“A well-fitting shoe is very important to us all. We, of course, recommend that you get fitted for your athletic shoes at a specialty running store such as Fleet Feet. The fit specialist can ensure that the shoe is fitting properly.” says Jeff Wells, owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Richmond, Va.
“In general, expect your athletic shoe to be a half size to a full size larger than your casual shoe. This is to allow for swelling and expansion during your activities. There should be a small amount of room between the end of your toes and the front of the shoe. The widest part of your foot should lie in the widest part of the shoe. Shoes too tight in this area can lead to numbness and shoes too large can lead to excessive movement. Both conditions can lead to blisters.”
Dr. Cora Huitt, a women’s health pelvic floor specialist and owner of Women’s Health Physical Therapy, recommends that women have their shoes re-fitted after giving birth.
“After giving birth, there are hormones still circulating in your body that can cause your joints to become lax. Women’s arches and shoes sizes often change and require a different type of shoe to be worn for the correct support during exercise.” Huitt points out.
The lacing system plays an important role in the fit of the shoe. When properly laced, the foot should feel secure in the shoe so that no relative movement occurs. The lacing system and the shoe’s upper hold the foot down onto the bottom of the shoe so that both behave as one.
“At Fleet Feet Sports, we offer our Fit Process to fit you in the best athletic shoes available. We start with a thorough interview to find out for what activities you will be using the shoes, what your goals are, and what, if any, injuries we need to be aware of. The interview is a very effective method to start the fit process.” says Wells.
Jeff Wells and his team will take measurements of your bare feet using our Brannock Device. Length and width are taken to guide us to your correct shoe size. Arch elongation is measured to determine how flexible your foot behaves and helps us determine the support requirement of the shoe.
“The gait analysis begins with a close observation of you walking barefoot. As you are walking, we are noting how your foot strikes the ground, the amount of your arch elongation, the position of your toes, and the movement of your knees. All of this, helps us determine what type of shoe you will need. In general, the more flexible your foot behaves, the more shoe support you will need.”
“Shoes are selected based on the size and shape of your feet and the amount of support needed. We will offer several options so that you can determine which shoe suites you the best. The gait analysis continues with us observing you walking or running in each shoe. At the same time, you can critique both the fit and the feel of each shoe. The Fleet Feet team member will assist you with your decision on which shoe is best for you.” says Wells.
“At any time during a woman’s life, posture plays a huge part in healthy body mechanics. During the postpartum period, maintaining proper posture is even more critical, as you regain the strength in your core and for taking care of your little one.” Huitt explains.
Wearing shoes that do not fit us properly can lead to issues with posture and exercise performance. One of the functions of the shoes is to allow the feet to be stable throughout the exercise. An ill-fitting shoe often allows the feet to become unstable. This sets off a kinetic chain reaction leading to the misalignment of knees and hips. Our posture is compromised and injuries can occur. At the very least, our performance decreases because of efficiency losses.