September is a busy month in St. Louis for races, so now is the time to find the right shoes if you’re a runner.

Proper shoe selection may be the most important thing you can do for your feet.

A bad shoe fit can can cause black toenails, pinched-nerve pain, bunions, corns and calluses or lead to blisters.

Unfortunately, many shoe stores carry only the most popular sizes.

 

What should you look for when shopping for new running shoes?

When you go shopping, seek out a pedorthist. A few running stores have these shoe-fitting specialists on duty, but runners too often depend on salespeople with limited shoe-fitting knowledge. This is particularly true in big sporting-goods chain stores, where the person selling running shoes may not even run.

 

What brand and stores carry the best selection?

Our favorite brand for running shoes is New Balance. New Balance offers three or four widths with every shoe model so they make it easier to find a good fit.

We also recommend checking out Lauries Shoes. They have a great local location and always have shoe fitting experts on hand.

 

How can you guarantee you get the best fit?

Finding the right running shoe may be the most important thing you can do for your feet. Here are some buying tips:

1. The best time to shop for shoes is at the end of the day or after a run. That’s when your feet have swelled to their maximum size.

2. Get your feet measured (length and width) by knowledgeable store personnel. Even if you know your size, have both feet measured. If the sizes differ, fit the larger foot.

3. Sizes vary among brands. Judge a shoe by how it fits your foot, not by its listed size or by what you think your shoe size is.

4. Wear the socks you expect to run in. If you wear orthotics, put them in the shoes you’re considering.

5. Stand during the fitting process. There should be about a half-inch (the approximate width of a thumbnail) between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.

6. Make sure the ball of your foot fits comfortably in the widest part of the shoe. The heel should fit snugly without any slippage.

7. Walk around the store in the shoes. Jog a little. If possible, take a few strides outside to see how the shoes feel. Some specialty running stores have treadmills for this purpose. If so, jog on it for a minute or two to test your shoes.