Factors You Never Knew That Play a Role in Your Running Shoes

Factors You Never Knew That Play a Role in Your Running Shoes

There are so many factors that play a role in your running shoes. They can change how a shoe fits or the appropriate shoe for your feet.  No matter who you are, finding the right shoe can be tough, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a sizing issue, stability issue, or you’re constantly injured.  Many factors play a role in your running shoes. 

Factors You Never Knew That Play a Role in Your Running Shoes

As someone who works in a running specialty shoe store, I highly recommend going to your local store and getting fitted.  Sure, you can ask the internet for advice, but they aren’t staring at your feet and visually watching you.  Bloggers might tell you it’s the “best shoe ever,” but they probably got it for free.  I have yet to see a sponsored post for the number one selling shoe in the industry.

Think of it this way; everyone has a favorite “different color,” and everyone has an opinion of the “best shoe.”  But in case you wondered, there is no best-running shoe.

So What are a Few Factors that Play a Role in Selecting Your Running Shoes?

Do You Get Continuous Ankle Sprains? 

If you constantly have ankle pain or sprain your ankle, you might need a different shoe.  Medial support is just one factor that plays a role in your running shoes.

Maybe you need stability, or maybe the shoe has too much stability.  Too much support can lead to an injury, just like not enough support.  Make no mistake, support, and cushion are two very different features of a shoe.

Do your toes go numb? 

If your feet go numb, you’re not in the right shoe size.  Sizing is one of the biggest factors that play a role in your running shoes.  Maybe the running shoe is too small, too narrow, or not the right shape.  Or maybe there isn’t enough padding in the forefront for you.  If you’re feet fall asleep while running, you aren’t in the right shoe.

The toebox is one of the most important parts.  Not only is it best to find the shoe with the right support, but it’s also best to find the shoe that is the best fit for your foot shape.  If you have long, narrow toes, short toes, or a wide forefoot (like me), it will change how the shoe fits. Some brands are naturally wider, while others have a more pointy top.

This goes for examining your toes too.  If your second toe is longer than your first toe, you’re more likely to develop bunions or hammertoes. These are both important factors to consider with your running shoes.

If you get blisters on the tops of your toes or your toes go numb, the shoe is either too narrow or too short for you.

And no, you should not lose toenails while running.  It’s not a runner’s “badge of honor.” It means your shoes are too short.

Your Feet Get Bigger, and No One Cares:  

As you age, your feet will get longer or wider.  This happens even if you didn’t put on weight, have children, or do anything different.  Women: this almost always happens after you have children.

What ultimately happens is your aches slowly begin to flatten, which can create longer or wider toes.  If you’ve “always been a size 7,” it will probably change.  And guess what…How many people do you actually ask their shoe size?  How many people’s shoe size do you actually care about?

Ladies: Stilettos and Narrow Shoes Cause Bunions:

Look, I’m no stranger to stilettos; in fact, mine are more expensive than any running shoe I’ve ever worn.  But cramming your feet into stilettos and pointy pumps causes bunions.  Bunions are a large factor that plays a role in running shoes.

You don’t have the “worst feet ever”; you just have bunions.  Women’s shoes go up to double-wide to accommodate this now. Many women’s shoes just widen the front and not the heel.

There are More Ways to Lace a Running Shoe than there are Actual Running Shoes:

I won’t pretend to know every trick and tip, but there are plenty of articles depending on your issue.  The runner’s knot can secure your heal more into place.  Skipping certain eyelets in the shoe can alleviate stress for people with high arches.  How you lace your shoes makes a huge difference in how the shoe fits.  Heck, I’ve run in shoes 1-2 sizes too big by manipulating the laces how you lace shoes is an easy factor that plays a role in your running shoes.


I will always tell people to get fit and to shop local.  As someone who works in specialty, there are many advantages to getting fitted versus buying online.   The store associates know brand shapes, sizes, and structures of shoes.  It might take you hours of research when it takes us 5 seconds to determine the most appropriate shoes. Plus, running stores help keep the running community thriving.  Anyway, these are just a few factors that play a role in your running shoes. Having the most appropriate shoe for your foot is the best piece of advice.

Love running? You can subscribe to my weekly newsletter or read more about running shoes in my ebook.

There is no perfect shoe, just a perfect shoe for you.

Questions for you:

Have you been fitted for running shoes?

What are some factors that play a role in your running shoes that you’ve realized? 


  1. So true! I’m coming to terms with being a 9.5. Not that I have a problem with it but for some reason I feel like if I order a 9.5 they will be too big. Nope! I’m a 9.5.
    I’m currently running in Nike Zoom, Nike Pegasus Turbo, Adidas Boston.

    1. I should say you were spot-on with the feet getting bigger as you age thing. I used to be a 9 🙂

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