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Sports shoes – finding the right fit for you

Follow these tips when it comes to trying on sports shoes and you won’t go far wrong. Wearing athletic shoes that are comfortable and fit your feet can help prevent injuries and blisters and will help you stick to your exercise programme.

1 Think carefully about what you are going to use your trainers for – it’s important to make sure they are fit for purpose and suitable for your sport. Even within a discipline there can be choices to make, for instance between a road running and a trail running shoe.

2 Know or find out your pronation type. We use FootDisc which looks at your arch and leg axis and use this information as a guide to which shoes will suit you best.

Pronation is the way the foot rolls inward when you walk or run. It’s part of the natural movement that helps the lower leg deal with shock. Some people pronate more (overpronation) or less (underpronation or supination) than others.

Most people will be neutral pronators. If you underpronate you should choose a neutral shoe with plenty of cushioning to reduce the risk of shock-related injuries such as stress fractures.

If you overpronate try a guidance, support or structured cushioning shoe to distribute the impact of running more effectively.

If possible bring your old athletic shoes with you as the wear on them will tell a story even before we look at your gait.

Footdisc new

3 Have both feet measured in width and length on the FootDisc to ensure a good fit. For most people, both feet are not the same shoe size and often people have wider or narrower feet than the ‘norm’. Keep an open mind with your shoe size and remember your foot will need more room the more you exercise or run.

4 If possible, try shoes on in the afternoon. The size of your feet can increase up to half a size during the course of a single day of standing or walking because of swelling.

5 Try on shoes with the socks you will exercise in. We will always have some spare pairs in the shop so we can replicate how you will be using them. We also sell socks specifically designed for running and cycling which wick moisture away and reduce friction so there’s less chance of blisters.

6 Think about weight – your weight and the shoe’s weight. If you are a bigger built runner then you may need a shoe with a lot of support. If you are clocking up the miles then, generally speaking, the lighter your shoes are the better.

7 If the shoe does not feel right when you try it on, DON’T buy it. It’s a mistake to think the shoe will ‘give’ in time and magically contour to your foot.

Walk around the store to check for comfort and cushioning. Try to simulate athletic movements and don’t be afraid to jog or jump around!

Stand on your tiptoes to make sure that your heel does not lift. Ask yourself if the shoe’s arch support matches up with your foot’s arch.

Check that the lace holes on either side of the shoe are at least an inch but not more than two inches apart. Make sure the front of the shoe is wide enough so that your toes can spread. And make sure your longest toe is about the width of a thumbnail from the end of the shoe by pressing down with your thumb.

8 Finally, remember you should replace your shoes roughly every six months or 500 exercising miles. The midsole usually wears out first, so don’t look at the outer sole as an indicator of use.

Over time your shoes will lose their shock absorption making you more prone to picking up an injury. So don’t run your shoes – and yourself – into the ground, be kind to your feet instead and they will reward you in terms of fitness and performance!

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