Running is one of those sports that requires minimal equipment. While there may be fancy clothes, water bottles, and energy gels that can be used, the most important part of a runner’s wardrobe is the shoes. Walk into any sporting good or running specialty store, and you may be overwhelmed with the selection. There are different brands, varying levels of stability and cushioning, and a range of prices. So, how should a running shoe fit?

Use this article to learn more about how should a running shoe fit. The article is categorized by the different points you should consider when buying a running shoe. For the most part, the brand should be the least important part of the equation. The fit of the shoe is much more important. As you find a running shoe that works, you may become partial to that brand. However, this should not exclude other brands. Anytime you need a new shoe, you should try on a couple of different ones.

5 Tips on How Should a Running Shoe Fit

a woman putting on a running shoe

1. Stability of Shoe

There is a spectrum of stability in running shoes. It is a good idea to get your gait analyzed. This gait analysis will provide direction on how should a running shoe fit. This will help inform the level of stability you need in your shoe. If you have moderate overpronation, a stability shoe can help to neutralize and create a more efficient stride. This link will take you to some of the more common stability shoes.

If you have severe overpronation a motion control shoe would help to stabilize your gait. These shoes limit the impact on the arch and create a smoother ride.

How should a running shoe fit if a stability or motion control shoe is right for you? Try them on for an extended period of time in the running store and jog around in them. There may be awkward pressure on the arch at first, but the shoe should not feel unnatural or make you land in a way that is not comfortable. These minor annoyances in the store will become a bigger problem on a run.

2. Amount of Cushioning

There are minimalist, neutral, and maximalist shoes. How should a running shoe fit? Minimalist running shoes tend to have a lower shoe drop. This means that the drop from the heel to the toe is small. They also have less support. While some of these shoes have individual toe compartments, this is not a requirement. These shoes force a different landing strike than shoes with a higher drop. Therefore, if you choose one of these shoes, it is important that you take the time to acclimate to them. This means dropping your mileage and wearing them for only some of your runs.

There are some low heel drop shoes that are not minimalist. However, these shoes still have minimal arch support and encourage a full range of motion in your stride. These shoes tend to last for a shorter number of miles because of their minimal cushioning.

Maximalist shoes have an extreme amount of cushioning and can make you feel like you are running on air. They absorb a lot of the impact and are ideal for runners who may have joint pain. A word of caution with these shoes is that they can mask bad form and give the runner a false sense of security. A shoe will not prevent you from getting injured, but the right shoe for your feet and running style will lessen the likelihood of it.

3. Type of Running

There are a variety of runners. How should a running shoe fit for you? Some runners run a short distance like sprints and hurdles. Other runners will run distances on the road from 5k to a marathon. Still, other runners will run ultra marathons on trails. Each of these styles of running requires a different shoe. Short distance runners need a shoe with good grip, lightness, and low support. This optimizes speed. Road runners who race from the 5k to the marathon need a shoe that has good traction but is light and responsive. Trail runners need a shoe with a lot of support. These shoes are often heavier.

4. Where to Shop

Where you shop for your running shoe is almost as important as what type of shoe you wear. There are two major types of stores to buy running shoes. The first of these is your sporting goods stores. These stores will sell a variety of sporting goods. Sporting goods stores will likely carry more brands of running shoes. Typical brands are Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Asics, Saucony, Brooks, Mizuno, and Hoka.

Smaller running specific stores may not carry all brands of shoes. However, they have other perks like people who know the local running scene and are often more flexible with returning shoes that don’t work for you. No matter how much you try on the shoe at the store, it will feel different after running several miles. Some shoes will not accept used shoes, while others will accept shoes with many miles on them.

5. When to Replace your Running Shoe

The general consensus is that running shoes need to be replaced every 300-500 miles. There is a range of miles that different runners can get out of running shoes. Good ways to check to see if your running shoe needs replaced are to:

  • Look at the tread wear on the bottom and replace them if they move unevenly or have bald spots.
  • keep track of the miles and rotate another pair of shoes when you are approaching 300 miles.
  • Take notes of any new aches and pains. These could mean that your shoes are no longer supporting you.

Overall, buying a running shoe that works for you is a personal choice. Just because a shoe works for your running partner does not mean it will work for you. So how should a running shoe fit? A running shoe should fit like a glove. It should not make you alter your stride or cause any unusual aches and pains. Do not be afraid to try on multiple shoes. If you are unsatisfied with a shoe because of inferior quality, contact the company directly to try and rectify the situation. What is your favorite running shoe and why? Let us know in the comments below.

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