The Importance of Getting Fitted: Stop Running in the Wrong Shoes!
Tips From Fort Worth Running Company
Let’s tackle a common misconception. Proper shoe fittings are not reserved for those who are classified as “elite” runners. The casual jogger, walker, or general workout enthusiast can all benefit from wearing the correct fitting shoe, but the correct shoe doesn’t always make itself easy to find. Going through the correct steps to choose the right shoe can make the difference between a pleasant workout experience, and hobbling home frustrated.
What most people don’t realize is that no two shoes are made alike. There may be 8 to 10 different options within one brand, and they are all geared towards a specific type of foot or cushion preference. A consumer’s hesitancy towards a specific brand because of a poor previous experience could be because they were in the wrong model rather than that brand not working for them.
Furthermore, there are different shoes for every activity. Think: as an avid runner you would want a different setup than a bootcamp fanatic. Someone doing Crossfit almost certainly requires a vastly different shoe experience than the nurse who is on their feet walking for 12 hours. That’s where your proper fitting comes in. Getting fit for a pair of shoes ensures that you have the best setup for your feet to maximize whatever activity you’re doing in them. With that in mind, let’s touch on some basic concepts to gather information from the foot.
- Measurement of both feet and arches: A measurement is one of the simplest ways to ensure a shoe will be comfortable, yet most people have no idea what their true size really is. It’s important to measure both feet, as it is more common to have two different sized feet rather than both the same. One measurement isn’t enough though! Regular sizing is crucial because feet change sizes throughout adulthood from physical activity, pregnancy, weight gain, etc. One’s shoe size can increase up to a full size even though the rest of your body is not growing anymore. When your running shoes are used to train for long distance races you want to give yourself a little extra wiggle room due to the amount of swelling that can occur. Save those toenails! Remember, the size that you wear in one brand might be different than the size you wear in another because of different manufacturing practices. The fit specialist at your local running shoe store will be familiar with the sizing of each brand and will be able to size you properly.
- Foot/Arch scan: A foot/arch scan allows a more in depth view into your situation. This can help determine the structure of your feet, the type of arch, and how the pressure is distributed on the feet. All of these metrics allow your fit specialist to understand the foot issues you may be having or prevent future foot ailments. Sometimes just a shoe isn’t enough for certain feet, and additional support may be required through an arch support. Additional support is especially common when an injury is present, and the foot needs to be given plenty of stability to heal. Think: plantar fasciitis, neuromas, etc.
Advances in technology have made it possible to dive even deeper into analysis by offering 3D images, volume measurements, and pronation axis metrics. With all this technology being offered it is crazy not utilize it to its full extent, so that the best possible fit is achieved.
- Slow motion video gait analysis: The treadmill analysis is an extension of the foot scanner and helps provide useful gait information for the runner or walker. This feature helps your fit specialist further understand the movement of each individual foot. Over-pronation (collapsing to the inside) or supination (rolling to the outside) is common information gained from the treadmill analysis. Something as simple as running on your toes vs landing on your heels can greatly differ the type of shoe that will work for a specific runner. All of this information should not be passed over, and can be vital in determining support, cushioning, and foot placement within the shoe. Injuries may be a part of an active lifestyle, but a proper fit can certainly minimize the possibility!
- Now what? It’s time to find your fit! After gathering the analysis information it is time to find your fit! Information from the measurement, foot scan and slow-motion video analysis will allow your fit specialist to recommend multiple shoe options as well as the correct inserts. They will provide you the options, and it is up to you to decide what feels best on your foot. Every brand will feel a little bit different because they all use different technology. It’s important that you try a few to see what works for your foot. Remember, function over fashion! It’s not what looks best, it’s what feels best that can be the difference between success and frustration.
That’s a lot of information to cover! Yes, there is a lot that goes into finding you the best shoe for your foot, but you don’t have to go through the search alone. Your local specialty running shop will have fit specialists that are well versed in fittings, and will be able to help make the proper decision. It’s better to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to your footwear, so get to your local running store today to take care of those feet!
Head over to Fort Worth Running Company to get fitted for your next pair of running shoes!