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How Should Running Shoes Fit: Comfy Is the Name of the Game

Running is a healthy sport that improves your fitness, burns calories, and is lots of fun (yes, that’s right, FUN!).

Running is, unfortunately, a sport that can be uncomfortable. But this can be solved if you know how running shoes should fit.

Running shoes do two things: they make running more comfortable, especially for your feet and legs. And they reduce the chance of injury. Running shoes should be both comfortable and have a firm hold of the foot.

While a good pair of running shoes are not inexpensive, the investment is definitely worth it and will improve the overall outcome of your runs.

Whether you are a beginner or have been running for quite some time, being aware of how should running shoes fit is essential.

How Should Running Shoes Fit: Essential Knowledge for Every Runner

Think of it this way: running shoes should be a mix of comfort and firmness with no compromise. This means that one must find a snug fit in the shoe but also must be sure that the foot stays well in place during running sessions.

In case you don’t know yet, your feet swell during running sessions. For that reason, it’s important that your feet have enough room in the shoes to expand while running.

  • The Heel Area

The heel area should allow the heel to fit firmly at the bottom of the insole, without too much movement. To test this, you should see how easily you can insert and remove the foot from the laced-up shoe.

Without tying a bow or a know, you should be able to slit the foot in and out with minimal effort. When lacing it up, it should feel not just firm, but also comfortable.

  • The Instep

The instep is the shoe’s upper region. It should provide the arch with proper support and security, without causing too much pressure that can lead to injuries. The perfect shoe should have some extra lacing spots that will allow the wearer to adjust and lace the shoe for their particular foot.

  • Size

In terms of length, as stated above, the foot should have just a little bit of wiggle room to adjust to the swelling. It should have at least a quarter to half inch of space between the toe and the front of the shoe. So make sure to check for that before buying.

The same principle is true for the width of the shoe. The foot should be comfortable but not move too much side to side.

  • Brand and Model

Whether it’s Brooks, Mizuno, Nike, or New Balance, it doesn’t really matter. Don’t stress over brand and models too much, as long as the shoes are comfortable.

When it comes to shopping for a pair of running shoes, avoid shopping online for unknown brands. It is still better if you can try the shoe on before buying it to ensure that you get the perfect fit.

It’s also a good idea to know the type of shoe you need. Most runners fall into the neutral category, but runners with low arches need more stability running shoes.

  • Weight

Here is where things get a bit closer to the competitive spectrum. The weight of the shoes will matter for more seasoned runners. Training shoes, those that should be used in day-to-day training, should weigh around 10 ounces.

On the other hand, shoes for competitions should typically be less. One thing to keep in mind is that the less a shoe weighs, the less cushioning and support it has.

  • Comfort

Comfort has so far been covered a bit, but let’s emphasize more on what it really means. Apart from size and fit, you should also keep an eye out for build quality, which will dictate even further how comfortable a shoe will be.

This is where top brands take a bigger leap too, with better stitching techniques, higher quality design, and more quality materials.

Keep an eye out for deals and grab a better shoe. These models are replaced on a regular basis, so if the previous model is still in a store’s stock, it will definitely be listed with a hefty discount. It might even pay off to wait a couple of weeks.

Buying from a Physical Store versus Online

You can’t really know if a pair of running shoes would fit you when you are buying from an online store. Sure, you might know your size and particularities, but sizes differ from manufacturer to manufacturer and buying from an online store can really leave you with a useless, overly-tight (or loose) running shoe.

A Word from the Pros

If you’re serious about running, then you should know that one pair of running shoes might not be enough. If you plan on using the footwear on a daily or semi-daily basis, then it’s important to alternate between pairs.

In order to keep the fit snug and comfortable, the shoes must be allowed to rest so that the gel or foam regains its original size and form.

In addition, it’s also worth mentioning that manufacturers and professionals recommend that runners change their shoes once they hit a 300-500 miles.

While this number might be extended a bit by using multiple pairs, it’s important to keep switching pairs to avoid blisters, foot pain, and other running-related injuries.

Final Thoughts

Make sure to follow the pointers in this piece to make sure that you’re getting a decent shoe. Don’t stress too much over appearance and brands, as these aren’t really important when running. While everybody likes a pretty piece of apparel, it would be wise take a more practical approach when shopping for running shoes.

Buy one or two pairs of the shoes that are within your price range and really think about their strengths and weaknesses. Running shoes are a constant investment, so use the ones that you’re getting to determine what you’d like differently in the next pair.

Ultimately, make sure to maintain and clean your shoes. Avoid making rookie mistakes when it comes to maintenance and shop for some special cleaning products or check some online guides on how to clean and maintain the shoes without damaging them.

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

The Wired Runner