How to Find Your SOLE Mate


Posted by Coach April Corey

Finding the right running shoe is similar to finding your one true love. It takes a lot of frog kissing to find the perfect shoe. Just because a shoe has the perfect colors or look to match your outfit, it may not be the right one. Your running partner may be wearing the cutest looking shoes and she absolutely loves them, but running shoes are different for all runners. Once you dig into those really cute running shoes, you may find out that they aren’t what you are looking for. The shoe may be too narrow or wide in the toebox (the front of the shoe where your toes hang out), they hit your ankles at a weird spot or rub the side or back of your foot. 

Rest assured, there is a pair of running shoes that will be suited for your feet. One step to make the process of finding a running shoe easier is to find a reputable running shoe store with an experienced staff and have them do a gait analysis. This involves running on a treadmill while having your gait videoed. This allows an experienced staff member to get a good look to see if the runner pronates (runs on the inside of the foot), over-supinates (runs on the outside of the foot) or is neutral (runs on the middle of the foot). They will then select several shoes that will work for your gait type.

The running shoes will typically be one half to a full size larger than your regular shoes to account for swelling of the feet during running. This is about a thumbs width from your longest toe to the end of the shoe. Some people have wider feet than others, so a wide version of a shoe is another option. This is not the time to be modest with your shoe size, as comfort is of the utmost importance. Having your toes smash against the end of your shoes is not a pleasant feeling, so make sure there is some wiggle room.

There are multiple respectable running shoe brands on the market, so keep your mind open as to what works best for your feet, not the brand or color. The runner should try on all the shoes that the experienced staff member recommends and see what feels comfortable, both in length and width. Once comfort is established, the runner should then get back on the treadmill and see how the shoes feel while in motion. If all goes well, you'll have new shoes and be on your merry way to happy and comfortable running.

One of the benefits of buying from a reputable running shoe store, rather than a big box store, is that if you get home and go for a run with your new shoes and they aren't as perfect on the road as they were on the treadmill, you can take them back and try another pair of shoes, usually at no cost to the runner.

Happy running and I hope you love your new SOLE Mate!


April Corey is a USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach and has made South Mississippi her home for the past 17 years. With a full time job and two young children, April knows how and what it takes to go from being a couch-potato to an Ironman distance finisher on a time-crunched schedule. In the beginning, her goal was to “just finish” and now she regularly makes the podium at running and triathlon events. April has coached beginner and experienced athletes preparing for Sprint, Olympic and Half-Ironman distance events and has also coached her two children in several youth duathlon, triathlon and running events. She enjoys working with athletes of all levels of experience and helping them mentally and physically complete their races. She brings with her a deep desire and commitment to helping other achieve their personal fitness goals. April is an active member of the Ticking Tri Bombs, a USAT club. She can be reached at

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