How to Break in Running Shoes

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Running shoes are the most important piece of equipment for any runner. Taking the proper care in selecting and breaking in running shoes can mean the difference between a smooth run and a rocky one full of blisters and foot and joint pain.

Things You'll Need

  • Running shoes
  • Socks
  • Start breaking in shoes before you buy them. What time of day you shop for running shoes is an important factor in selecting shoes that will break in properly. Shop in the later part of the afternoon when you feet have generally swelled to what their normal size during running would be.

  • Look for running shoes with at least 1/2 inch space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. This may often mean buying a pair of shoes sized 1/2 to a whole size larger than normal street shoes.

  • Try on shoes at the store while wearing the type of socks you normally wear while running. Since socks come in different thicknesses, it is essential that you account for their size when buying new shoes.

  • Purchase pairs of running shoes if you can afford it, especially if you run on a daily basis or log long miles. You can alternate pairs from day to day to help extend the life of each and prevent uneven wear.

  • Break in running shoes by running 60 to 70 miles. You should plan on running at least one long distance run in your new shoes as part of the break in process in addition to several shorter runs to help break in the shoes.

  • Break in running shoes for a marathon or other race at least 4 to 6 weeks prior to the event. Especially in the case of long distance runs, it may be necessary to purchase a pair of running shoes specifically for that event.

  • Purchase shoes from a store specializing in running shoes and you may be allowed to give them a test run on a treadmill before you purchase them. When running, watch out for areas of looseness around the heel and remember that the toe box or portion of the shoe at the front of the foot should be spacious and not cramp your toes.

Tips & Warnings

  • No amount of "breaking in" will change the fit of a improperly chosen shoe. Do your research before buying a running shoe to determine what kind of foot shape you have and which manufacturers build running shoes that work well with it.

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