Your running shoes should be comfortable. Period.
If they're too small, you risk mashing your toes into the front of the shoe or squeezing the ball of your foot until you're numb. Too big, and you can slide around, chafe and feel like you're wearing flippers.
But when you get the fit right, you're in for mile after mile of happy running. Here's what you should look for in a running shoe:
- Comfort. If you try on a running shoe and it's not comfortable in the store, it won't be comfortable when you start running. Start by finding a shoe that's comfortable when you first step in and lace it up.
- Size. Your feet can change sizes as you age, so you might find a shoe that fit you a couple years ago doesn't work now. Sizes also differ slightly between brands. Get your feet measured to find the right size for you.
- Fit. There should be about a thumbnail worth of space between the end of your big toe and the front of the shoe. The extra length will give your toes some wiggle room. Also check the width; if your foot is bulging over the sides of the shoe, consider trying a wide-fit running shoe.
- Price. Like scratchy bedsheets or flimsy furniture, you get what you pay for with running shoes. High-quality modern running shoes are designed for durability, comfort and protection, and their prices can reflect that. A cheap running shoe will be easy on your wallet at first, but it will wear out sooner—and possibly leave you worn out with an injury. Don't be afraid to invest in quality shoes if you can. They'll prove themselves worth it.