08 Aug The Right Shoe Fit
Shoe fit is one of the most important yet undervalued aspects in the selection of a running shoe. The running shoe market has intensified over the last 20 years with shoe brands constantly touting the latest in footwear technology in the hopes of improved comfort, performance and injury prevention. Footwear is the main interface between the foot and the environment. It alters input signals, altering forces from the ground to the foot and further up the kinetic chain. Correctly fitted and prescribed shoes suitable for the demands placed on the body is vital.
There are some basic principles a consumer can equip themselves with to assist the fitting process.
Feet and Shoes are different
The foot is a unique and complex structure , with numerous bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Feet come in many shapes and sizes, and identifying these characteristics in which make their feet unique can assist the fitting process. For example a wider forefoot or a higher arch profile may be better suited to certain footwear over others. Variability in size, style and brands do exist. A size 9 in one brand may be slightly different to another. Asics model shoes are known to be on the narrower width shoe where as New Balance models are on wider end of the spectrum Most companies make one standard width for each size, but others offer additional widths in the same size.
Your foot size can still change as you go through adulthood so occasionally re-assessing your true size is beneficial. Generally a thumb nail space gap between the end of shoe and your foot is a good starting point whilst making sure the shoe accommodates your whole foot without too much overall tightness. In most cases one foot will be longer than the other and it is important to fit to the longest foot. Go by what fits, not what size the shoe is.
The correct size shoe for you is the one that fits and that is not always going to be the same size every time. The way the shoe is constructed will ultimately determine how the shoe fits and it is important to consider what brands and styles of shoe that have worked well in the past.
It is important to try a few different sizes, brands and models for comparison.
Comfort and Injury
Athletes / sportsman of all levels place great importance of the potential benefits of their footwear. At current standing, there is little data to support various design features and technology for improved performance and injury reduction. There is a lot we still need to understand before making bold statements on the effects of footwear in running and sports. In running shoes, research supports comfort being one of the most important principles that should guide your shoe fitting and selection. If the fit is sub-optimal, it won’t be as comfortable, and may cause various problems from annoying blisters due to friction to more substantial injury such as an inflamed joint from an area of the shoe being too constrictive.
There is no perfect shoe, the human foot is unique and ultimately the focus should be on finding what works for the individual at hand. People with a previous history of foot injury and/or atypical foot shapes may require a more guided fitting and shoe selection advice and as such are recommended to seek consultation with our sports podiatry team.