How to rock your shoe fitting: a guide

How to rock your shoe fitting: a guide


Visiting a running store for your first shoe fitting can be intimidating. Believe me, I know. In fact, all of us at Runners’ Retreat know what it feels like. We’ve all been there before because we all began our running journey once.

When I visited a specialty running store to be fit for shoes, the employee asked me to run a treadmill with a video camera on my gate. Crap, I thought. Really? I had started running on my grandparents’ very private road where no one could see me. So getting videoed was a terrible idea! But I hopped on the treadmill anyway. He pointed out on the screen that I do something called pronation. I couldn’t see what he was talking about, but I figured he knew what he was doing. And apparently the shoes he selected for me corrected my gate. I still couldn’t see what he was talking about, but walked out of the store with a new pair of running shoes that I loved! And, I avoided a lot of injuries.


A shoe fitting can be intimidating for runners, especially shy newbies like me. But it’s well worth it. It’ll help you be successful and make running more enjoyable than it can be otherwise. And with this helpful guide, you’ll have an even more successful fitting experience by avoiding common blunders like wearing a dress (not recommended based on personal experience).

First, wear comfortable, athletic clothes. We’ll watch you walk and/or run and need to be able to see your feet and ankles. So, we highly recommend wearing shorts or capris (weather permitting).

Bring your old running shoes for us to examine if you have them. We’ll check for things like wear patterns to help us figure out what your gate is like.

Be prepared to answer questions! We’ll ask you lots of questions like “how much do you run a week?” or “do you have or have you had any running related injuries?” And please don’t answer with “Well, I’m not a real runner.” Are you getting off the couch, putting your shoes on, and hitting the treadmill or road on a regular basis? Have you ever run in a race? Then you’re a runner. It’s a lifestyle, not a number of miles run in your lifetime.

And try to relax as much as you can. We’re here to help you. And the more you relax, the more normal your gate will be when you walk or run.

Finally, be prepared to ask questions! No stupid questions exist. Here’s some great ones to ask us:

  • How’s my gate? Anything I can do to improve it?
  • Do you recommend a second pair of shoes?
  • Would I benefit from inserts in my shoes?
  • What does [fill in the blank] mean?
  • Do you have any shoes on clearance?
  • Is it normal for this shoe to feel like [fill in the blank]?

This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list. We love answering your questions, so throw ’em at us.

Most importantly, make sure you allow at least 30 minutes for the fitting process. The fitting process is supposed to be fun! It’s a great step toward achieving your goals, and we’re here to help you.