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Running Frequently Asked Questions


Shoe Fit

What is the difference between a trail and road shoe?

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Road shoes are made for running on harder, flat surfaces such as asphalt, though they work just fine on flat smooth trails. Running shoes and made of durable and breathable synthetic materials that help keep your feet dry and comfortable. Road running shoes are good for 300 – 500 miles, depending on your running style, weight, the shoe, and the surface you run on.

Trail shoes are different from road shoes in many ways. They are more durable and therefore often heavier than road shoes because of the extra-beefy uppers. Trail shoes can also be stiffer for extra stability for running on uneven and unstable surfaces. Trail shoes are often lower profile than road shoes to add more stability.

Because trails are softer and more forgiving than the roads, trail shoes usually don’t offer the cushioning or feel as soft as road shoes. All said, trail shoes are for the trails and road shoes can do double duty as long as the trail is not too technical.

How to choose a new shoe after an injury?

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If you have had recent injuries or chronic joint issues (knee, hip, ankle) you may need a shoe that protects your foot from excess motion.

But remember even if your foot rolls excessively one way or the other, you don’t necessarily need to get an over-controlling shoe if you don’t have pain or injuries. The leg and foot makes many adjustments and adaptations which keep many runners injury-free, even when they have extreme motion.

What is the difference between mens and womens shoes?

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Women’s shoes tend to be slightly narrower than those for men, and the heel is usually a bit smaller. The quality of the major running shoe brands is equal whether for men or women. But about 25 percent of women runners have feet that can fit better into men’s shoes. Usually the confusion comes in women who wear large sizes.

Who makes the best running shoe?

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That depends on you and your feet. Each brand and model has its own particular fit, as our feet have their particular shape. Some of us fit better in some brands than others, so for each of us there are better brands and models than others. A shoe that some friend or acquaintance says is best may not be best for you.

Why did they recommend a bigger size than I normally wear?

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Most runners wear a running shoe that is about two sizes larger than their street shoe. For example, I wear a size 10 street shoe but run in a size 12 running model. Be open to getting the best fit regardless of what size you see on the running shoe box.

Your foot tends to swell during the day, so it’s best to fit your shoes after noontime. Be sure to stand up in the shoe during the fitting process to measure how much extra room you have in the toe region of the shoe. Pay attention to the longest toes of your feet, and leave at least half an inch.

Most runners and walkers go up a half or a full size larger in running shoes compared to street/dress shoes. This extra room is to accomodate swelling and foot splay that takes place while running. Some people sometimes get black toe nails from running long distances, other people get black toe nails from running in shoes that are too small. All your shoes should have about 1/4 inch space in front of your toes, running shoes should have 1/2 inch or more space. Remember to keep your toe nails trimmed for longer runs and downhill courses.

Over time, years, our feet tend to spread out. Many of us may find that we should go up a half size every ten years or so. Therefore, don’t keep buying size 9 shoes just because you wore that size in college. We will measure your feet and check the fit of each shoe you try on to assure the correct fit.

Should I buy the most expensive shoes to best support my feet?

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The most expensive shoes are usually not the best shoes for your feet. You cannot assume that high price will buy you extra protection or more miles. At the price of some of the shoes, you might expect that they would do the running for you. They won’t.

I have wide feet, what shoe should I choose?

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Running shoes tend to be a bit wider than street shoes.
Usually, the lacing can “snug up” the difference, if your foot is a bit narrower. The shoe shouldn’t be laced too tight around your foot because the foot swells during running and walking. On hot days, the average runner will move up one-half shoe size. In general, running shoes are designed to handle a certain amount of “looseness”. But if you are getting blisters when wearing a loose shoe, snug the laces. Several shoe companies have some shoes in various widths

See our collection of wide shoes

Do you offer Shoe Fitting?

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Join us in store for a shoe fitting - available at both locations Centerville and Sandy.

It takes about 30 to 60 minutes to do a proper running shoe fitting. The fitting comes at no charge with the purchase of a pair of running shoes. If one wants to be fitted in the hope that he/she can buy shoes for less somewhere else, the fitting fee is $20. We are happy to do an expert fitting for anyone and everyone, but we need to give our deserved attention to runners and walkers who come to us to find and buy the best, most appropriate running footwear. Please tell us before the fitting if you do plan to buy shoes somewhere else rather than from us. If you return within 7 days, the $20 fitting fee will be duducted from the price of shoes you buy from us. Thank You.

