How should running shoes fit and why it it is important

Having correctly fitting running shoes is absolutely essential for performance and overall enjoyment. As we have mentioned before in other blogposts getting the shoes to fit correctly is not the easiest thing to do but like anything it is much easier when you know what to aim for.

In this blogpost I will be explaining what happens when your shoes don’t fit correctly but more importantly what correctly fitting shoes look and feel like. I will be talking about how factors that effect the fit of the shoes like swelling, foot width and previous experience effect. It is going to be an interesting read that should put an end to the speculation about what a good fit for a running shoes looks like.

Why is getting the size right so important

Knowing how should running shoes fit is absolutely crucial for a number of reasons. In this section of the post I will be focusing on what happens if you fail to get the right fit.

Issues with your longest toe

Having too much extra room at the front of the shoe can cause your big toe to hit against of the shoe. This is because your foot naturally moves forward in the shoe which is not usually a problem but if there is too much space at the end of your shoe there will b changes in your running style as well as long term foot issues.

Changes in running style

If you have shoes that are too large your body will consciously or unconsciously change the way you play plant your foot on the ground. Equally if their is not enough room there will also be issues. I have had this problem in the past and it lead to a shorter stride and issues with the blood flow in your foot which brings us onto the next point.

Plantar fascists

A Person Holding his Ankle

Planter fascists is one of those increasing common issues that runners all over the world have to face. There are however ways to reduce the chances of getting the issue. For a quick bit of context planter fasciitis is when the blood supply in your foot becomes problematic which leads to pain in the bottom your foot. Having shoes that are too small has been shown to cause this issue.

Changes to the shape of your foot

Thus issue is very commonly cause by shoes that have a very thin toe box. If you are a runner with wider feet then this issue is likely to effect you more. Runners who experience this are also likely to experience issues with toes and possibly even plantar fasciitis. Alongside plantar fasciitis you could even get things like bunions ingrown toenails and major blisters.

The reasons for people not wearing the right shoe size

The Word Why Made with Cubes with Letters

So we know that wearing the wrong shoe size is very damaging but then why do people do it. Well there are a few reasons and by knowing why people do it is a good way to recognise the signs and prevent them. The following list is based on my own knowledge and time within the sport.

  • Growing feet: Kids and teenagers have growing feet which could make the running shoe fitting efforts pointless
  • Lack of knowledge: Some people who have not been fortunate enough to know about how should running shoes fit

No we know what problems can arise from incorrect fitting and why people still wear the wrong shoes we can work on ways to get the correct fit.

How to ensure your running shoes fit

To avoid discomfort it is best to get it right when your are choosing your shoes. The best way to do so is to understand what you will be using the shoes for. If you are running for very long periods of time then you will want to adjust the size so you can achieve maximum comfort during the really tough stages of the run.

The Role swelling plays in this

A person's feet are on the grass with a pair of slippers

I am aware that the world swelling can sound slightly alarming but it is perfectly normal and it happens when you are on your feet for long periods of time. For example if you are going to run a marathon then you are going to need to give yourself an amount of extra space to accommodate for this growth.

In the ned it is down to personal preference but if you do very long distances this is definitely somthing you will want to consider. I have a friend who does ultra marathon and his feet swell so much that he has a different size of shoes for races which I think is a good idea.

For the everyday runner the size of your feet won’t change too much so you can just go for half of a UK size up if there is a problem with foot pain.

Previous experience with different types of shoes

When I say different types of shoes I am referring to barefoot shoes or somthing similar. These shoes cause you to have wide feet which might not be as well suited when returning to normal shoes. The shoe width will have to be a bit larger but on the whole the fit of your running shoes could be a bit more challenging.

So How should running shoes fit

So now it is time to approach the main question of this post. When your first try a pair of shoes they should feel snug but not too tight. If you want to run up and down the shop to see if they fit you can but if you are at a specialty store then they can usually perform a gait analysis which will give you a better feel for the shoe to see if it is the right size.

Only you will know what the best size is for your own preferred amount of space but using the information in this blogpost can go a long way to helping you find that perfect size.


One last thing before we finish off just want to mention one thing about socks. The shoes should fit with a normal pair of running socks on. If you go to the shop with thicker socks you are likely to run into some issues when it comes to all those miles to come.

To conclude getting the right size of shoes is absolutely essential for your running journey and I hope that the stuff in this blogpost has helped you find the best pair of running shoes for you.

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