A properly fitting running shoe influences three factors in your running and walking experience: injury reduction, comfort, and performance.
Having a shoe that is fit by a trained shoe fitter that has evaluated the way your ankle and arch moves can help determine the appropriate shoe category for your foot. The shoe category is correlated with the level of support in a shoe and is broken down into neutral, guidance, support, and motion control. Too much or too little support could potentially lead to injury or discomfort.
Additionally, through understanding measurements associated with the foot such as arch length/ height and foot length/width can help dramatically improve the overall comfort of the shoe. Matching some of the different lasts or shapes of shoes to those measurements can make the shoe fit process a Cinderella-like experience.
Lastly, a skilled shoe fitter can help create a common language with the customer, helping communicate the design features of each shoe. This line of communication helps align the correct features, to the performance goal of the customer. This helps people run farther, faster, with increased comfort, or a combo of all three!
At Skirack, our fit process involves 5 main steps:
1. Pre-Fit Questions:
The pre-fit questions delve into understanding the customers shoe history, their intention for use, and injury history. These questions help determine the appropriate type, category and fit of a shoe.
2. Measuring the Foot:
Measuring the foot entails the use of a Brannock Device which helps Skirack's experienced shoe fitters determine the customer’s foot length/width as well arch length. There are issues associated with having a shoe that has been improperly fit for any of those measurements.
For example, a shoe that is too small or narrow for someone may cause foot injuries such as Morton’s neuroma, metatarsalgia, bunions, or blisters. Conversely, a shoe that is too wide or long may cause a decrease in the supportive qualities of the shoe, thus potentially leading to plantar fasciitis, posterior tibialis tendonitis, patella femoral issues, and even ailments further up the kinetic chain. The fit of the shoe is important and there is no one size fits all approach.
3. Walking Analysis:
The next step in the process will be a walking analysis. This is where the shoe fitter will watch the customers arch and ankle move to see if the person's gait falls into the category of pronation, neutral, or supination. These different gaits are best fit with a certain level of arch support and will be matched with the shoe categories previously mentioned above: neutral, guidance, support, and motion control.
4. Try on Shoes:
Once the shoe fitter and customer have decided on a few shoes to try on, the shoe fitter will continue to help the customer through the fit process with questions and recommendations to help ensure the proper fit.
5. Video Running Analysis:
The customer will have the option to have a video running analysis to further help determine the appropriate shoe. The Skirack shoe fitter will use slow motion video analysis and visual cues to help determine if the shoe is providing the correct level of support. Although this process is optional, it is recommended to narrow down the options and to obtain a more precise shoe fit.
Skirack's fit process can be beneficial for all levels of running and can even be adapted to help people find the right hiking, walking or work shoe. Skirack’s Run Department is excited to get people out there performing the activities they love and are prepared to guide people along the path to finding the right shoe!
- Brendan Copley,
Former Skirack Run Specialist