What is a race shoe?

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We love racing shoes. Nothing like strapping on a pair of light racers for races and speed work. Not only do they feel lighter and faster, but psychologically you will feel and be better prepared to run fast and do your best. Even losing a few ounces going to a lighter shoe should help you run a few seconds faster per mile, which could be the difference between a PR and no PR or qualify for Boston or not.

What is minimal footwear?

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Minimal footwear is low profile – lower to the ground than the average running shoe – and has less heel to toe drop, even to zero drop. Many racing shoes work very well as minimal footwear because they are very low, light, and flexible. We recommend runners start slowly with minimal footwear, even going to a light-weight trainers, then lower profile shoes, then barefoot-like footwear if desired. Going too minimal too fast may cause more harm than good. It may take up to 90 days to allow your body to adapt to some minimal footwear. We recommend barefoot-like footwear for natural surfaces like grass, and then for occasional workouts to improve running form and efficiency. We all can adopt and use good/natural/barefoot running form in running shoes on the roads. We do not recommend barefoot-like footwear for paved surfaces.

Should I match my shoe color to my running outfits?

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I receive email every year about injuries that were produced by wearing the wrong shoe. Some of these are “fashion injuries” in which the runner picked a shoe because the color matched an outfit. Remember that there are no fashion police out there on the running trails.

Shoe Care

What kind of sock should I wear?

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Cotton socks absorb moisture, keeping your feet wet. Technical running socks do not absorb moisture but let it evaporate through the mesh of the shoe, helping keep your feet cool, dry, and less likely to blister. Try Blister Shield Foot Powder for blister prone feet. Synthetic socks can last and perform well for years, keeping your feet dryer and more comfortable. Cotton socks typically wear our very quickly when used for running.

Don’t spend good money on great shoes and then use cheap cotton socks that may make your feet unhappy.
You would not put ketchup on filet mignon, don’t wear cotton socks in your expensive running shoes. Your feet will be happier, shoes last longer and smell better, and good running socks go for years (don’t use bleach or a HOT washer or dryer, do use liquid detergent for technical apparel.

Check out our sock options

How to break in a new pair of shoes?

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Wear the new shoe around the house, for a few minutes each day for a week. If you stay on carpet, and the shoe doesn’t fit correctly, you can exchange it at the store. But if you have put some wear on the shoe, dirt, etc., few stores will take it back.

In most cases you will find that the shoe feels comfortable enough to run immediately. It is best to continue walking in the shoe, gradually allowing the foot to accommodate to the arch, the heel, the ankle pads, and to make other adjustments. If you run in the shoe too soon, blisters are often the result. If there are no rubbing issues on the foot when walking, you could walk in the new shoe for a gradually increasing amount. For two to four days. On the first run, just run about half a mile in the shoe. Put on your old shoes and continue the run. On each successive run, increase the amount you run in the new shoes for three to four runs. At this point, you will usually have the new shoe broken in.

See our article on breaking in new shoes here

What should a running shoe do for you?

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Absorb Shock: To protect you and your foot from the impact of running. In running, the impact is up to four times your body weight with each footstrike. Different shoes are designed to cushion and protect us to various degrees.

Stabilize: Each of us has varying degrees of pronation or instability upon foot strike. Different shoes are designed to address our individual bio-mechanical needs.

Traction: To help propel you forward and prevent slipping.

Protection: To protect your foot from harmful surfaces and protrusions, i.e. rocks, roots, concrete, etc.

Running in the wrong shoe can cause some major and minor problems, causing you to miss out on the benefits and joys of running.

How long do shoes last?

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Typically a shoe will cushion and stabilize for 300 to 500 miles; depending on the shoe, your weight, the surface you run on, and your running style, among other things. We recommend retiring old shoes before they have a chance to cause an injury.

We also recommend rotating between two or more good pairs of shoes. Put 150 to 200 miles on a pair and then start alternating with a new pair. Choose the newer pair for longer, more demanding workouts, and the older pair for easier workouts. Retire the old pair at about 400 miles and get a new pair to rotate in. Rotating shoes like this will go a long way to help prevent injuries. Running in old shoes can result in problems that could keep you off the roads and trails unnecessarily.

