If the Shoe Fits

By Sports Podiatrist Andrew Bull

I’m often asked which brand is the best, and although there are some brands that “get it right” more consistently, most brands have shoes that are good and bad for each runner. To those new to running, a podiatrist or a runner’s shop can help you to determine the amount of cushion or motion-control needed. However, then you need to find the right shape of shoe for your feet. This emphasises the need to be fitted correctly by a running specific shop.

Most important, is the length. Always fit your shoes after exercise and with the correct thickness of sock (and with your orthotics if you wear them). Your feet can expand quite dramatically as they impact the ground, and swell up to a full size in longer events. The usual rule is a full thumbs width from the end of your longest toe to the end of the shoe. Sounds basic, but I’ve lost count of how many black toenails I’ve drained after marathons and trailwalker.

Next is forefoot width. If you have particularly wide feet, you need to look for shoes that are 2E or 4E for men, or D or 2E for women. Some brands also cater for narrow women’s feet with a 2A fitting. New Balance is the running brand with the widest range of widths available for unusual sizes.

Saucony is a brand noted for having a narrower heel than most, and can help to reduce slippage. Alternately, using a heel-lock lacing technique (ask your pod or sports shop) can help to pull the heel back into the shoe and reduce slip.

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