Width Matters

When you're shopping for running shoes, it's easy to tell when a pair is too narrow. But it may not be so easy to tell if a shoe is wider than you need.

Having shoes that are too wide can be a problem. You're more prone to painful blisters which, in turn, can keep you from running -- or at least from running enjoyably.

The solution's pretty simple. Ask the salesperson to measure your foot for both length and width. You want a fit that is snug without being tight or uncomfortable.

A Day of Rest

If you're a frequent runner, you may want to give your shoes a brief rest -- especially after a long run or a race. Setting aside your shoes for a day or two allows them to air out and bounce back after the pounding of an intense run.

For this reason, it's helpful to have a second pair of running shoes, so that you can alternate between pairs. Another good idea: start breaking in your second pair when your main pair are half worn. This way, when your primary pair need to be retired, you'll have a second pair already broken in. Then it'll be time to get a new alternate pair, and you can continue the cycle.

Worn Out Shoes?

Don't put off replacing old running shoes. By sticking with footwear that is poorly cushioned, you set yourself up for potential injury:

  1. Your bones and joints can suffer.
  2. Pre-existing foot problems can worsen.
  3. Your body becomes accustomed to the inadequate support, and when you do eventually switch to a new, thoroughly padded pair, you'll put stress on your knees and Achilles tendons.

How to tell if a pair needs to be put out to pasture? Place the shoes on a hard, flat surface. If shoes tilt to one side, they should be replaced. Another rule of thumb for runners: Replace shoes after every 400 to 500 miles.