Get Fit With the Best Running Shoes for You!
The simple ease of lacing up your shoes and heading out the door makes running the most accessible fitness option out there. Running requires less equipment than most sports, but too often runners choose their footwear based on brand name or color preference, forgetting to focus on the single most important factor - FIT!
Helping customers choose the right pair of running shoes is a puzzle Danform Shoes Experts love to solve. Sean, a Shelburne manager and master shoe fitter, draws on his 20 years working with our customers to master the critical match between your feet and the thousands of shoes on hand at Danform Shoes. Shoes that fit correctly are the first step to locking in your wellness goals.
Sean walked Deb, head of Danform's e-commerce team, through each step of a personalized fit session to help her choose her ideal running shoes. Let's take a sneak peek inside the Danform Shoes custom fit process!
STEP 1 - Talk to Us. Tell us Everything!We're good listeners. Sean asks Deb about her personal preferences, fitness goals, anticipated mileage, injury history, previous brands/styles worn as well as her wellness wish list for her new shoes. Hopes, fears, plantar fasciitis, bunions, twisted ankles, your junior high victory in the 50 yard dash...we want to hear it all!
Deb shares with Sean that she's not a runner but keeps up a fast pace power walking. She logs up to 15 miles weekly and though she doesn't have a specific injury, her knees can be achy with longer distances. She has worn cushioned athletic shoes in the past and thinks they help to keep her injury free.
FIT TIP: DON'T HESITATE TO TALK ABOUT YOUR FEET! WE'RE FOOTWEAR GEEKS WHO GET REALLY EXCITED ABOUT HELPING YOU FIND THE PERFECT SHOE!
STEP 2 - Measuring Your Feet MattersFeet are like fingerprints, no two are alike, even the two that belong to you! We all know that feet come in different lengths - it's the variations in arch, width, volume, even the length of your toes that challenges our Fit Experts to calibrate your unique profile and think 3 dimensionally about how your foot's geometry will match our top brand's offerings.
Deb's arch measures size 8 but her foot's length measures size 8.5. Deb's long toes push Deb's Brannock measurement to 8.5. Who knew that arch and toe length played a role in shoe size?
Sean assesses that Deb has a thinner foot and an average arch, not too low, not too high.
STEP 3 - Gait Analysis is Essential
When we walk, our foot strikes the ground evenly, rolls in, or rolls out. Different types of running shoes offer support for specific gait patterns: neutral, stability or motion control. Our Fit Experts evaluate your gait as part of their pre-screening to narrow down athletic shoe options that will guide your foot for a healthy running stride, minimizing injury and discomfort.
Sean has Deb roll up her pant legs and watches her walk so he can analyze her gait. Turns out that Deb has a balanced gait, her foot hits the ground neutrally, not on the inside or outside of her foot. Unlike Deb, more than half of the customers we see at Danform Shoes have an uneven stride and require what the industry calls a "stability" shoe for more support.
FIT TIP: PRONATION, THE TECHNICAL TERM FOR WALKING ON THE INSIDE OF YOUR FEET, MAY REQUIRE A "STABILITY" SHOE TO GUIDE YOUR FOOT TO A HEALTHY STRIDE.
You can't see it, but the Brooks Addiction features the "extended progressive diagonal rollbar" to control pronation/supination. Each brand has technology to correctly position the foot, guiding its natural movement.
STEP 4 - How much cushion do you need?There are conflicting studies on the benefits of maximum vs. minimalist cushion. A simple rule of thumb: the shoe that feels good to you will most likely be your best bet because it matches up to your stride and your foot's geometry.
Deb shares that she has worn the super cushioned Hoka One One Bondi and loves its comfortable feel.
STEP 5 - Setting up "the Buffet" (get ready for the analogies!)
Sean's wheels are turning. He combs through his "internal rolodex" of Danform's extensive inventory and calculates his "mental snapshot" of Deb's choices. Sean considers each brand and brings his customers an assortment he likens to a "buffet" of options. Did we mention that Sean's colorful commentary is also free? 😉
Every brand has a shoe for every type of foot. The urban lore that New Balance is the brand for wide feet and a certain swoosh behemoth caters to a narrow foot is simply not true. It takes actually putting your foot in a shoe - sampling from the buffet - before you find that "Goldilocks" moment, when you know it's just right.
Sean calculates Deb's fit analysis, and believes her ideal running shoe is: neutral, medium width, low volume, maximum cushion, size 9.
FIT TIP: TO AVOID BRUISING YOUR TOES, ALWAYS SIZE UP WHEN CHOOSING RUNNING SHOES.
One question Sean won't ask - "Which color do you like?" Fit comes before color. He promises there will be options, and apparently he means it. Sean likes to say that, "Danform Shoes has more shoes under one roof than any other footwear store in the area." We just didn't realize he could carry all of them at once!
Sean then leaves Deb to take her time, trying each model at her own pace, walking (or running if she likes!) around the store. He'll be there to check in, but his helpful, never pushy, style is part of the Danform Difference philosophy. Making a customer for life is more important than making a sale.
6 brands. 8 styles. Let's see what Deb thinks!
Danform's athletics lineup includes 4 running shoe stalwarts: Saucony, Asics, New Balance and Brooks, whose signatures styles evolve each season, as well as 2 newer brands: Hoka One One and On Running. With the depth of Danform's selection in his back pocket, Sean knows he has a shoe to fit every customer. Does he place a bet with himself when he brings out his buffet? Maybe! But he encourages his customer to, "listen to your foot."
