How Running Shoes Should Fit

Finding a pair of running shoes can be hard. Not only do you have to gauge your size yourself, but the majority of people have to order online due to a lockdown without trying it on.

However, outlined here are the steps you can take to pick the right fit of the shoe while learning what type will benefit you the most depending on what exercise you participate in.

Here’s a run-down on what you should know to prepare your online search order for a new pair of outdoor shoes to fit as snug as you need.

Right fit for running shoes

How to Find Running Shoes That Fit

Below is a list of the top tier ways for athletes looking for information on a guide to finding the right pair of athletic shoes to flatter your feet properly.

  • Measure your foot size
  • Follow a conversion chart
  • Assess size and fit
  • Minimalist vs maximalist
  • Heel space
  • Mid-foot
  • Toe space
  • Wear insoles
  • Laces

Measure Your Foot Size

Find a flat surface and place a piece of paper on the ground. Step onto the surface, while wearing a sock you would wear in your running shoes.

Grab a measuring tape or a ruler and align it to the horizontal height of your foot. Hold the device and use a pen to trace the back end of the heel. Mark the number down.

Do the same steps with the width of your heel. These numbers are your shoe size, and remember if it’s leaning closer to a higher number, use that to ensure enough toe space at the front.

If you want the most accurate results, forget these steps and buy a Foot Measuring Device on Amazon. It includes two USA standard size scales to hop on to see your size.

Foot Measurement Device Shoe Size...
  • Package Includes: You will receive 2 pieces of foot measuring devices, one suitable for kids, and another for adults women/men. 1 piece of sewing tape measure, practical tools can help you measure the correct size of your feet.
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  • Easy to Use: First, place your heel(wearing socks) against the curved end of the shoe measurement device. Second, make sure your toes are lying flat on the device to get the exact length. Finally, the actual feet length is where your longest toe touches the horizontal sizing line.
  • High-Quality Material: The shoe feet measuring ruler is made of ABS plastic material, durable and not easy to deform, can be used for a long time. Lightweight and convenient to carry, easy to store without taking much space.
  • Buying Right Size Shoes Online: When buying shoes online, it can provide accurate measurements, and help you buy the shoes in proper sizes, avoid buying shoes of wrong sizes.

Last update on 2022-01-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Size Guide

Each company’s side guide can slightly differ from one another as manufacturers use different ways to create their running shoe sizes. However, knowing your correct numeral dimensions can aid the search process.

Find an online shoe conversion chart to get the appropriate size of running shoes in your country. It will be a more accurate fit if you can find the chart on the website you’re buying shoes from.

Simply match your measurements of the height and width to the numbered chart and associated size.

You can read reviews to tell if other people your size had any problems or if they fit them properly. Sometimes people will tell you to size slightly up or down, such as a half size so it’s important to check the review section on the site.

How to Assess Size and Fit

Studies showed that wearing shoes that are too large, even 10mm larger than proper foot size could increase foot pressure, vertical ground reaction force (GRF), and muscle fatigue.

Further studies showed that force increased linearly through light jogging indoors, opposed to walking or fast running. This means that it’s important to have snugger running shoes for faster speeds, especially outdoors where the ground is likely to be more uneven than indoor running.

Your shoes should feel snug in the heel and midfoot, with enough breathing room for your toes. Test this out by extending your toes to the roof of the material and down towards the platform.

If it’s hard to move, or you feel pressure weighing against your toes, it’s probably too tight and can lead to muscle damage if worn-out running.

Another great way to assess running shoes’ size is by putting your thumb just after the tip of your toes. If there’s a bit of room to press down comfortably, that’s a good sign the shoes are a good fit.

How Minimalist Shoes Should Fit

Minimalist shoes fit lightweight (<8 oz) and are highly flexible with an expanded toe box, no heightened heel (heel-toe drop <5 cm), little or no padding, and minimal artificial support (i.e gel air gel compartments).

If you can extend your toes up or bend your toes like in a downward dog yoga pose, they should be fitting you just fine.

The problem with shoe flexibility is that it lacks support for more intense workouts or runs that conventional shoes obtain.

