How Should Running Shoes Fit

How Should Running Shoes Fit: A Comprehensive Guide

Finding the perfect pair of running shoes can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new to running. The fit of your running shoes can greatly affect your comfort and performance while running. Wearing shoes that don’t fit well can lead to injuries and hamper your overall running experience. 

That’s why understanding how running shoes should fit is so important. In this blog post, we’ll discuss all you need to know about how running shoes should fit and help you find your perfect pair.

How To Size Running Shoes?

Did you know that many runners think they know their shoe size, but our feet can change over time? In fact, a study found that up to 72% of people wear shoes that don’t fit properly!

Factors like pregnancy, weight changes, aging, and lots of running can actually widen and lengthen your feet. That’s why it’s crucial to measure your feet at least once a year, or every six months if possible. If you’ve gone through significant weight changes or pregnancy, be sure to measure your feet before getting your next pair of running shoes.

Remember, the key to finding the right running shoe is proper measurement.

When it comes to measuring your foot at home, there are a few things you can do. First, grab a tape measure and compare your measurements to the shoe size chart of the brand you want. Alternatively, you can visit a local specialty running shop or athletic footwear store, where a professional can measure your feet for you.

Remember, it’s crucial to measure both feet since many people have one foot that’s longer or wider than the other. Choose the shoe size that aligns with your larger foot when purchasing running shoes.

If your feet are significantly different in size, you might consider buying two pairs of shoes. That way, you can use the smaller shoe for your smaller foot and the larger shoe for your larger foot. This option can be more expensive, but it’s rare to have such a significant difference in foot size.

If you opt for a slightly larger shoe to accommodate your larger foot, you can use different shoe lacing techniques to make the smaller foot feel secure and snug.

Remember, finding the right fit is crucial for comfort and performance!

When it comes to choosing the right shoe size, here’s a helpful tip: if you’re uncertain after taking your measurements, especially if you’re in between sizes, it’s recommended to go with a half size up or opt for the larger size.

But there’s another important factor to consider: timing. For the most accurate results, it’s advisable to measure your feet or get professionally sized in the afternoon or evening, especially if you tend to run later in the day. Why? Well, our feet tend to swell as the day progresses. So, if you measure in the morning and then go for an evening run, your shoes may end up feeling uncomfortably snug.

Oh, and don’t forget about socks! It’s crucial to measure your feet while wearing the socks you plan to run in. Some runners prefer thicker socks for added cushioning and warmth, which can significantly affect the width and length of your feet. Keep this in mind, as your running shoes might feel tight if you originally measured without socks and then switched to cushioned running socks.

When you head out to get measured or try running shoes at the store, remember this: always wear or bring the running socks you usually train in. This simple step ensures you find shoes that fit just right once you have your socks on.

How Should Running Shoes Fit?

When it comes to choosing running shoes, comfort is the ultimate answer. Before diving into the specifics of what to look for and how they should fit, remember that your shoes should feel comfortable right out of the box.

Forget the notion of a long “break-in period” to stretch or feel more comfortable. While shoes may soften and become more comfortable over time, they should still feel snug and comfortable from the start. If they’re too tight or inflexible, they’re not the right fit for you.

It’s easy to determine if a running shoe fits properly. Your foot should feel supported without being squeezed, and your shoe shouldn’t be loose enough for you to swim around in.

So, let’s explore how to ensure your running shoes fit perfectly:


Make sure the shoe’s upper fits your foot snugly. Avoid any discomfort from your bony parts pressing against the inside mesh.

Toe Box

When it comes to the fit of your running shoe, there are two crucial aspects to consider: the toe box area. Let’s break it down.

First, your toes need room to wiggle and spread out flat. They should never feel compressed by the width of the shoe. Give your little piggies some space!

Secondly, pay attention to the shoe’s length. You should aim for about a thumbnail’s width or half an inch between your longest toe and the shoe’s end. This ensures a snug, yet comfortable fit.

And here’s a pro tip: if your toes feel cramped, whether it’s due to length or width, it’s a clear sign that you need to size up.

Remember, finding the right fit is vital for a enjoyable and injury-free running experience. Happy trails!


Having a snug midfoot in your shoe provides excellent arch support, ensuring your foot remains comfortable and avoids any unnecessary compression. To achieve the perfect fit, simply adjust the tension of the shoe laces along the midfoot. This will prevent the shoe from pulling or feeling too tight, as well as prevent your foot from slipping up and down due to a loose fit.

Remember to pay attention to the alignment of your anatomical mediolateral arch with the arch of the shoe. If they don’t line up properly, it can lead to discomfort and affect the biomechanics of your foot during the transition from contact to toe-off. So, make sure they are aligned to avoid any pain or biomechanical issues.


When choosing running shoes, one important factor to consider is the overall shape of the shoe. This shape is referred to as the shoe last, which serves as the foundation upon which the shoe is built. It’s worth noting that different running shoe brands have different shoe last shapes.

However, the shape of the shoe goes beyond just its overall width. Some running shoes have a more squared-off forefoot region, while others taper more towards the toes.

