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Finding the Right Running Shoe

Size, fit and type of running shoe are factors that will impact your running experience

Running Shoes

Running is a great form of exercise and a low-cost sport you can do anywhere. While you don’t need to spend a lot of money on equipment or gym memberships, one area you may want to invest in is quality footwear.

“Having a running shoe that fits you well and provides proper support is important,” says podiatrist Edward Schwartz, DPM, with Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute. “Not only will it improve your running performance, it also can reduce the likelihood of injuries like blisters, shin splints and plantar fasciitis.”

Finding the right running shoe may seem like an overwhelming prospect equivalent to finding a needle in a haystack. Kate Egging, with Aardvark Sports Shop in Bethlehem, Pa., has some tips to help you find the right shoe and the best fit. Aardvark Sports Shop is a sponsor of the Bethlehem Running Festival along with Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute.

Not all shoes are the same

Egging says it’s important to realize not all running shoes are created equally. There are thousands of running shoes available from daily trainers to trail shoes. She recommends knowing your needs before you start looking. For example, if you run on treadmills or roads, you shouldn’t buy a shoe designed for trail running.

She also emphasizes the importance of knowing your size. “If you aren’t sure what size you are, get measured. Typically running shoes run about a half-size larger than a regular shoe,” Egging says.

If you don’t find a shoe you love right away, don’t be discouraged. Egging says it may take a few tries for you to find a shoe you really like. She also says while a new runner may only need a daily trainer, seasoned runners often have a few shoes in rotation to cover everything from easy runs to race day runs.

The right fit

While you might be drawn to a certain type of running shoe because of the way it looks, it’s important to make sure the shoe you choose fits well. Egging has a trick to make sure you find the right fit.

“There should be about a thumb’s width of room at the end of the toe box. Some people have a hard time adjusting to having some space, but the proper fit will truly make a difference,” she says.

While many new runners assume that blisters or foot pain are par for the course when they buy new shoes, Egging says they are often signs your shoes aren’t the right size or width. Running shoes that fit properly do not need to be broken in.

If you have never been fitted for running shoes before, Egging says there are many benefits to shopping in a store that specializes in running, like Aardvark does. To get the most accurate measurements, some specialty retailers, like Aardvark, offer a 3D scan of your foot. You also may find locations that perform a gait analysis to check for pressure points, pronation and irregularities. This helps determine the best shoe type and whether you would benefit from inserts.

“We always have your best interest in mind. We want happy feet and happy runners, and we especially want to see you cross the finish line on race day” Egging says.

Your Guide to Running Safely

Your Guide to Running Safely

You have questions about running, Lehigh Valley Health Network experts have the answers. Whether you are an avid runner or just starting out, LVHN has everything you need to train safely and improve your performance.

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