When running, the average person will have a stride length of about 7 feet (2.1336 meters). This means that in a typical 5k race, a person will take 2,344 strides, equaling 4,688 steps. Using these same numbers, running a marathon could bring your step count to a whopping 19,763 steps! With all of these steps being taken while running, it is extremely important to make sure you have the right shoes for your feet. But how do you even begin to make sure you purchase the proper footwear? Here are six tips to help make sure you find the perfect shoes to carry you through any distance.
1: Your shoe should fit the shape of your foot.
If you have a wide forefoot, find a shoe that will accommodate that. If your feet are narrow, look for a narrower shoe. Your forefoot should fit comfortably within the width of the shoe (i.e. the ball area of your foot should be sitting within the widest part of the front of the shoe).
2: You should be able to feel the shoe around your foot, except for in front of your toes.
There should not be so much space in your heel that it is lifting out of your shoe at every step, or that you experience rubbing and friction against your heel. There should be less than a finger’s width of space between your longest toe and the tip of the shoe.
3: Shoes won’t stretch out, don’t buy a tight pair thinking they will fit once “worn-in”
Just like with clothing sizes, it’s best not to get hung up on a number. Almost every brand varies slightly in sizing, so make sure to always try on shoes for comfort! (Additionally, most people’s feet are not exactly the same in size, so you should always fit to your larger foot.)
4: If you have stiffness in your big toe joint, find a stiff-soled shoe.
Stiffness in the joint can be a sign of early arthritis and the joint will become progressively more stiff over time. A stiff-soled shoe, which is curved upward toward the toes (rocker sole), can help in more advanced cases.
5: Don’t let heel pain get the best of you.
Plantar fasciitis is the name for the condition that develops when the plantar fascia tissue becomes inflamed. When the plantar fascia is excessively stretched, micro-tears can occur, causing this swelling and subsequent pain. Wearing shoes with arch support is an easy, effective method of naturally realigning the foot.
6: If you over-pronate, make sure you find a shoe with sufficient arch support.
Over-pronation occurs when the ankle rolls too far downward and inward with each step, causing the arch to collapse and the muscles and supporting structures to overstretch and lengthen. In addition, it causes the pelvis to tilt forward, which can cause an increased curvature of the lower back. Over time, over-pronation can lead to heel pain, shin pain, knee pain, lower back pain and a whole host of other issues. Finding a stiff, structured show with arch support will help to prevent your foot from collapsing inward.
Keeping these tips in mind will help you to find the perfect pair of shoes and prevent injury. However, it is a good idea to have a trained shoe specialist watch how you run or walk in a pair of shoes to ensure they fit properly. The specialists at TC Running are some of the best in the business when it comes to ensuring you have the perfect shoe for you!