To find the right shoe shape for you, it’s helpful to examine your own foot shape or make a tracing of your foot. You can then compare it to the shape or tracing of the running shoe’s outsole. If possible, remove the insole and compare it to your foot tracing or shape. This will give you a better understanding of how the shoe’s actual shape and fit will align with your foot.

Keep in mind that the base of many running shoes is built up, resulting in a wider platform than the actual shoe, especially around the heel. This can affect the comparison between your foot shape and the true shape of the shoe’s interior, which ultimately determines how well the shoe fits.

Ideally, you want the sole of the shoe to closely match your own foot shape. So, if you have a rectangular-shaped foot with a broader toe box area, look for a shoe that reflects this shape. Conversely, if your foot narrows and tapers towards the toes, choose a running shoe that matches this pattern.

By considering the shape of the shoe, you can enhance comfort and find a better fit for your unique foot shape.

Ankle Collar

Finding the perfect running shoes is crucial for a comfortable running experience. The ankle collar or heel cup should be snug but not tight, ensuring your Achilles tendon remains unaffected. It’s important to strike the right balance between roominess and stability because an excessively wide heel can cause blisters and irritation, hindering your progress.

To find the ideal pair, consider trying out various brands, styles, models, and sizes. This allows you to cater to your unique foot shape and preferences. Once you’ve answered the questions of how tight running shoes should be and how they should fit, you’re all set to embark on your shoe quest!

For those eager to delve into research and compare different running shoe brands, our extensive list of running shoe comparisons is at your disposal. Upgrade your running game with the perfect fit!

Why Proper Fit Matters in Running Shoes?

1. Improved Performance:

The right pair of running shoes can significantly improve your performance. Running shoes that fit perfectly provide the necessary support and cushioning to your feet, preventing fatigue and reducing the risk of injury. Properly fitted shoes can also improve your stride, helping you run faster and longer. When your foot is not slipping or sliding in the shoe, you can focus on running, and your performance can improve.

2. Reduces Risk of Injury:

Wearing shoes that do not fit can lead to several foot-related injuries such as blisters, hotspots, toenail trauma, plantar fasciitis, and many more. Ill-fitted shoes can cause discomfort and pain, making the running experience miserable. Properly fitted shoes absorb shock and can prevent injuries.

3. Comfortable Running Experience:

When you wear shoes that fit correctly, you’ll be more comfortable while running, leading to a better experience. You’ll be able to concentrate on your breathing and stride, rather than worrying about your foot slipping or sliding in the shoe. Properly fitted shoes help increase the running duration, and you won’t need to stop frequently due to discomfort.

4. Improved Foot Health:

When you run, your feet go through a lot of stress and shock. Properly fitted running shoes provide proper alignment and support to your feet, helping to prevent various foot-related problems such as overpronation, supination, and heel pain. Wearing shoes that don’t fit correctly can lead to more prolonged foot problems in the long run.

5. It’s Worth The Investment:

On average, a pair of quality running shoes costs anywhere from $100 to $200. However, the cost is well worth it in the end. You’ll enjoy better runs, increased comfort, and help to reduce your risk of injuries. Not to mention, you’ll be using the shoes for an extended duration, and your feet will thank you.

Common Fit Issues In Your Running Shoes

1. Too tight or too loose shoes – one of the most common issues runners face is finding shoes that are either too tight or too loose. If your shoes are too tight, they can put pressure on your feet, compress your toes, and lead to blisters. In contrast, shoes that are too loose can cause your feet to slide around inside the shoe, leading to discomfort, and increasing your risk of developing blisters. To fix this issue, make sure you try on different sizes, and brands to find a comfortable shoe that fits well. 

2. Shoes Too Narrow – if you have wide feet, you know how painful it can be to wear shoes that don’t fit correctly. Shoes that are too narrow can cause your feet to feel cramped, leading to discomfort and even pain while running. If you have wide feet, look for brands that offer a wide option, and consider having your feet measured to ensure you’re choosing the right shoe size. 

3. Improper Arch Support – if your shoes don’t provide sufficient arch support, it can lead to pain in your feet, legs, knees, and back. Shoes with poor arch support don’t allow your feet to absorb shock correctly, which can lead to injuries and discomfort while running. When choosing running shoes, look for ones with good arch supports that are specifically designed for your foot type. 

4. Shoes That Are Too Stiff – Running shoes that are too stiff can make it difficult for your feet to move naturally, increasing the risk of injury. Shoes that are designed for running usually fit more snugly, but should allow for some flexibility so that your feet can move freely while running. To fix this issue, try on shoes and make sure they have enough flexibility in the sole before purchasing. 

5. No Enough Room for Toes – when buying shoes, make sure there is enough room for you to wiggle your toes. Tightness in the toe box can cause blisters and make your runs uncomfortable. Also, pay attention to how your toes fit in the shoe – they should not be cramped or overlapping. Choose a shoe with enough room to allow free movement of your toes. 

How To Measure Your Foot Size?

