August is the month where we celebrate National I Love my Feet Day! And there are so many reasons why we should love our feet. 


They take us where we want to go. They allow us to run, exercise or even just stand around and admire the view. But do we really treat them with the care they deserve? Sadly, we do not. Statistics show that 9 out of 10 women wear the wrong shoe size. And, sometimes, they do so without even knowing it!

Do you know what that means? Well, in the wrong shoes, you're pinching your toes, rubbing your heels, or causing clenching through the balls of your feet to keep those kicks in place. Which can add up to big trouble down the road.

With some shoes, it can be very easy to tell when the fit isn't good. If your toes are hanging over the edge of your sandal, or squished together like little sausages, chances are you need to go up a size. (Even if those shoes are the last and cutest pair, and on an incredible sale!)

But with a comfy, supportive shoe like a sneaker, the warning signs of a bad fit are a little harder to spot. So, to help you love your feet just a little more, read on for signs you're wearing the wrong sneaker size. 

Clear Signs Your Running Shoes Don't Fit Properly

So, you think you know your proper shoe size, right? Well, if you’re experiencing any of the problems listed below during or after a run, it may be time to rethink the number on the outside of the shoe box. Read on for tell-tale signs that you’re wearing the wrong sneaker size!

1. You can’t get your shoes off without completely loosening the laces.

This is a sure sign that you need to go a size up. After all, sneakers should be able to slide on and off with ease when untied but still fully laced. And even if you're used to a snug fit, try moving up a size and playing with these lacing techniques instead.

2. Your toes graze the front of your shoe after a long run and/or your toenails show bruising signs. 
Just because a shoe fits in the store doesn’t mean it’s the right size choice for a running sneaker. Remember, your feet swell while you run.

To avoid that problem, make sure that there is a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the end of your shoe before selecting a final pair.  You should also try on shoes with the socks you'll run in to ensure the fit. Otherwise, black or ingrown toenails could be in your near future.

3. You experience numbness or strain on the top of your foot.
If this sounds familiar, it means one of two things: either the top of your shoe is too tight or it’s too loose on your foot. A shoe that fits you shouldn't have gaps or bagginess in the upper material when you're all laced up. Instead, it should feel snug but not so tight that it cuts off blood flow to that part of your foot.

4. You have corns on the side of your toes.
These hardened areas of skin could be a sign that your foot box is too wide for your shoes. When you’re trying on sneakers, you’ll know there’s enough room if you are able to pinch about a quarter inch of upper material along the widest part of your foot.

Guide to Ideal Sneaker Fit

Any sneaker you buy should leave about ½ inch between the tip of your longest toe and the tips of the shoes. (Measure that while standing, since your foot may flatten with your weight. And your toe could then stretch farther.)

If you're shopping in a store (which is a smart plan) ask the salesperson to press for your toe. This will help make sure you've got enough space.

You've also got to think about shoe width. The front your shoe shouldn't rub or press against the side of your foot. Also, make sure your heel isn't sliding around while you move. And look at the soles, especially if you plan to run outside, where you may face slick, uneven or slippery surfaces.

The best choice is usually a rubber sole with plenty of tread. But be sure to look at those treads for signs of wear and tear. If they look worn down, it's time to replace your sneakers. Otherwise, even the best fitting shoe could leave you open to injury.

How to Get the Best Pair

If the shoe fits then you won't have any of the problems we're talking about!

Need a little help finidng your fit? These 3 tips should get you there.

1. Measure your feet before any new purchase. Guess what? Your feet aren't always the same size, even once you're all grown up. Even small changes can add up to problems with shoe fit. So check your foot size every time you look for new sneakers. And, if one foot is larger than the other, choose a pair that fits your bigger measurement.

2. Shop in the afternoon or evening. Even on rest days, your feet will swell a little throughout the day. So if you hit the store later on, your feet will be similar in size to their post-run swelling. And any pair you pick should treat you well when you train.

3. Slip them on and give them a walk (or run.) Don't just head for your favorite Asics or Nikes, assuming they'll fit you as well as previous models. Small design changes with each new model can affect your final fit. So you should always try on shoes before buying a new pair. Even if you've worn the same brand for the last 10 years.

I know that it's hard to love your feet when they hurt, so treat them right and they'll never get to the bad place. But if that ship has sailed and you're already in pain, make an appointment to see me in my Houston podiatry practice. I'll help you rediscover that loving feeling with your feet. 



Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.