing against the back of the shoe. Friction from this motion can lead to those annoying cuts and blisters on your ankles and usually results in an endless stream of bandaids. Our goal is to keep you pain free without the added expenses from Walgreens. 

If your heel feels like it’s moving around in the shoe, then your shoe is too big and you should look for a tighter fit. However, it shouldn’t feel so snug that the experience wearing the pair becomes restrictive. Once laced up, you’re looking for a comfortable and cushioned feel that is just right.

If you start to notice blisters on your heels after a run, then it is a sign that maybe your heel still might be too loose or tight in the shoe, as each stride is creating too much friction between your heel and the shoe. It could also just mean you need a change of socks. 

Fitted midsole

The midsole of a running shoe often isn’t thought much about because we don’t really see it. Since it is inside of the running shoe, it can often be hard to determine whether or not the shoes will suit you unless you try it out first hand.

So when sliding the shoes on for the first time, try to pay attention to how much support the sole gives you. That will be important for shock absorption, especially if you require more arch support than most and depending on the terrain you plan to run or jog on.

But the key part is that the midsole should fit your foot like a glove. Giving a cozy feeling without having to tighten the laces too much. If the shoe feels a bit too tight or lose in the midsole, you can try different lacing styles to help the shoes better conform to the midsection of your foot.

Personal goals 

Focusing more on the midsole, a key component of finding the right type of shoe and size  depends on the shape of your arches, type of cushioning category (levels 1-5), and pronation your natural walk. Once finding out which areas you fit in, combine that with the type of running you wish to buy, be it a long-distance trail runner, short-distance road runner, and so on. Knowing what you are personally looking for in a shoe and workout will also play a role in deciding what kind of running shoes you will ultimately need.

Toe wiggle room

When you run, your body pumps blood at a much faster rate to deliver oxygen throughout your joints and limbs. This extra blood flow reaches your feet as well, and with each stride your foot swells because of this. So, to help accommodate for this extra swelling, runners usually buy shoes slightly larger than normal.

To check if there is enough space in the shoe, place your thumb in between your biggest toe and the tip of the shoe. There should be enough area to fit your whole thumb. To get this result, it’s unlikely you will be wearing the same size shoe that you normally would. But sizes cannot always be trusted. So it’s better to test for yourself and see if you have the right amount of required toe room this way.

Also, because you’re bound to have extra space in the front of the shoe to accommodate for the extra swelling, it is paramount that you make sure the heel and midsole fit to the requirements previously mentioned above.

Overall fit quality

Once you’ve checked all the boxes, the pair of running shoes you have chosen should feel comfortable as soon as you wrap them around your feet and tighten those laces. If you’re looking to break in your new shoes because they may not feel comfortable at first, chances are that isn’t the shoe for you. While breaking in shoes in a necessary step in all shoe purchases, don’t purchase a stylish but uncomfortable shoe believing it will fit better once you break it in.

Your heels will feel the brunt of the force for the first few runs and possibly more, so treat them kindly.

You want your new pair of running shoes to fit perfectly from the start, with little to no break in period required. To help figure this out quickly, try out each pair in the kind of socks you intend to run in. This will help give you better, and more hands-on, feedback on the shoe’s long term performance while saving you from potentially being stuck with a painful and ankle-punishing shoe pair for six months or more.

Finish Line

Another minor tip is to make sure the socks you run in aren’t too thick, as that will cause your feet to sweat to an uncomfortable level and cause chafing. Nobody wants that. But in the end, when you’re buying a pair of running shoes and have doubts over whether or not they may fit you properly, have a double check with this list or get further confirmation from a local store before making a final decision.

You can never be too cautious over the health and safety of your feet. That’s what RAVE recommends.

Randy Brangman

Randy Brangman is a Licensed Physical Therapist and Exercise Therapist and a former long distance runner. He is the founder and Lead Exercise Instructor at Trinity of Wellness. Spending more time in running shoes than flip flops, he travels the world while going through pair after pair. He is currently writing a book about joint therapy.