Shoes & Gear

5 Secrets to Finding the Perfect Shoe

5 Secrets to Finding the Perfect Shoe

As a person who has dedicated the last 13 years of his life to helping runners of all ages and abilities find the right shoe, I’ve come to discover that there are 5 aspects of footwear you should focus on.

5. How you run can help determine the best shoe for you. If you are  a heavy heel-striker, you probably want something to help cushion and protect you from the running surface. If you are a heel striker and want to improve the way you run, look for something with a lower heel drop (a more minimal-type of shoe). Having more than one pair of shoes can be ideal for different distances, running surfaces and training objectives.

4. Toss your preconceived notions of size out the window. Every shoe size is totally unique to the individual shoe.  If you ever look in the closet of a runner with a ton of different shoes, you’ll most likely notice that many of the shoes are different sizes. Embrace the differences between shoes and fit…your feet will thank you.

3. Stand on one foot. The perfect shoe should provide a platform beneath your foot to help balance and stabilize your foot during that fraction of a second it spends on the ground when you run. If you stand on one foot and try to grab your arch, can you feel your foot overhanging the base of the shoe? Ideally, you want your foot to sit on top of the midsole of the shoe. If your foot is hanging off the midsole you are causing undue torque and stress on your foot and lower leg.

2. Touch your toes. The way a shoe fits your foot is the single most important aspect to focus on. Observe the natural shape of your foot. Does the shape of the shoe match the shape of your foot? In other words: does the widest/longest part of your foot fit within the widest/longest part of the shoe? It should. Reach down and touch the shoe. You want space between your toes and the end of the shoe and some room between the edge of your foot and the side of the shoe. The more time/distance you run in a shoe the larger you want the shoe to accommodate any foot swelling.

1. The very last piece of advice I can give is to find a locally-owned running shop that truly specializes in shoe fitting and product knowledge. They can help you work through the criteria for finding the perfect shoe and give you all kinds of insights about different shoes and your individual objectives.

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This post was written by:

- who has written 2 posts on Trail Running Club.

Nathan Hohenstein owns Tortoise & Hare Sports, a running specialty store dedicated to helping runners get the right gear by incorporating a cutting-edge shoe-fitting process with a friendly, welcoming store environment. He has run many ultras and trail runs and loves helping out at local races.

Tortoise & Hare Sports Glendale Arizona

A few highlights from the past few years:
• 2nd place finish San Tan Scramble 50K 2011
• 2nd place finish Man versus Horse 50 Mile 2010
• 5th place finish Martian 1/2 Marathon 2005

• Certified Good Form Running Instructor
• Certified Pedorthist
• Certified Shoe Fitter
• Runner's World Wear Tester

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