1. Choose the Right Time and Place

The best time to measure your foot size is at the end of the day when your feet are at their largest due to swelling or carrying your weight for extended periods. It is also essential to measure your foot on a flat, hard surface to get the most accurate measurement.

2. Prepare for Measurement

Before you begin measuring, ensure that you have the right tools. You will need a tape measure, a piece of paper, and a pen. Wear thin socks or no socks at all to ensure your foot size measurement is as accurate as possible.

3. Measure the Length

Place your foot firmly on the piece of paper and use the pen to mark the end of your heel and the tip of your longest toe. Remove your foot and use the tape measure to measure the distance between the two marks. The number you get is your foot length.

4. Measure the Width

Next, measure the width of your foot by wrapping the tape measure around the widest part of your foot. The number you get is your foot width.

5. Use Measurements to Find Your Shoe Size

Compare your foot size measurements with the provided size chart of the brand you’re interested in. If not available, you can use a general shoe size chart as a reference or contact the brand customer service to get the correct size conversion.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Running Shoes

1. Foot Type

It’s crucial to know your foot type when selecting running shoes. The three primary foot types are neutral, pronated, and supinated. Neutral feet have the best arch support, while pronated people require shoes that provide excellent motion control. On the other hand, supinated feet require shoes that offer more cushioning, as they have insufficient shock absorption. Understanding your foot type will help you find shoes that provide the best support and prevent injuries.

2. Running Terrain

The terrain you run on will help in selecting appropriate running shoes. If you primarily run on a paved surface, you’ll need shoes with great cushioning that support your joints. However, for off-road running, you’ll need shoes with better traction to avoid slipping. If you’re not sure what shoes to choose, consult with an expert or specialty store for guidance.

3. Running Distance

If you’re a long-distance runner, you’ll require shoes that provide more cushioning to protect your feet and help you run more efficiently. Lighter shoes with less cushioning are more appropriate for short-distance running. Factors such as support, breathability, stability, and overall comfort are crucial when choosing running shoes.

4. Shoe Width

For optimum running performance and comfort, it’s crucial to choose running shoes that fit well with adequate space. A good fit ensures that you don’t experience foot pain or blisters while running. When trying on shoes, ensure there is enough space to wiggle your toes. The width of your feet will help you in selecting the best running shoe sizes. Most brands offer shoes in different widths, and finding the right size helps prevent cramping, blisters, and other foot issues.

5. Budget

Price is one of the critical factors in selecting running shoes. Running shoes can range from less than $50 to more than $300. Getting the right balance between the price and the features you need is vital. You don’t want to buy a shoe that has more than what you need or less than what you need. Keep in mind that a higher price doesn’t always equate to better performance.

Tips for Maintaining Proper Fit Over Time

1. Understand your Foot Type:

Every individual has a unique foot shape and type. Before purchasing shoes or maintaining them, it’s crucial to know if you have a high arch or flat feet, as these are the two most common foot types. Understanding this will help you choose the appropriate type of running shoes that will aid in the maintenance of proper fit. Also, keep in mind that running shoes tend to expand over time, so it’s better to go for a shoe size that fits slightly snug when new.

2. Rotate Your Shoes:

One of the most significant issues with running shoes is that they tend to wear out over time due to continuous usage. Over time, the shoe’s cushioning starts to break down and lose its shape, causing them to fit differently. To counter this, rotate your running shoes frequently. This not only helps maintain the shoe’s cushioning but offers a variation in the fit and feel of different pairs, ensuring you always have a well-fitting shoe available.

3. Clean and Dry Them:

Running in muddy or wet terrain can quickly degrade the build quality of shoes over time. Dirt and mud can stick to the shoes’ bottom outsole, making them slippery and reducing traction. Also, it’s crucial to keep them dry, as dampness can deteriorate the shoe’s fabric and cushioning. Try to clean and dry your shoes after every run to retain their quality and prolong their lifespan.

4. Replace Your Shoes:

It’s crucial to replace your running shoes when they are past their prime. Running shoes usually have a lifespan of 300-400 miles or a year or two, depending on usage and wear. Once they start to look worn out, or you notice changes in the fit and cushioning, it’s time to replace them. Investing in new running shoes may cost money, but it’s a crucial investment in your overall health and well-being.

5. Customize Your Shoes:

If you still experience issues with your shoes’ fit and comfort, it’s time to consider customized insoles or shoes. Insoles can be purchased separately and inserted into shoes to alter the fit and cushioning, providing relief to any discomfort. Customized shoes are also an option; these are made after studying your foot’s shape and size, providing a perfect fit. Customized insoles and shoes can be a tad expensive, but it’s an alternative worth investing in for runners who face continuous footwear issues.

Final Words

In conclusion, finding the right fit for your running shoes is crucial to having a comfortable and safe running experience. By considering aspects such as size, width, arch support, shape, and the break-in period, you’ll find running shoes that will enhance your running experience while keeping you free from injuries. 

Make sure to try on different shoes by different brands while paying close attention to their fit to choose the pair that works best for you. With the right pair of running shoes, say goodbye to uncomfortable runs and hello to the joys of a comfortable and safe workout.

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