How do I know it's time to get a new shoe?

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When you have been using a shoe for three to four weeks successfully, buy another pair of exactly the same model, make, size, etc. The reason for this: The shoe companies often make significant changes or discontinue shoe models (even successful ones) every six to eight months. Walk around the house in the new shoe for a few days. After the shoe feels broken in, run the first half-mile of one of your weekly runs in the new shoe, then put on the shoe that is already broken in.

On the “shoe break-in” day, gradually run a little more in the new shoe. Continue to do this only one day a week. Several weeks later you will notice that the new shoe offers more bounce than the old one. When the old shoe doesn’t offer the support you need, shift to the new pair. Start breaking in a third pair.

How should I choose which shoe to train and race in for my marathon?

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How many miles should you put on a pair of shoes before a marathon? It varies from runner to runner, but the range is 50 to 100 miles, 150 at the most. Light-weight racing shoes may be best closer to 50 miles for marathons but they’ll still be great for shorter races (5K to 13.1 mile) up to about 250 miles, then think about retiring them or bronzing them. Some runners who run marathons in racing shoes do a long run in them and others save them for raceday, but you should race a Half or at least a run 13 to 16 miles in your chosen marathon shoes to make sure you feel good in them. After 150-200 miles a running shoe does not have the maximum/ideal cushioning and stability features left, and therefore you should consider getting a new pair of your favorite shoes for marathon day.

What kind of shoes should I wear when not running?

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We take care of our feet by getting the best, most appropriate running shoes, so it only makes sense to wear good shoes the rest of the day to help keep ourselves and our feet happy and healthy. Take as much care in choosing your all-day shoes as you do with your running shoes. Ill fitting shoes may cause neuromas, hammer toes, bunions, Plantar Fasciitis, or otherwise unhappy feet. 

We offer supportive, foot-healthy sandals from Oofos and Birkenstock. These sandals are great for treating conditions like Plantar Fasciitis and tired feet. We also have supportive insoles from Superfeet, Powerstep, and others for casual and dress shoes. If your feet are sore after time in dress shoes you may benefit from a little extra support. Remember, all shoes should leave a little room to wiggle your toes, or they may be constricting natural foot motion. 

General Running

Is Running bad for one's knees?

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Not necessarily. Running on soft surfaces, such as grass and dirt trails, reduces the impact dramatically. In fact, running on asphalt is much softer and better than running on concrete. Many running related aches and pains are caused by running on concrete and/or in old or inappropriate shoes.

Moderate impact exercise, like running, actually improves knee health and bone density (for chronic knee problems see your doctor before starting your running program). The fresh cushioning of new shoes and smooth efficient running form can often alleviate knee soreness caused by shoes that are on their last miles.

What is Trail Running?

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We love trail running and our trail shoe selection proves it. It is such a great way to get off road, away from civilization, and become a better, stronger runner. The uneven surfaces will help improve balance and strength while balancing the development of leg, knee, ankle, and foot muscles and tissues.

When first starting to trail run, choose easier, less demanding trails until you become accustomed to the new aspects of trail running. Trail shoes are made for the trails and only the trails…mostly. True, you can run short distances on roads to get to trailheads, but longer distances may cause problems for many runners, namely sore shins.

Trail shoes are different from road shoes in many ways. They are more durable and therefore often heavier than road shoes because of the extra-beefy uppers. Trail shoes can also be stiffer for extra stability for running on uneven and unstable surfaces. Trail shoes are often lower profile than road shoes to add more stability.

Because trails are softer and more forgiving than the roads, trail shoes usually don’t offer the cushioning or feel as soft as road shoes. All said, trail shoes are for the trails and road shoes can do double duty as long as the trail is not too technical.

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Don't let COVID 19 stop your run -we are here for you!

There is no better time than now to get outside. Whether you're running, walking, or just getting some fresh air, we are here for you. You may not want to venture out to shop, but there are several ways you can still shop local for your favorite running gear:

Come see us in Store - we are following all mandated physical distancing and sanitizing guidelines as well as offering curbside pickup. Sandy 801-566-8786  Centerville 801-296-8786 

The Wasatch Running Center is looking for the best ways to serve you both safely and responsibly while still fostering our passion for our active, healthy lifestyles. We can't thank you enough for your continued support through this uncertain and challenging time.

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