The 26.2 with Donna marathon runners had some stiff competition last weekend with Tesfaye Girmafrom Ethiopia finishing the race with a record time of 2:15:40. Most of us can only dream of running a marathon in that time or opt for rocket boosters on our shoes to do so. When running in these races it is very important to have the right type of shoe. When buying athletic shoes, may people are more worried about getting a particular brand name, or a style that is “in” or looks “cool”, than they are about whether or not the shoe actually fits their foot and is comfortable. The truth is that all of these can be accomplished simultaneously if the correct considerations and evaluations are taken prior to shoe shopping. These considerations are especially important in an active person, or athlete searching for the best athletic shoes. To many people, shoe styles and materials may look the same, but all shoes are not created equal. The first thing that anyone shopping for shoes should consider is what size they need, in length and in width. This can be accomplished with a Brannock foot measuring device,available at many shoe stores. This device has different measurements for both males and females, and not only measures the overall length and width of the entire foot, but also measures the arch length, the length from the heel to the ball of the foot. This is important because shoes are designed to flex at the ball of the foot, and properly positioning the ball of the foot in the shoe can prevent toe crowding, pressure, and the general uncomfortable nature of an ill-fitting shoe. Feet should be measured at the end of the day, after they have endured all of the day’s stresses and impact acting on them. A proper fitting shoe should leave around a quarter inch between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. If one size feels too small and the next size up feels too large, either try a different brand of shoe or choose the larger size. Shoes that are too small or constricting can cause injury to the toes such as calluses, contractures, bruising, loss of the toenail, bunions, and can predispose toenails to nail fungus, called onychomycosis. The best way to ensure that you get an athletic shoe that fits properly and is the perfect fit for your foot is to make an appointment with a podiatrist. Here at First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic, Dr. Reddy can evaluate your foot type to help you pick the right shoe for your foot. He can also dispense items that help with shoe fit and function such as orthotics that are worn in shoes. Regardless of whether you decide to make an appointment before purchasing your new shoes, or bring them with you after, we look forward to helping you find that perfect fit.