While working at a running store I’ve learned a lot…
I’ve learned there are various methods of tying shoes…
I’ve learned there are multiple designs of shoes and brand models and the fit of each…
I’ve learned while a shoe might be great for some people it might be awful for others. Internet reviews can tell you a lot about a shoe but no two people have the same feet. In fact, each persons feet are not identical.
I’ve learned information that has helped my running and I’ve learned information that helps people who walk through the doors. Ultimately my job is help people. My job doesn’t revolve around my running; it revolves around other people’s running.
One of the most interesting things I’ve learned is no matter the distance or amount you run, you should not be losing toenails.
Toenail loss isn’t a sign of good running or training. It’s not a runners “rite of passage”. You are not a real runner once your feet are nasty.
Losing toenails is a sign the shoe is not fitting you well.
When you lose toenails, it generally means the shoe is either too narrow or too short. The top of your toenail is jamming up against the shoe. It means there isn’t enough space in the top of the shoe.
Think about it this way: if you continue to punch your arm, it will bruise.
If your toes continue to jam against the top of the shoe, they will bruise and eventually fall off. When you think about it, you are jamming your toenails against the shoe hundreds or even thousands of times per run. Most people lose their biggest toe or second toenail (depending on which toe is longer). If the shoe is not wide enough you lose your pinkie toe.
Signs your running shoe is too small…
Bruised and loss of toenails…
Toes being numb or tingling…(if your toes go numb the shoe is generally too narrow)
The lateral side of your shoe gets a hole in it (the shoe is too narrow)
So how do you solve the problem of not losing toenails?
You should always go up a half size from your “normal” size. For instance, I wear a size 9 regular shoe. I wear a 9.5 or even 10 wide running shoe. My foot is able to breath the entire time. You should be able to wiggle your toes before, during and after the run.
The shoe might seem a little “big” at first but it’s not going to fall or slide off. It’s always better to go up half a size versus cramming your foot into a smaller shoe. You normally cause far more issues by a too small of shoe versus too big and the loss of toenails is just one of those issues.
Question for you:
Have you ever lost toenails?
What running shoe do you currently wear?