Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How to Fit Running Shoes

The Start
It is very important to make sure your running shoes fit correctly. You will be investing a fair amount of money in your shoes so you need to make sure they fit correct. Most people fit their running shoes too small! Please read this article and if you have any questions please comment and I will answer them.
1.) Make sure you try on all styles of running shoes (even within the same brand)
Sizing can vary more than you think. It is not uncommon to see a difference of a whole size. Make sure you have at least a quarter of an inch of room from the end of your longest toe (may not be your big toe). Having room in the toe box is essential for comfort in shoes that you will be putting lots of miles on! Try both shoes on and walk and run a little in the store. Make sure there are no areas rubbing or pinching. Try multiple brands and styles to find the running shoe that fits your foot. Below are some more technical details for fitting specific types of running shoes and specific arch types.

2.) Wet Test for Arch Type:
1. Pour a thin layer of water in a shallow pan.

2. Wet the sole of your foot in the pan.

3. Step onto a shopping bag or a piece of heavy paper.

4. Step off and look down at the mark on the bag or paper.


3.) Determine Your Arch Type
Normal Arch (medium)
If you see about half of your arch, you have the most common foot type and are considered a normal pronator. Contrary to popular belief, pronation is a good thing. When the arch collapses inward, this "pronation" absorbs shock. As a normal pronator, you can wear just about any shoe, but may be best suited to a stability shoe that provides moderate arch support (or medial stability). Lightweight runners with normal arches may prefer neutral-cushioned shoes without any added support.




Flat Arch (low)
If you see almost your entire footprint, you have a flat foot, which means you're probably an over pronator. That is, a micro-second after foot strike, your arch collapses inward too much, resulting in excessive foot motion and increasing your risk of injuries. You need either stability shoes, which employ devices such as dual-density mid-soles and supportive "posts" to reduce pronation and are best for mild to moderate over pronators, or motion-control shoes, which have firmer support devices and are best for severe over pronators, as well as tall, heavy (over 165 pounds), or bow-legged runners.



High Arch
If you see just your heel, the ball of your foot, and a thin line on the outside of your foot, you have a high arch, the least common foot type. This means you're likely an under pronator, or supinator, which can result in too much shock traveling up your legs, since your arch doesn't collapse enough to absorb it. Under pronators are best suited to neutral-cushioned shoes because they need a softer midsole to encourage pronation. It's vital that an under pronator's shoes have no added stability devices to reduce or control pronation, the way a stability or motion-control shoe would.
Shoe Types:
 Cushioning Shoes (neutral): A Neutral Cushioning shoe is best for runners with a high arch who do not pronate effectively. These shoes do not have medial supports but are more concerned with mid-sole cushioning. The mid-sole will provide the extra shock absorption that the lack of pronation is missing. Along with a runner who does not over pronate, Neutral Cushioned shoes also work well for mid-foot and forefoot strikers.

4.) Determine Your Shoe Type
Cushioning Shoes (neutral)
A Neutral Cushioning shoe is best for runners with a high arch who do not pronate effectively. These shoes do not have medial supports but are more concerned with mid-sole cushioning. The mid-sole will provide the extra shock absorption that the lack of pronation is missing. Along with a runner who does not over pronate, Neutral Cushioned shoes also work well for mid-foot and forefoot strikers.



Stability Shoes
Stability shoes are for runners who have normal or medium arches who are mild to moderate over pronators. These shoes have some medial support and good mid-sole cushioning. Because normal or medium arches are the most common foot type, most runners will need Stability shoes.

Motion Control Shoes
Motion Control shoes are for runners who generally have a low or flat arch and are moderate to severe over pronators. These shoes employ extra support devices on the medial side to slow excessive pronation and tend to have wider and flatter outsoles. Heavier runners who need extra support and durability may also want Motion Control shoes.

Trail Shoes
Trail shoes are for runners who desire better traction and durability for off road runs. These shoes tend to be more weather and water resistant. They also have a little stiffer construction for better stability on uneven terrain. Trail shoes can be neutral, motion control, or stability shoes.


More tips
1.) Focus on the ride. Once you know the type of shoe you need, whether motion-control or stability, then you need to be sure there is no pinching, or a seam that is pressing against your foot. Finally, we recommend people run or walk in the shoe and really focus on the ride, or how the shoe feels from the point when the heel hits the ground to when the toe lifts off it.

2.)Line up the ball. When you try your shoe on, the ball of your foot (the widest part) should line up exactly with the widest part of the shoe. If that fit is right, everything else should line up--from the toes to the heel.

3.) As for width, when you're standing in the shoe, your foot should rest gently against the sides of the shoe, rather than jamming up against them or not touching at all.

4.) Be sure your toes aren't being pinched from the side. Room in the toe box is essential in good fit for running shoes. Too many people fit their running shoes too SMALL! 
Do not go by your regular size! Running shoes tend to fit small, Some brands can fit up to a size or more small in length. If ordering online call and ask how the shoe fits. Get advice from customer service.

If you have any questions or additional information about fit please comment.

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