Are Running Shoes Supposed To Be Tight?

(Last Updated On: April 10, 2021)



Both professional runners and casual warriors depend on their footwear. They’re vitally essential training aids. They protect the feet and legs from wear and tear, and they serve as the physical foundation for our bodies’ results. We are all so used to wearing shoes for anything that we do not consider how we wear them. Isn’t it just a matter of lacing them up and going?

The fit of your shoes, particularly while running, can have an impact on your results. And if it affects the performance of the shoes, it may affect the performance as well. We don’t think about how to properly size – and lace – shoes. Stride pattern, cushioning, and style are all things that runners consider. But how do the right-fitting shoes help you achieve your fitness goals?

All shoes appeared to have a pointy toe box, but their feet are not pointy, and this shape squashes the toes into a small space, impairing their function. This shape did not evolve because it was the optimal shape for our feet; at one point in history, a pointed-toe shoe fit comfortably inside a stirrup, preferable for horseback riding. Additionally, if you wore pointed shoes, you must have been well-off! To a degree, the same holds for the heel on shoes. Neither of these two developments was incorporated into footwear to enhance its comfort or to accommodate the foot’s anatomical shape.

Over time, this pointed-toe box and raised heel became the norm for all shoes, including running shoes, and anything that deviated too far from this was considered strange. If like the majority of western children, you have worn shoes of this shape since you began walking, your feet will have developed little strength. This explains why the western world has many foot problems that do not exist in barefoot nations.

What effect does this have on your running shoes? As your feet expand as they warm up, you need enough room in your running shoes to accommodate this expansion. Additionally, you must ensure that your feet have adequate room to function inside the shoes. That is spread upon impact. This spread absorbs shock, stabilizes you, and then propels you forward into the next stride.

Examining Your Shoes To Determine If They Are Too Narrow

narrow running shoes

As we are accustomed to wearing snug shoes, it can be difficult to determine when a shoe is too snug. There is a very simple test that can be used to determine if yours are too wide (some exceptions may apply)

  • Remove your running shoes’ insoles and stand on them while wearing your socks.
  • Determine whether your foot and toes are comfortably contained within the insole’s boundaries or are spilling out.
  • If you’re spilling beyond the insole boundary, your shoes are too narrow!

Benefits Of A Good Running Shoe With The Right Fit

A tight-fitting running shoe, no matter how well-made, can cause a lot of discomforts and even injury. This is why, for anyone interested in taking up the sport, finding a good shoe with the right tightness is crucial.

The following are some of the advantages of wearing a correctly fitting running shoe:

  • Performance Assistance

Modern shoes are often constructed and built with features that aid runners in maintaining proper posture and foot strike. These features are more effective if the running shoes are properly fitted; otherwise, they are extra weight and expensive.

  • No Blisters & Corns

A slipping shoe may cause an accident while running, while a bad fit is more likely to cause corns or blisters. A tight shoe is even worse, as it limits the foot’s ability to stretch and absorb force, as well as obstructing blood flow.

  • Low Risk Of Injury

To state the obvious, a good shoe with the proper fit helps prevent accidents that are often caused by shoes that do not fit properly. This can cause anything from knee fractures to muscle cramps, and it will only worsen if you continue to wear ill-fitting shoes.

  • Optimum Comfort

Most shoes are built with comfort in mind, and wearing ill-fitting shoes will not provide your feet with the comfort they deserve, particularly if you engage in strenuous activity like running.

How Tight Should Running Shoes Be?

how tight running shoes should be

Running shoes must have enough space to withstand the various ways in which your feet bend and flex as you run. When your feet touch the deck, they should contract and then stretch when you toe-off. Shoes, on the other hand, must be snug enough to provide stability and consistent traction. So, what is the ideal fit for running shoes?

Here are several pointers organized by their location in the runner’s anatomy:

  • Toe

Since running causes the foot to swell, there should be plenty of space in the toe box. Between the big toe and the edge of the foot, there should be about a thumb’s width of wiggle room.

  • Mid-sole

When walking or running, the midsole offers the stability and protection that your foot needs. Even without laces, this part of the shoe must be snug. However, make sure your shoe isn’t too tight. Once your foot starts to swell during your race, it will not be able to handle it. Consider it as breathable or adaptable.

  • Heel

Many runners have experienced blisters as a result of a loose heel fit. The heel should be snug at the most but not constricting. This can be checked by simply wandering around for a while. Your shoe is too big if it moves around a lot and slips. It’s too tiny if the shoe is difficult to put on or take off over your heel.

  • All-over

When you first put on a good pair of running shoes, they should feel very comfortable. Most modern running shoes have extra long-lasting cushioning to ensure that they can handle the distances that the consumer intends to run.

Buying Into the Right Fit Running Shoe

Finding a good-looking pair with the right fit should be based on actual data using real-time measurements. Having a pair of eye candy shoes is simple and highly dependent on personal taste and preference. Here are some pointers to help you find the best match at any time:

  • It’s In the Timing

The best time to purchase shoes, according to others, is in the afternoon. You get a better fit because your feet are a little more swollen than normal.

  • Have Your Feet Measured

A Brannock Device can be used to suit you in most shoe stores and specialty shops. This is the standard by which most shoes are made, and it measures the length and width of your feet. One thing to keep in mind is that your most recent measurement is never your perfect measurement. Many factors can cause your feet to swell or atrophy without you realizing it.

  • Width vs. Volume

Some people get these two calculation words mixed up. Many people believe that if their shoe is too tight, they need to get a wider shoe or size up. What they don’t consider is that the volume of the shoe will have an impact on the fit. Since wider shoes have a longer sole, the heel portion of the shoe can be too big for your feet, and vice versa.

What’s Shoe Lace Got to Do With Right Fit?

shoe laces running shoes

There will never be a fitting pair of shoes for your feet. This is an unavoidable fact that you must embrace. You can, however, buy a pair that is slightly too big, even if just a little, and adjust the fit with laces. A runner can lace up their shoe in a variety of ways. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to lacing up your shoes, lacing patterns will help you get a better fit.

A great fit and snug pair of running shoes should have a gap between the eyes for the shoelaces of at least two finger widths. Any shoe with a gap that is larger than two fingers is considered too tight. Any shoe that creates a gap of fewer than two fingers width, on the other hand, could be too loose.


Any workout or training routine will benefit from a decent pair of snug-fitting running shoes. You will maximize your shoes’ efficiency and features by ensuring that the fit is not too tight or too loose.

Running shoes, like other tools, are subjected to wear and tear. When your current shoe reaches 500 miles, it is recommended that you replace it. This will allow your feet enough time to adjust to the new pair when you alternate it with the old one, reducing the risk of injury even further.



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