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Shoes - How To Select the Correct Size?

Rooster
Joined: 07 Jul 2009
Posts: 15
North Carolina, United States
Posted: Fri 17 Jul 2009 02:59 pm GMT   topTop
My feet have been serving me well but due to four surgeries on them, I have to be very careful to find the precise fit. Too many times I have bought a pair of shoes and after running in them a few times discovered that I should have selected a half size smaller or larger.

Any advice on how to get the correct size the first time?

Thanks.
ajj
Joined: 28 Nov 2006
Posts: 35
Arkansas, United States
Posted: Fri 17 Jul 2009 03:39 pm GMT   topTop
No.
Sad to say, there is no way to walk out of the store knowing you have a good fit. Only some miles will tell you. Just a sad fact of life. At least in my experience.

OK, I'll contradict myself and try anyway. I do best when I find a shoe that grips the sides of the foot but still has a roomy toebox. Inov-8 fills the bill for me, but it's very personal and tons of variables. And that's before we even talk about any of the issues other than fit.

That's all I got. Maybe someone will help us both.
Rooster
Joined: 07 Jul 2009
Posts: 15
North Carolina, United States
Posted: Wed 22 Jul 2009 10:52 pm GMT   topTop
Well thanks ajj, that helps some. Misery loves company.

That is good advice about gripping the sides.

A friend has convinced me, as far as the length goes, you should have one index finger width dead space between the tip of the longest toe and the toe of the shoe.

On the width, of course you want it just right, but what problems do a slightly too narrow shoe cause? A slightly too wide shoe?

I once had a painful hard spot build up in the ball of my foot. It seemed to be caused by a shoe that was slightly too tight. But I am not sure.
backcountryrunner
Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 191
Utah, United States
Posted: Thu 23 Jul 2009 03:42 am GMT   topTop
I agree about shoe length - at least it has always worked out for me: with your foot slid all the way forward in the shoe, you should be able to slide at least one finger behind your heel (between heel and back of shoe). I'd call that a minimum. In my current shoes I can slide two fingers side by side. My shoe size measurement is 9.5 but I always get size 10 - 11 depending on manufacturer, and (most important) how it *feels*. For me, one size bigger seems to work the best most of the time.

I'm super picky -- I spend a lot of time in the store walking around, jogging a little, trying to push my foot forward to mimic a downhill slope (foot shouldn't slide if you've laced correctly), trying on different models, imagining how it'll feel outside the store, and generally sweating the decision :-) Maybe all that helps in the end.

In my opinion, for any trail footwear (including trail running shoes) it's best to err on the side of a bit (only a bit) too large. Squished, cramped toes and too-short shoes are death :-) I love roomy toe-boxes and I'm convinced it helps reduce blisters.

Just my 2c.
Rooster
Joined: 07 Jul 2009
Posts: 15
North Carolina, United States
Posted: Thu 23 Jul 2009 12:22 pm GMT   topTop
Well that is a good 2c. I am currently "sweating" over a pair I am wearing around the house now. I took the 10s home and they have almost two finger widths dead space. The 9.5s had a little bit less than one. I plan to take these 10s over to my father-in-law's house this afternoon and run a mile on his treadmill. I am concerned about looseness in the heel. The heel is OK walking around the house but I will see how it is running on the treadmill before I hit the trail and make the shoes nonreturnable. How tight should the heels be?

I am currently running in some shoes that I know are too big. Large callouses (not blisters) have developed on the outside sides of my big toes. I believe this is because my foot moves in the shoe when running downhill and the movement is rubbing my toes on the inside of the shoe. Is my assumption correct?

BTW, I started duct taping those callouses on my toes and the protection has reduced their size to about one-fourth of their original size.
backcountryrunner
Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 191
Utah, United States
Posted: Fri 24 Jul 2009 06:11 am GMT   topTop
I think ajj has a good summation: it's very personal and there are a lot of variables. So I'd be totally guessing as to exactly why you've developed callouses and guessing about your current shoe decision. Rubbing is of course a reasonable conclusion.

I also should say that my feet are a little wider than most and taller so I'm generally looking for more room vs the other way around. Hence my *own* guidelines about shoe size. Apparently there are a lot of people with feet more narrow and with a lower profile than mine, so they may have the opposite problem.