FIT TIP: ONLINE REVIEWS CAN PROVIDE USEFUL INFORMATION BUT MOST TESTIMONIALS WON'T APPLY TO YOUR UNIQUE FOOT TYPE. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR THE FEEL OF YOUR FOOT IN THE SHOE AND A FIT EXPERT TO GUIDE YOU!
Saucony - Serious about Running
Long known as a racer's shoe, Saucony strives to develop running shoes for every type of runner. "You, but faster," sums up their desire to bring the love of running to all athletes right from the neighborhood walker up to the elite runner.
New Balance - The Original Dad Shoe Delivers a Smooth RideNew Balance had fans across all ages even before the chunky soled "dad shoe" became a thing. New Balance doesn't rely on trends; their followers are loyal because their technology delivers performance and fit. The New Balance extra wide options are a bonus, but their line continually evolves with new technology like sculpted heel counters, for better feel and better runs. (New Balance is currently sold in our stores but is not available online.)
Next up for Deb - the New Balance 880, a neutral cushioned shoe with a soft fit. Deb liked the foamy feel, but again, her foot didn't sit quite right in the footbed. The New Balance mesh upper intrigued Deb - it looked light and inviting on days when the heat and miles add up.
Asics - Colorful Styles for Logging the Miles
With signature styles like the Gel-Kayano and Gel-Nimbus, Asics has street credibility and isn't afraid to add some spicy color. One of the first serious running brands, Asics is always a Danform high performer.
For Deb, perhaps the third brand will be the charm? The Asics Gel-Nimbus 23 cradles Deb's foot nicely with a made just for her kind of feel. Sean notices Deb is spending more time in this pair and checks in. Deb wonder if it's a little too wide? Sean adjusts the lacing and voila, the Asics feels great. One for the keeper pile!
FIT TIP: FOR THE MOST SECURE FIT, TAKE TIME TO LACE RUNNING SHOES FROM THE TOES TO THE TOP. YOUR FIT EXPERT EVEN HAS TIPS FOR LACING SPECIFIC FOOT TYPES!
Brooks - Perennial Danform Best Seller
Brooks wants you to run happy and every year lots of Danform customers do just that wearing signature models like the Glycerin and Ghost. Soft and snappy are two phrases we hear often about the Brooks lively feeling athletic shoes.
Two of Danform's most popular athletic styles, the Brooks Ghost and Brooks Glycerin are next in Sean's buffet. Proving that choosing a style based on best selling reputation isn't a useful strategy, neither Brooks model matches up to Deb's foot well enough to stay in contention.
Hoka One One - Rising with a BulletKnown for its eye-catching colorways and striking cushion profile, Hoka One One is one of Danform Shoes fastest growing brands. Hoka has faithful followers across so many customers - health care professionals love its all day comfort, service professionals recovering from injury love its support and distance runners stand by its cushion.
Hoka One One has been Deb's go-to brand for years. "The Bondi is my mini-van of athletic shoes. It might not scream hip, but the brand works so well for me, I keep going back."
Sean offered the slimmer Hoka One One Clifton, shown here, for a change of pace, but Deb stands by the Hoka One One Bondi's maximum cushion. However - plot twist! - the Bondi doesn't match up to the Asic's custom made feel. It stays in the mix, but Deb realizes her brand loyalty may be creating tunnel vision, preventing her from exploring other styles potentially better suited to her foot.
FIT TIP: THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN A PEBBLE IN YOUR SHOE IS A WRINKLE IN YOUR SOCK. INVEST IN QUALITY SOCKS TO REDUCE FRICTION AND ABSORB SWEAT.
On Running - Soft Landings followed by Explosive TakeoffsSpring 21 is On Running's first season with Danform and the brand is quickly making its mark!
Sean agrees the On Running Cloud X hugs Deb's foot with a touch of space at the toe, perfect! Plus, he notes, "it goes great with leggings and an iced coffee."
Step 6 - Decision Time
Deb's final choice, or should we say choices? The Hoka One One Bondi for its tried and true cushion and the On Running Cloud X. Deb likes the idea of having one pair with cushion in mind, and another for speedier workouts.
The Bondi has been Deb's insurance policy against injury for so long, she's not yet willing to part with it. With the number of miles she logs, both pairs will get plenty of use. Sean recommends testing a Superfeet pink footbed to give the Hoka One One Bondi the same cradled feel Deb loved in the Cloud X.
Our Fit Experts have a large selection of Orthotics to customize athletic shoes to your one of a kind foot! Orthotics, also know as footbeds, are an important component of treating, and proactively preventing, foot pain. Danform Shoes Rx program works with local physical therapists to help patients find the proper footwear for their special health needs.
For its part, the Cloud X delivered that starry romcom moment when two solemates meet. (We know. We can't help those shoe biz puns.) With Sean's pre-screening and under an hour invested, Deb leaves with a solid quiver: a fresh pair of her Hoka standby power walking shoes to go the distance as well as a lighter On Running option for snappy walks or even gym workouts.
FIT TIP: WHILE IT'S NOT NECESSARY TO OWN MULTIPLE PAIRS OF RUNNING SHOES, WEARING DIFFERENT SHOES CAN BE A FOOT HEALTHY WAY TO REDUCE REPETITIVE STRESS BY VARYING THE FOOT'S POSITION IN MOTION.
Feeling is believing. There is no wondrous online quiz that produces your perfect match. Finding the shoe that fits your foot defies click and pick technology. An in-person custom fitting at Danform Shoes puts you on the road to healthy, happy feet for a lifetime!