Buying new running shoes can be overwhelming. You stand and stare at the big wall of shoes, your gaze shifting left to right and back again, up and down and back again. Where to start? How to choose? Here are six pieces of advice to help ensure that the shoe indeed fits!
1. Go to a store that’s reputable and has a knowledgeable staff.
If you need shoes specifically for running, head to a running specialty shop; they will be well-equipped for your needs. If you need a different type of sports shoe or aren’t sure what type is best, then go to a store that has a wider selection. Wherever you go, the staff should be trained to determine the right size and the right type of support your feet need. If you feel you are not getting top service — don’t settle for less. Get help from another employee, or go to another store. Staff insight is pretty important, here, so you don’t want a staffer who’s just punching the clock. (They should also be more than prepared to go to the back room time and time again to get you another size or style.) If you go to a specific brand store and don’t find the perfect fit, then try another brand.
2. Know what you will use the shoes for.
Know the types of activities you plan to use your shoes for. Let the sales associate know so that (s)he can recommend the right support system. If you aren’t sure? A cross trainer will provide the best support for a variety of activities. If later you find yourself focusing on one type of activity, you can get a pair that is sport specific.
3. Don’t let brand names and trendy colours influence you.
Buy based on fit — your feet will thank you. You may need to try on several pairs. You may need to re-try some pairs and different sizes. Just take your time. Your feet will let you know when you’ve found the right pair. If you are concerned about brands and trends, and the right-fitting shoes don’t meet your standards, you can make up for it with the rest of your wardrobe.
4. Wear your workout socks (and orthotics, if you have some).
Have your socks with you so you can get the best feel when you try on new shoes. If you have socks of different thickness, bring the ones you use the most, or the thicker ones — you’re better off having a little extra wiggle room than squished toes.
5. Shop later in the day.
Your feet will swell during the day. If you try on and buy shoes first thing in the morning, they may feel a little snug or even uncomfortable at the end of the day.
6. Test out the shoes.
Walk around or do some forward stepping lunges or jumping jacks or any type of moves that you will do in your new shoes. Some stores have treadmills. Hop on and give them a go for two or three minutes. You’ll be able to feel if something isn’t right. Before you buy, make sure you can exchange/return the shoes; most stores will allow it as long as the shoes haven’t been worn outdoors and still have their box. So, take them for a trial run at the gym or to your favourite fitness class. If they’re not right, take them back! Your shoes are an investment for your feet, your safety, and your fitness.
Katya Mohsen is a personal trainer with more than 10 years of experience in fitness and sports training. Catch her practical fitness advice Thursdays on Slice.ca.