Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fitting and Sizing the Right Running Shoe

The range of footwear available to the runner may at first seem a little daunting. The reality is that it really needn't be. The choice, whilst vast, is usually clearly set out. Definitions are set by the many contributory factors determined by the needs of the many different types of runners. Whilst you should visit a running footwear specialist you can check what your choices are before you go. Once you know what your foot type is and what type of running shoe you require, the choices should become clearer and more apparent, so that you can home in on them or take advantage of online offers also.

Even experienced runners sometimes have trouble sizing their running footwear correctly, although most quickly find the type or even a brand of shoe that they like and remain fiercely loyal to it, because they like the way one feels and performs. Asics, Mizuno, New Balance and Saucony are all well respected running shoe brands offering highly technical applications to their footwear. Lightweight/breathable materials combined with rigid but flexible supporting functionality, plus cushioning in the right places to enhance the running action with strength and durability are the aims of a running shoe. The right running shoe choice is of course the Holy Grail for the runner and can be achieved with only a little experience. However it should be noted that all brand's have a running shoe for every possible situation and it may well be that they have just not yet discovered the right shoe or fit from one of these yet. We all have a list of our own particulars to include on our running shoe tick-list. These are formed by our size, shape, foot type and what sort of running we will be doing. Our feet are different as can be; even our own left and right can be quite alien to one another. We are all different weights, shapes and foot strike types. The good news is that there is a great amount of information and choice. Even better is the fact that the running shoe brands have put in so much research and development that the humble running shoe is designed with as much thought as a NASA mission and we are the beneficiaries of this technology!

So what do we look for in our running footwear?

  • Support
  • Light weight
  • Comfort
  • Cushioning
  • Quality
  • Durability
  • Value
  • Design

What size running shoes do I need?

If you are a first timer looking at running shoes then go with your everyday shoe size and trying running shoes on is the only way to be sure that the fit is right for you. Shoe sizes can be confusing so be sure to check that you are working with your UK shoe size. Check and double check with a shoe size conversion chart. Make your choice based on your larger foot! Once you know what your running shoe size is, it does all become easier of course. The choice for a more experienced runner comes in the intricate differences running footwear offers based upon the type of running or training you are doing. Different brands sizes can also vary so experience in this area is a key factor as well. Most people do have different sized feet so always fit to your bigger foot rather than the smaller one cramming in the larger. However, it might be worth bearing in mind your feet will swell after running more than a couple of miles. Bounce up and down in the running shoes and walk around; if you can replicate a few running strides and sharper sideway movements. Running shoes may feel strange at first remembering that they are designed with action in mind. Cushioning and support should be apparent and this feel is important so that you can recognise when the shoes are in need of replacement. Most quality running shoes are available in half sizes and online services will allow you to return footwear if you keep the packaging intact and do not wear them outside, and can return them in the condition you received them.

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