Trying to find the ‘Best Fitting Running Shoes’ or ‘Most Comfortable Running Shoes’?
Do your running shoes actually fit you?
A lot of niggles and running related injuries are caused by your running shoes simply not fitting. Most people think that your shoes should feel snug or tight but, this stops the foot from functioning correctly. This can lead to common complaints such as in grown toe nails and bunions to name but a few.
If your shoes feel heavy towards the end of a run or you get pins and needles in your feet then your shoes are either too tight or the wrong shape for your feet. When your foot hits the ground during running it can expand by over a centimetre in length and 15% in width. The purpose of this is to absorb shock and to load the planta fascia to spring your foot of the floor. So, if your shoes are an incorrect fit then you lose both shock absorption and propulsion.
In addition to this you will also loose stability. If your foot is unable to spread on impact you are less likely to pronate or supinate. Therefore reducing the need for a more structured shoe to prevent injuries.
A lot of shoes get narrower towards the toe when your foot actually gets wider. That’s why the good specialist running shoe brands are broad in the forefoot and why at Northern Runner we stock shoes in both ½ sizes and width fittings from brands like New Balance, Brooks and Inov-8. As well as brands like Altra (see image below) that have a more rounded foot shaped shoe to give the foot room to work correctly.
Your running shoes should fit around the heel and your mid-foot but, then splay out in the forefoot. When you are stood up in your shoes with your full weight on your feet, you should have a thumbs width between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Unless you are running a very long Ultra or a very hot event then this should be enough room for most people to maintain foot function even after your foot has warmed up and expanded a bit. Width wise your feet should not be splaying over the edge of the shoe. Your toes should be free to wiggle and move around.
If your running shoes fit correctly then you should be able to feel your foot spread out as it is loaded when it impacts the ground and the spring when you lift your foot up. If you are new to running or have always bought a snug fit then even a little bit of room in the shoes makes them feel like clown shoes. However, even in the time it takes to try a few pairs of shoes on and have a test run on the corridor most customers find that the extra space feels more comfortable.
A way to see how much space you have in your running shoes is to pull out the insole from a worn pair. The insole will show the outline of your foot. You can therefore see if you have space at the end and sides of the shoe or not.
For advice please do not hesitate to call us on 0191 2614 322 or if you live locally visit me in the Northern Runner shop in Newcastle. See us on the Map.