Findings of a study concluded that minimalist footwear may place runners at increased risk of chronic injury, as peak acceleration and loading rate was significantly higher in minimalist shoes than maximalists.

It is recommended to only wear minimalist shoes while on a walk, or light run, as recreational runners have been observed to become injured due to wearing minimalist shoes with less support on the ankle, mid-foot, and heel.

For extra protection and snugness in a minimalist shoe, wear a heel pad or an orthotic. These should complement your minimalist shoe by giving your feet breathing room without it being too snug. A tip, wear a bit bigger of a shoe to fit the shoe insert if it’s thick.

Studies showed that annually, 25% or more runners are at an increasingly higher risk of injury, so it’s important to avoid minimalist shoes while running long distances. Surprisingly, maximalist shoes aren’t the best running shoes for long-distance runs either. Traditional shoes are.

Minimalist Running Shoes

How Maximalist Shoes Should Fit

Maximalist shoes fit snug with a built-in cushion. It should feel like you can’t flex your foot as easily and will hug your ankle a bit more from the higher design on the back of the heel.

The benefits of research on the maximalist showed that the cushion footwear decreases plantar loading under the total foot and forefoot during running.

Maximalist shoes could be best considered when the goal is to reduce forces and pressures under the foot during any running activity. They are an ideal choice for light runners’ or trainers due to the support of the cushioning on the mid-foot and ankle.

Studies showed through statistics significant decreases were seen in all plantar pressure characteristics under the entire foot and forefoot in the maximalist shoe when compared to the minimalist shoe.

However, further studies showed that more cushioning may actually stiffen the leg during prolonged leg exertion, compared to running in traditional athletic shoes and can amplify, rather than decrease impact loading.

The bottom line is wearing a conventional shoe with an orthotic or insole is best for long-distance runners to avoid injury at all costs.

Amazon carries minimalist, maximalist, traditional shoes.

No products found.

Heel Tips

While putting your foot into the shoe, hold the back of the shoe. Then, see if you can raise your heel to check for any slipping of the shoe. If the shoe is slipping off, it’s too big.

You should feel little to no movement with the right type of base for your heel.

If need be, wear an extra layer of socks to ensure the shoe fits better.

You can insert a heel pad, which is a type of shoe insole to increase shock absorption and to distribute your body weight to protect your knee joints. It also helps with heel pain relief providing a cushion for support.

The pad should feel comfortable, and not too tight. Your foot should feel enough support to slightly raise your foot a couple of centimeters.

Here is a video on how to properly insert a heel pad in your running shoe.

Gel Heel Seats - Platar Fasciitis Treatment

Amazon has a heel pad for any running shoe.

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Last update on 2022-01-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Midfoot Tips

Studies showed that the vertical impact peak pressure increased from softer midsoles on a runner’s foot. This can lead to apparent knee joint stiffness especially from soft midsoles for female participants.

The results from this research show that the shoe midsole hardness may have an effect on vertical impact force peaks. This could be connected to the hardness of the landing during physical activity of leg movement.

So, medium midsole cushioning is ideal for women’s and men’s shoes to fit properly during exertion.

To test the medium-hard midsole, push your foot down firmly – if it sinks too much, the shoe is too soft and can harm your knees. Proper medium cushioning should feel comfortable and firm enough for protection against muscle damage.

shoe design

The tongue of the shoe should feel snug enough to protect the front layer of the foot, from the laces. If it’s too loose, tighten and pull the tongue slightly out of the socket so it doesn’t slip down.

It can be a hindrance when you’re out for a good run or doing any other activity and the tongue of the shoe won’t stay in place. So, it’s vital to ensure the cushioning stays put.

How Should Laces Fit?

Knowledge of the location of compression distribution is useful for tongue and lacing constructions. This can improve comfort in running shoes while maintaining stability.

Studies showed that seven-eyelet lacings on runners can improve foot-shoe coupling without increasing peak dorsal pressures on the ankle.

To tighten a seven eyelet lacing, start at the top of the shoe and pull each laces excess underneath each other until it drags out at the bottom holes to tie. Ensure your laces are tied in a snug, and supportive way for the top of your foot enough to feel a bit of pressure.

