These Shoes Were Made for Running

By: Keane Leung BScPT

So you're standing in front of a wall of running shoes at your local sports store. Scanning left to right, up and down, where do you start? Perhaps your eyes gravitate towards the brightly coloured selections or you look for the most expensive pair of running shoes, equating price with quality? 

Whatever your strategy for selecting a new pair of runners, you might benefit from the following shoe shopping tips:

1. Your feet tend to be bigger after a day of walking around. Shop for shoes late in the day to prevent undersizing.

2. Try on the shoes with socks that you would typically wear for a run. Believe it or not, socks can make the fabric of the shoe feel very different on the feet. Thick socks will cushion the feet from any loose seams or fabric, making these imperfections unnoticeable.

3. Practice some dynamic moves in the store; don't just walk around. Run, skip, hop, and jump (even if you feel embarrassed or self-conscious!).

4. The shoes should feel comfortable once you put them on with the laces secured. There should be no pressure points or heel slippage.

5. Leave a centimetre between the toes and the end of the shoes. Wiggle and splay your toes inside the shoe; there should be enough room for your toes to wiggle freely.

One trick I use is to take the removable insole out of the shoe and place it on the floor. Step onto the insole and observe the shape of your foot relative to the shape of the insole. If your toes are "falling" off the outer edge of the insole, then the toe-box is likely ill-fitting and too narrow for your feet.

6. Be wary of gimmicky advertising catch phrases and technical jargon used to justify a shoe's high price. A more expensive shoe doesn't equate to better quality.

7. Your weight does not determine the amount of cushioning needed for your shoe. 

8. Once you've chosen your new running shoes, give your feet time to adjust. Gradually increase the wear-time of your new runners so your body can adapt to the new biomechanics.

At Kensington Square Physiotherapy, our therapists can help you with your shoe shopping decisions. Book an appointment to have your gait analyzed and we can help you with shopping tips.

We can also assess your foot for custom-made orthotics. Did you know that you can get a pair of shoes from a wide selection of running and walking shoes with your purchase of custom-made orthotics? Come on in or call us with any questions!

(Source: Prevention of Running Injuries by Blaise Dubois, B.Sc, P.T., RCAMT, SPD)