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Shoe fitting to foot shape

We often receive emails and phone calls asking which is the ‘Best shoe for such and such?’ That can be difficult to answer as so much comes down to the fit of the shoe to the shape of the foot. Yes by asking questions the process can be narrowed down greatly. Yet ultimately it is all about the fit and how the shoe runs. So if you do call and we ask for a picture of your feet, don’t be surprised. Here Stu explains why.

Shoe Fit… we see it far too often where it has gone wrong.
To get it right is like it some sort of ‘dark art’ that has been lost in the skill of helping someone to find a comfy pair of shoes. It gives retailers a bad name, a profession that used to be honourable and born of skill and ensures you offer the best options to fulfil someone’s need or requirement.

Shoe to foot fit is one of those skills.  Yet we continually see feet that are spilling out of the side of a shoe or with not enough room between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe. We see high insteps that are just leaving laces and uppers straining.  It’s not just a matter of width either.

Foot Type. No, More the Shape.
There are long thin feet, there are those where there is a curve to the outside of the foot and in some cases ‘banana feet’.  Feet that are triangular in shape, short feet that are wide. High arches, low arches, high instep with a low arch. It is endless.

Ladies feet tend to be narrower, especially at the heel. Children’s feet are another proposition as they tend to grow quickly, usually stopping at around 15. They change as they grow and develop.

Flat feet (low arches) despite common belief are usually less problematic than those with high arches. Flexible feet and those with less mobile feet also have to be considered. These can definitely be more problematic, although not always.

Ultimately, a running shoe is there to aid the runner, primarily with cushioning and traction. The upper to be reasonably comfortable. The shoe is your foot’s new ‘ground’, at least that is what it is telling your brain. Therefore a shoe has to provide a good quality well fitting platform. In the same way, we want to find the most perfect, comfortable running shoe it does sometimes have to be a compromise. Unfortunately, it is just the way of it.

Yet, before we start that debate of overpronation, supination, heel or forefoot striking we have to first look at running technique and posture and running stability. That is a whole new conversation that is the next step above the fundamental of ‘Does the shoe fit?’

Three Shoes designed for the same use in running. Each is considered ideal for light-weight training or for faster paced run days. Each will suit a different foot shape.[/caption]

Shoe Fitting

The fitting and choosing process has to be a two way street. In offering a shoe, feedback on the fit and feel is just as important in offering shoes that are likely to fit the shape of the foot. Ultimately, it is up to the person trying on the shoe to make the final decision taking account of the advice received, the fit and how the shoe runs.  There will always be occasions, say with high levels of mobility in a runner, that it can be extremely difficult to advise and has to come down to what the person wearing the shoe feels is right, perhaps instinctively.

In fact, instinct, or the fact that one shoe feels easier to run in or is just feeling light on the foot is enough. Job done. Just make sure the fit is a good one, it will definitely help in the long run.

NB We are lucky at Accelerate. We work with class leading and highly considered podiatrists. Physios that believe in human movement, plus coaches that are extremely capable at working with runners on their technique and stability. It is a mix that goes into every person’s training in order to start helping you select your next pair of shoes. It is not governed by the latest trend or directives from a head office, it is all about running and your movement and the fit, comfort and ease of running in the shoe you choose.

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