On your mid-foot, your laces can be tightened even more for extra support to not allow room at the top for your feet to move.

Amazon carries laces your present laces are worn out.

2 Pairs Oval Athletic...
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  • If you want to get the most suitable length, please measure the length of the old shoelace.
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Last update on 2022-01-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Insoles for Flat Feet

Flatfoot malformation is having a lack of foot arch support and unsatisfactory flexibility of the plantar ligaments and tendons. Flat feet can lead people to have major difficulty in participating in prolonged walking or running because of the lack of the load-bearing structure of the foot arch.

There is also less shock absorption support from the lack of arch in the foot that can be dangerous for outdoor running.

Wearing foot orthoses can alleviate the symptoms of medial tibial stress [16] and significantly reduce the pain in the lower limbs [17]. Furthermore, they can alleviate the symptoms of lower back pain [18].

Orthotic insoles showed a 75.5% symptom improvement of extreme leg internal rotation, leg-length inconsistency, patellofemoral pain syndrome, and plantar fasciitis symptoms [20].

Previous studies have shown that arch-support insoles can reduce the peak vertical ground reaction force (GRF) in the heel by 6.9% in the body mass and expand the peak vertical ground reaction force (GRF) by 7% in the body mass [21].

Insoles can benefit ankle joint to straighten them for people with flat feet.

Find an insole with a low, yet supportive arch. A hard arch that is too high can create painful movement. A too soft of an arch cannot provide enough support – so aim for a medium width and thickness.

Heel stabilization cups increase padding support underneath your heel to increase shock absorption.

Amazon has some of the best insoles for flat feet here.

Dr. Scholl's Athletic series,...
  • Designed for people who participate in a range of athletic activities where they experience muscle fatigue in the feet and legs
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  • Fits running shoes, court shoes, cross trainers & sneakers. Trim to fit shoe size

Last update on 2022-07-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

More Tips for Fit

If your shoes are worn out, you’ll likely see midsole wrinkles creasing the material. This isn’t good as the support is lacking and it can rip. This implies that the shock absorption doesn’t work well, so it’s time to find a better pair that will fit you perfectly.

If you have been wearing insoles, and the insole is worn out, you’ll know if the foam is deeply compressed. If you feel any lack of support from your current insole and want to be sure you protect your body from further strains, check out Amazon’s foot inserts.

Arch Support Insoles Men & Women by...
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  • ✅ LOW PROFILE, LIGHTWEIGHT, ULTRA THIN SOLES: Physix flat foot orthopedic insoles are more supportive than thick cushion insoles and won't alter the way your shoe fits. Our plantar fasciitis inserts allow more room in the toe box to ensure comfy fit in most shoe types: boots, booties, slippers, dress shoes, running shoes, sneakers.
  • ✅ ERGONOMIC, NON SLIP DESIGN: Physix orthotic insoles are meticulously designed to reduce pain & discomfort, with semi-rigid arch support & heel cup for added support & stability while on the go. Plus each shoe insole has a non-slip heel to hold the insert securely in place throughout the day!
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Last update on 2022-01-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Wrapping Up

Selecting the right fit of the shoe is easier when you are knowledgeable about the factors that contribute to it. Such as what type of shoe you need, the kind of insole, or even how your shoe’s tongue should fit.

Whether you are a runner, a trainer, or someone who favours cardio, these tips are beneficial for you, to prevent any injuries that the wrong size of the shoe could give you.

The little things matter, such as how much cushioning is appropriate for the type of physical activity you endure. Or, the amount of snugness the shoe feels on your midsole to your toes.

Let us know in the comments if you liked these tips or learned anything new about keeping your feet’s physical health in check.

About Gaurav Dhir

Gaurav Dhir, B. Tech, PGDCM is an engineer and MBA by training. A fitness aficionado, Gaurav follows a strict diet and exercise regimen to keep himself vigorously active. He loves playing sports and being outdoors. Gaurav is responsible for the health and wellness of 4 generations including his son, elderly parents and very elderly grandparents.