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Are You Wearing the Right Running Shoes? Here Are 10 Steps to Pick One

It can be difficult finding the right pair of running shoes, but here are 10 steps to getting you the right fit, as recommended by industry experts.

The Malaysia Mega Sale is finally upon us again! Some of you, like me, are probably also on the lookout for good running shoes for cheap. I still remember the pair I bought last year from one of the sports stores. It fitted me only so-so, but I was so excited about the impossibly low price tag that I just bit the bullet and paid for it.

It was a tad too small but some people told me it’s okay to buy shoes which are slightly smaller because they’ll get looser the more you use them. Well, they couldn’t have been more wrong. I suffered quite a few blisters in the beginning, so many that my bright pink shoes stayed in the shoe rack till I managed to muster up enough courage to wear them again. After a bit of breaking in, they were okay and didn’t give me blisters anymore, but my feet still hurt after spending more than 30 minutes in them.

So, although they looked good and was made by a good running shoe brand, they just weren’t the best fit for me.

I am determined not to make the same mistakes again this year. And so shouldn’t you. Here are the 10 steps you must take to get the perfect pair of running shoes, as advised by the industry experts:

1. Try your shoes in the evening

Your feet grow slightly bigger in the evening (and also during a run), so if you try out running shoes during the day and purchase the perfectly fitted one, you’ll probably be trying to exchange them for a bigger size later on (which in Malaysia, isn’t possible in some shops).

2. Bring socks with you

Just as long as they don't look like these. | Source: stylefrizz.com

Just as long as they don’t look like these. | Source: stylefrizz.com

Socks help improve comfort and support, and prevent chafing while you’re running, so you’re naturally going to be wearing socks with your new running shoes. Just so you get the best fit, bring along your favourite pair of running socks while trying on your shoes.

3. Lace up your shoes and see if it fits

Lace up your shoes but leave it untied, and try sliding your feet in and out. It should slide out smoothly (not fall right off), and slide back in smoothly while laced up. This means your shoes are snug, but not overly tight (which will only get worse as you run).

4. Play the piano in the toebox

Source: altrarunning.com

Source: altrarunning.com

Like mentioned earlier, your feet expand in the evenings, and while you run, so if you buy an already tight shoe at the store, it’ll only get tighter. Find a pair where your toes have a little wiggle room in the toebox (not too much, play the piano with your toes to test it out). An easy way to check this is to see if you have a thumb’s width between your longest toe and the front wall of the shoe. You’ll thank yourself when you don’t get bruises on your toes later on.

5. The soles should hold the whole of your feet

The entire width of your foot should fit on the platform of the shoe, touching the base, says Bruce Wilk, a physical therapist and owner of a running specialty store in the US. A good pair of running shoes shouldn’t squeeze your foot at all, and the bones in your feet should be sitting on the shoe platform.

6. Know your foot type

Source: betterrunner.com

Source: betterrunner.com

There are three types of feet: flat (no arch), high-arched, and normal. It’s important to know what your foot type is so you shop for the right type of running shoes. If you have flat feet, your feet rolls inward when you run, so you need a pair of shoes that corrects that (look out for “motion control). If your feet are high-arched, your feet roll outwards when you run, so you need a pair of shoes that cushions the shock. If your feet are normal, you’ll have quite a lot of choices, just don’t go for the shoes meant for other types of feet.

7. Walk or slow jog around the store

As dumb as you may feel jogging around the sports shop in the shoes you’re trying out, your wallet will thank you later on. Many of us shop for shoes but feel self-conscious about trying them on too vigorously. Later on we pay the price by having to suffer in shoes that aren’t the right fit for us. Going for a slow jog or brisk walk around the shop is perfectly legal, and will help you pinpoint whether the shoes match your feet, from the toe box, the width, to the arch support. If a pair of shoes still feel comfortable after your test run, then it’s probably safe to get them.

8. Don’t make do with almost-right sizes

Sometimes it’s hard to put back a pair of shoes you absolutely love just because they ran out of your size (especially if it’s on discount!) You might feel that settling for one or even half a size smaller or larger isn’t a big sacrifice but your feet will hate you for it when you run.

9. Get updated on your feet measurement

Source: chiccowboyboots.com

Source: chiccowboyboots.com

Break out the tape measure so you know exactly how wide and long your feet are. The size and shape of your feet change over time so you need to measure them occasionally to ensure you’re up to date. Also, remember that just because you’re a certain size when buying Nike shoes doesn’t mean you fit into the same sizes from ASICS.

10. Know that what suits your friends might not suit you 

If your friends have been raving about a particular brand or type of shoe, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be the best fit for you. Everyone’s feet are different and require different kinds of support, so make sure you run through all the steps mentioned above before forking out the cash for a crowd-favourite. See below for our summary of what to look out for:

healthworks shoe

Credit: Jolene Foo

See also:

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What’s your favourite pair of running shoes? Share with us in the comments section below or on our Facebook page!

 

Written by: Jolene Foo
Sources: asics.co.uk / Web MD / running.about.com / Runners World / Cool Running
A writer with a penchant for alliteration, Jolene is also a seaweed and green tea junkie in a love/hate relationship with working out. She likes reading everything, from cereal boxes to tombstone inscriptions, and trying to find meaning behind the words.

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