6 Mistakes You Make When Buying Running Shoes

Matthew F Villani
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Dr. Matthew Villani provides expert foot care in Tavares, Altamonte Springs, and Lake Mary, FL.

Many residents in our central Florida communities stay active in many different ways. One of the more popular forms of exercise, whether here or just about anywhere else, is running. You can find organizations like the Orlando Running Club in cities all across the U.S. These clubs are great ways to stay motived and learn tips from experienced running pros.

running shoesRunning is a fantastic exercise that improves cardiovascular conditioning, burns calories, and relieves stress. With that being said, there’s also a certain degree of injury risk, especially if you make any of the common mistakes when buying running shoes. These include:

  1. Not going to a store that caters to runners. Going to a non-specialized store for your running shoes is kind of like taking your car to a “quick service oil change” place for extensive brake work. You might come across someone who is knowledgeable and will be able to help, but the odds aren’t so great. In the same way you’re better off going to a full-service mechanic, you should buy your running shoes at a store where employees actually know about which shoes will work best for you.
  2. Going too early. They say “the early bird gets the worm,” but the “early bird” shouldn’t go shopping for shoes after getting that worm. You are likely unaware of the fact your feet swell during the course of the day. As such, they’re bigger at night. You want footwear that fits well—not too tight—during all hours, so buy them later in the day.
  3. Relying on the printed size. A mistake people make when buying shoes is to simply go by the size listed on the label or, worse, the box. The problem with this is not all shoe manufacturers’ sizes are the same. A size-10 for one brand might be either a 9 ½ or 10 ½ for another. The indicated size should be viewed as only a guideline so you know which pairs are worth trying on.
  4. Only trying on one shoe. You might not know this, but your feet aren’t the same size – one is bigger than the other. This means you run the risk of trying on a shoe that fits your smaller foot just right, but the other shoe will be too small for your bigger foot. Instead, have both of your feet measured, and then buy a pair of running shoes that fit to the bigger foot.
  5. Not bringing your running socks with you. When you buy shoes, athletic or otherwise, always make sure you bring the socks you plan on wearing with the shoes along with you. Dress socks are generally thinner than running socks (which have more cushioning), and this affects the fit of the shoes.
  6. Not checking to see if your orthotics fit. Your orthotics are customized to your feet, so we know they fit in that regard, but make sure your running shoes have room for them. These valuable medical devices are intended to improve your foot function and keep you safe from serious issues, so you should always use them when running. If your shoes are too tight, though, this can be a problem.

Making these mistakes while buying running shoes can lead to potential problems for your lower limbs, but now you know what not to do. Instead, buy your shoes in the late afternoon or early evening and only use the printed size as a general guideline (not a set-in-stone rule). Always try on both shoes to ensure proper fit, especially while wearing your running socks and using your orthotics.

Our hope is that you will be able to stay safe while starting—or continuing—your running program, or going back to your old running plan. The choices you make with running shoes is certainly a starting point, but make sure you take measures like easing into running and always warming up first to reduce your risk of injury. In the event you do sustain a foot or ankle injury, come in and see Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida. Even something that seems to be minor can become a big problem if left untreated.

For more information on keeping your lower limbs safe while running, or to request an appointment with any of our central Florida offices, either contact us online or call 407-339-7759 or 352-589-9550 (if you call from Lake County) and we will be glad to help!

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