A comment about the loose heel, though: you may need to look at the lacing. Every decent running shoe has two extra eyelets, behind of the topmost eyelets. Pass the shoelace through that extra eyelet before tying and it'll allow you to snug up the heel area and help prevent your foot sliding forward, while allowing the lacing below to tighten/contract independently. At least, it's helped me. Your mileage may vary :-)

There are also some other lacing tricks like twisting the shoe laces midway up to allow different tightness above and below the twist. Things like that. You can find all kinds of methods online.

Oh, one other thing you might try if your foot is too loose: inserts. I have some PowerStep inserts and they not only help stabilize my stride but also happen to take up considerable space and ought to help position the foot inside the shoe as well.

Between lacing strategies, inserts, and simply wearing in my shoes (doesn't take long though), I've had pretty decent luck.
Rooster
Joined: 07 Jul 2009
Posts: 15
North Carolina, United States
Posted: Fri 24 Jul 2009 05:15 pm GMT   topTop
Lots of good advice. I took the shoes over to my father-in-law's yesterday afternoon and ran on his treadmill. I am now getting comfortable with these shoes and will hit the dirt with them next week.

I did a five-mile trail run this morning. Wore my old shoes. It rained last night and I hate to get a new pair of shoes muddy! Anyone else like that?
kevingoorijan
Joined: 24 Apr 2010
Posts: 5
California, United States
Posted: Sat 24 Apr 2010 07:03 am GMT   topTop
My feet have been serving me well but due to four surgeries on them, I have to be very careful to find the precise fit. Too many times I have bought a pair of shoes and [url=http://www.zbsports.com]smart wool[/url] after running in them a few times discovered that I should have selected a half size smaller or larger.

Any advice on how to get the correct size the first time?

Thanks.
Dude, there is a machine in those shoe shops which will determine the kind of shoe that is best for you.

If you don't mind me asking. What kind of injuries did you get to have those 4 surgeries?


[edited: Wed 28 Apr 2010 10:18 am]
Rooster
Joined: 07 Jul 2009
Posts: 15
North Carolina, United States
Posted: Sat 24 Apr 2010 12:56 pm GMT   topTop
K,

I am not looking for the "type" (pronator, supinator, neutral) of shoe but instead the exact size. I have been on two different "machines" at two different stores. I have a medium arch and a neutral strike and knees and hips line up perfectly, so all I need in a shoe is cushioning and a good fit.

By good fit, I mean the shoe doesn't allow my foot to slide around inside the shoe and rub callouses or blisters and at the same time it is not so tight as to cause problems.

I have worn out two pair of shoes since I wrote the original post in this thread. I went with the 10.0 in a Salomon runner. Now I know the 9.5 would have been a better fit. But I bought a pair of thicker inserts and was able to get very good service out of the 10s. This is the XA Pro 3D Ultra (Such nomenclature! :)) and it has been a great shoe.

However, I am currently shopping for another trail runner with more cushioning than the Salomon. A friend lent me his used pair of New Balance 807 in size 10. I did three strenuous eight-mile runs this week and like the shoe. It has a lot of cushioning.

But now I am back to the original problem. Coming down hills large callouses are rubbing on the outside of my big toes. Size 9.5 will give me a little less than a thumbs width between the end of my toes and the front of the shoe, but I wonder if a size 9.5 would prevent the callouses.

As far as the surgeries, I had a congenital deformity which was one unusually long metatarsal. Over the years it began to cause problems and in 1995 I had surgery to shorten the toe. They cut a knuckle out, threw it away and pinned the end of the toe back on. The doc did a poor job and did a second surgery (free) to make some corrections.

After it completely healed there were still problems and the doc wanted to do a third surgery. I told him before I would go through that pain and recovery again, the foot would have to be giving me lots more problems.

Well that time finally came in 2005 and I went to a different doctor. He told me the first doctor operated on the wrong part. The toe should have been left alone. The problem was the long metatarsal behind the toe.

So here came the third surgery to shorten the metatarsal and connect the two pieces with a screw. This doc was excellent IMO, but the surgery wasn't quite correct and he did my fourth surgery (free) as a correction.

After it healed he told me it would never be quite right but I have put many miles over rough rocky terrain in the last five years and am happy with the foot. It doesn't look pretty but it gets me there.

