Should Your Running Shoes be a Half-Size Bigger?

Getting the right running shoes for you is crucial, and it is the first step in having a good run. It may also be the difference between keeping your running passion and quitting. Fit is usually the most critical factor to consider while looking for the right shoe. So should your running shoes be a half-size bigger?

Numbness, blisters, and discomfort can occur if your shoe is too tight; to avoid this, many professionals suggest a half-size bigger running shoe.

However, finding the appropriate running shoe isn’t rocket science. Still, it does involve some basic information about fit, type, and performance, from proper measurement procedures and gait analysis to wearing socks and putting on shoes later in the day.

Keep reading to learn how to choose the best running shoe for you.

Why Should Running Shoes be a Half-Size Bigger?

Experts recommend that your running shoes should be a half-size bigger or full size bigger for some leeway for your toes to spread. Half-size bigger shoes fit perfectly for most people, but your shoe size changes during your life.

It also depends on how wide your feet spread when it touches the ground. If it spreads too much and feels tight in a half-size bigger shoe, go for one size bigger shoe. 

And if you’re still confused, good quality running shoe stores will offer a fitting service, so it’s worth asking their advice.

How Should Running Shoes Fit?

Decide Your Shoe Size

The first step in determining the perfect running shoes for you would be the correct size, including length and width.

Running shoes should be a snug fit at the heel and midfoot but should have enough wiggle space for toes. When you run, your foot touches the ground, spreading your foot in length and width. You should also wear the socks you usually wear for running to get the perfect shoe fit.

Choose the Correct Type of Shoes

Will you be jogging on the road, track, or a forest trail? The different surfaces would need different shoes, and another difference would be between running and training shoes. For most of the surface, a comfortable running shoe would work.

However, if you know on which surface you would mostly run, it would allow you to choose the correct & comfortable running shoes.

Know Your Stride

Everyone has a different running style and would need different running shoes depending on the type of feet. These types of feet are categorized into neutral, over-pronation, and under-pronation.

  1. Neutral: The heel contacts the ground first, followed by the forefoot and toes while running for neutral strides. Due to this, the body weight gets distributed evenly. Such runners should go for better heel cushioning and medial support shoes.
  2. Over-pronated: For an over-pronated stride, the inner heel touches the ground first, followed by the big toe while running. It becomes difficult to stabilize the body while running as the foot rolls inward. Such runners should look for shoes with better motion or stability shoes.
  3. Under-pronated: For under-pronated stride, the foot rolls outward as the outer heel touches the ground first, followed by the little toe while running. Such runners should look for shoes with quick heel-to-toe flexibility and cushioning.

Running Shoes Fit Tips

I would usually push my toes to the front of the shoes till the end and then slide one of my thumbs to check I had enough room for my toes later on.


If you’re buying from brick-and-mortar stores, I recommend wearing socks that you typically use for running, as this will ensure that your shoes aren’t too small. The thickness of the socks affects the overall comfort and fit of the running shoes. You may be using thicker socks during frigid winter and thin ones for summers. It makes a world of difference – so you might need different size shoes for each season.

Custom Insoles:

Orthotic insoles or custom footpads are specifically designed for your feet to reduce the stress on your feet. After removing the socks liner, insert your orthotic insoles or custom footpad to check if there’s still some space left for your toes to wiggle.

Trying Shoes Later in the Day:

You may not know, but your shoe size change in the evening. Your feet swell throughout the day when you walk or run, so it is best to try your shoes later in the day or evening. It may provide a more accurate idea of how your shoes will fit during the mid-run.

Thumb Width:

Stand up and check the shoe’s width once comfortably laced up. There should be roughly a thumb’s width of a gap between the end of your longest toe and the tip of the shoe to have more space for your toes to spread. It will prevent your toes from touching the end of the shoes during downhill runs or if your feet swell.


Your running shoes should comfortably grip your heels at the back of the shoe to ensure that your feet don’t slip out from the back. But it should also have some extra room for your toes for your feet to spread out. 


It would be best to resize your shoe every time you buy a new pair. Over time, your feet size changes, so it’s best to start with an accurate measurement.

Many people have one foot that is slightly larger or smaller than other feet. So, it’s best to size both shoes of the larger foot’s size.

How to Lace Your Running Shoes?

Concerning the correct fit, how you lace your shoes can create a significant difference. If you’re new to running and are unsure which lacing style to go with, you need to pay attention to your laces.

If your laces are too far apart, your shoes are too narrow, or lack enough volume. If your laces are too close, your shoes are too broad or have too much volume. The laces are neither too far apart nor too close if you have a correct fit.

Many runners are unaware of how much they can adjust the fit of their shoes by just changing the way they lace them.

Should You Buy Your Running Shoes Online or In-store?

You’re checking your email, and you saw that you had received an excellent offer for running shoes on some online store. So, should you buy it from there? No, all brands have a slight difference in their shoe sizes, and sometimes, the same brands have size differences depending on the shoe model.

So, it is recommended to visit a good running shoe store and try it. And nothing beats the feeling of trying the shoe and walking in it or maybe jogging in it if allowed.

Do Running Shoes Stretch?

In general, running shoes stretch a bit depending on the materials used. But it would be best if you went for the shoes that fit properly right out of the box. Unlike leather shoes, running shoes don’t stretch with usage, so choosing a comfortable pair right from the start would be the best bet.

Although your running shoes do not stretch, they will adjust according to your feet, and you may feel different after wearing them for a few days. And some of the reasons for that are:

  1. It moulds itself according to your natural feet shape.
  2. Depending on the materials, the shoe material may loosen up after a while.

It may take some time for the shoes to mould to your feet, so it would be best to walk around in them before any big race.

Advantages of a Proper Fit

Following are some of the advantages of a proper fit:

  1. It provides a comfortable and pleasurable run
  2. It allows you to focus on your performance rather than your shoe’s performance.
  3. It also gives you the motivation to keep running.
  4. Reduces or prevents calluses, blisters, and bunions.

The advantages of correct fit are apparent to see and feel. However, the disadvantages are not always obvious.

Disadvantages of Incorrect Shoe Size

If you’re experiencing numbness or tingling sensations in your toes, you may have knotted your laces too tightly and need to relax your laces. It may also be because your shoe is too thin or there isn’t enough volume for your feet to spread.

If your toes are bruised, it is likely because you don’t have a thumb’s width of space between your toes and the end of your shoes.

If they’re on your toes, it is likely because you don’t have enough space in your toe box. Maybe your shoes are a little bit bigger if they’re on the ball of your foot. 

If you’re getting blisters on your heel, it may be because the shoe is sliding at the back, and this rubbing is causing problems. 

Finally, walk around or run in your new shoes for a few minutes to ensure they’re not tight and rubbing. You should feel comfortable in them everywhere.

Key Takeaways:

Given all of the factors, finding the correct shoe size in your favorite brand and model may take some trial and error. You may have to go through this process again if you change your shoes or your favorite model gets updated. 

Your best choice is to consult with an expert such as a running shoe specialist, podiatrist, or physical therapist. They can recommend you several shoes after measuring your foot.

So before you go out and buy a new pair of running shoes, make sure to have your feet measured, and that too later in the day. Also, if you’re buying new shoes, consider going up a half a size or a full size to ensure solid run and stride.

Note: This information is not meant to replace medical advice. If you or someone you know is in pain, it’s always better to get professional assistance from an expert.

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