Thursday, December 23, 2010

Buying the Correct Running Shoe Type and Size

Atlanta has plenty of brick and mortar retail stores and there are even more places on the web where one can buy running shoes.  One thing that initially concerned me about buying shoes online was not knowing exactly what shoe type and size was right for my foot. 

Over the years my shoe buying experiences have included a trip to a shoe manufacturer's store in Buckhead where I left with a pair of shoes that never felt right.  Then I made a trip to a shoe store in Lenox Square Mall where I bought two pairs of shoes.  The first pair, the shoes I tried on, were the correct size.  The second pair, which were the exact same shoe, was a different size.  I have to blame myself for not checking.  During a more recent trip to a local sporting goods store the saleperson seemed to know less about shoes than I did.  I left with a pair of Asics GT-2140 stability control shoes.  That was the final straw.  I was going to take the purchase of my next pair of running shoes much more seriously, unlike the purchase of most of my other attire which magically appears in my closet!

I decided to find out for myself what my correct running shoe size is and vowed not to waiver from that assessment when I brought my next pair.  What makes my situation worse is that most brick and mortar retail stores simply don't carry my size.  I have hobbit feet, they're short and wide. 

He's how I found my correct running shoe size for once and for all! 

My quest for podiatric knowledge started online and pretty much ended there too.  I used the Road Runner Sports shoe category and foot size charts as well as the chart below to assess the width of my foot which I also found online.  I don't know why I couldn't find a foot width chart that includes 2E and 4E sizes.








U.S. Men's Shoe Size
C Narrow
D Medium
E Wide


6
3.3"
3.5"
3.7"


6.5
3.3"
3.6"
3.8"


7
3.4"
3.6"
3.8"


7.5
3.4"
3.7"
3.9"


8
3.5"
3.8"
3.9"


8.5
3.6"
3.8"
4.0"


9
3.6"
3.9"
4.1"


9.5
3.7"
3.9"
4.1"


10
3.8"
4.0"
4.2"


10.5
3.8"
4.1"
4.3"


11
3.9"
4.1"
4.3"


11.5
3.9"
4.2"
4.4"


12
4.0"
4.3"
4.4"


12.5
4.1"
4.3"
4.5"


13
4.1"
4.4"
4.6"


13.5
4.2"
4.4"
4.8"


14
4.2
4.5"
4.9"


14.5
4.3
4.6"
4.9"


14.5
4.3
4.6"
5"

Shoes come in 3 categories; Neutral, Stability and Motion Control.  Road Runner Sports breaks down these categories into two or three sub-categories depending upon a runner's gender, weight, foot length and width, and the number of miles run weekly.

To find which shoe category my feet are in I need to know my weight which is about 135 lbs and the amount of miles I run weekly which is about 25 to 30.  I know,  I should be running more!  The other things I need to know is whether my feet have a high, average or low arch, my foot length and width.  With the first 2 questions answered I set forth measuring my foot.  To find my arch I removed my shoe and sock from my right foot.  I used my right foot because both of my feet are the same size.  I wet the bottom of my foot with water using a spray bottle.  Putting your foot under the sink faucet works just as well.  I placed a section of newspaper on the floor.  In my case the floor is wooden but a low pile carpeted floor works just as well.  I placed my wet foot on the newspaper.  I removed my foot from the newspaper to see an imprint of my foot.  I compared my foot imprint to the shoe category chart and found that I have a high arch.  That information combined with my weekly miles run, and my weight to the sub-categories on the Road Runner Sport chart and found that a Neutral or Neutral Plus shoe is the best type running shoe for my feet.

Placing my wet foot on newspaper to gat an arch imprint
The imprint of my arch
Measuring my foot length
Measuring my foot width
What size do I need?  I printed the Road Runner Sports size chart, taped the 2 sheets together, and folded the edge.  I placed the size chart against a door jam in my house than placed my foot on the chart.  I marked the chart with a pencil.  The chart has my foot length at about a 7.  I added about 1/2" for room in the toe box which puts my foot at an 8.5.  I removed my foot and placed it on the width gauge.  Again, I marked the guage with a pencil.  Accounting for any foot swelling and the thickness of my Asics Kayano 2 socks I decided that my best fitting running shoes are Neutral, size 8.5, and width 4E.  My latest pair of shoes are Asics Cumulus 12's and New Balance 758's.   The NB758's are the best I could do for racing shoes since minimalist shoes don't come in 4E widths.  As a test I purchased a pair of size 8 4E Asics Cumulus 11's.  I knew they were too small after my first run in them.  That 1/8 of an inch can mean the difference in keeping and losing a toe nail.

I'm sure there are other places on the web where shoe fit information can be found.  I think that the resouces at Road Runner Sports are easiest for me to use.  Their website shoe inventory culling  features make finding the right shoe easy too.

Disclaimer:  I have perfect hobbit feet!

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