Regards.
smack
Joined: 10 Mar 2010
Posts: 1
Texas, United States
Posted: Sun 25 Apr 2010 03:26 pm GMT   topTop
Shoes differ vastly by brand as you've found out. I have toe problems as well so for my trail shoes the toebox is generally the most important part. I wore Salomons but had blister issues as well, they run fairly narrow so while I loved the shoes, longer than 25k distances were out of the question. The only way I've really found is to spend an hour in a store with a great selection of trail shoes (REI worked for me, as it was close) and tell the guy you want to try every pair on. I tried pretty much every trail shoe on, walked around, sprinted around but more importantly used their ramp and jumped as aggressively as possible into the toebox to simulate the impact your toes take on the downhills (where your toes suffer the most). Aside from comfort and fit (bring your own socks with you) - the toebox test was the most important to me and dropped several shoes from consideration. I ended up with a pair of La Sportiva Crosslites (The Sportiva Raptors a close second) which for me had the best combination of toebox and overall fit. I'm not promoting the brand per se, but rather that you really need to get your feet into a bunch of shoes (always try on both Left and Right) and several sizes. Take into account that your feet will swell anywhere over 10K so leave room for that as well. I essentially had the guy bring 2 or 3 sizes of each shoe. I have not had any blisters or toe issues since. My mistake prior to this was ordering shoes online which was much cheaper, but I ended up with a bunch of shoes with great reviews that just didn't work for me. Hope you find something that works for you.


[edited: Sun 25 Apr 2010 03:29 pm]
Irun100s
Joined: 31 Dec 2011
Posts: 3
Colorado, United States
Posted: Sat 31 Dec 2011 09:56 pm GMT   topTop
Finding the right size running shoe is hard for me. I have EEE feet. Trail running shoes just don't seem to come in a lot of wide sizes. I did come across an article that had some information about finding the right size running shoe that I never thought of before. It was helpful for me, i hope it helps you out too. Here is the link: http://www.hawaiianshirtray.com/proper-gear/right-size-running-shoe/

Good luck, I am still searching for just that right shoe,

Irun100s
mtrogersTrailrun
mtrogersTrailrun
Joined: 26 Jun 2011
Posts: 7
Washington, United States
Posted: Mon 02 Jan 2012 12:07 am GMT   topTop
No.
Sad to say, there is no way to walk out of the store knowing you have a good fit. Only some miles will tell you. Just a sad fact of life. At least in my experience.
and
I think ajj has a good summation: it's very personal and there are a lot of variables.
are the two biggest lessons I have gathered from shoe fit. I usually aim for a shoe that does not have too much room towards the toe area i.e., my index finger is fits very snuggly behind my heel, barely. Generally, before the shoe settles in my toes jam into the front a few times on the descents but I am okay with that. Once things settle in that all goes away. My feet are narrow so if I get shoes too long or wide I have blisters all over my feet and mostly on the sides from sliding around in the shoe on descents and flats that snake around. In addition, I generally buy light approach shoes/heavy trail running shoes that have an asymmetrical toe box that helps fit me foot better. A few shoes that come to mind that have the fit I like are:

Montrail CTC: http://www.trailspace.com/gear/montrail/ctc/
Salewa Firetail: http://gearx.com/salewa-firetail-mens-trail-shoe.html

The firetails do not grip as well as I would like and are a bit stiffer than I like. But they fit well.
saracd103
Joined: 02 Aug 2021
Posts: 1
Washington DC, United Kingdom
Posted: Mon 02 Aug 2021 11:18 am GMT   topTop
No.
Sad to say, there is no way to walk out of the store knowing you have a good fit. Only some miles will tell you. Just a sad fact of life. At least in my experience.
and
I think ajj has a good summation: it's very personal and there are a lot of variables.
are the two biggest lessons I have gathered from shoe fit. I usually aim for a shoe that does not have too much room towards the toe area i.e., my index finger is fits very snuggly behind my heel, barely. Generally, before the shoe settles in my toes jam into the front a few times on the descents but I am okay with that. Once things settle in that all goes away. My feet are narrow so if I get shoes too long or wide I have blisters all over my feet and mostly on the sides from sliding around in the shoe on descents and flats that snake around. In addition, I generally buy light approach shoes/heavy trail running shoes that have an asymmetrical toe box that helps fit me foot better. A few shoes that come to mind that have the fit I like are:

Montrail CTC: http://www.trailspace.com/gear/montrail/ctc/
Salewa Firetail: http://gearx.com/salewa-firetail-mens-trail-shoe.html

The firetails do not grip as well as I would like and are a bit stiffer than I like. But they fit well.
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