In Which Jenn Plays Fast & Loose With Running Shoe Sizes

Running shoes

I’ve been a loyal user of the Brooks Ravenna running shoe model for around eight years now, but I like to sprinkle in other models into my routine just to give it a try. For a brief period I was running in Nike Air Zoom Vomero 10s, which I liked a lot, but when Nike released the 11s I fell out of love.

Still, the Vomeros have hovered in the back of my mind – those 10s just fit so beautifully. Sometimes I wonder – what about the newer versions? Would they feel good again? They’re on the 14s now, so I looked up some reviews.

The Vomero 14 seems to garner mixed opinions, so for now I think I’ll hang tight and see how the 15s fare. But I did notice something interesting in the Runner’s World review: “The tongue stops at the top of the collar, so too-tight laces can cause irritation at the front of the ankle. If you tend to wear your running shoes tight, try a slightly looser fit with the Air Zoom Vomero 14 and let the new fit system do its job.”

This concept intrigued me – the idea of purposefully going up a size in running shoes. I mean, most of us wear a larger size in our sneakers anyway, since the foot needs more room to expand during our physical exertions. Indeed, a shoe fitter once told me that soccer players and dancers tend to wear their street shoes tight anyway, and as a member of the latter category I found that interesting. I was already going up a size from street shoe to running shoe, but what if I added an extra half size on top of that, for insurance?

So I did just that. My next pair of Ravennas I ordered in an 8.5 instead of my accustomed 8. I have a pair of size 8s that’s still in my training rotation, and they fit fine, but I wanted to see if that extra bit of room felt good or just floppy. Sometimes my toes get sore after a long run, and while I’ve never felt like my toes were bonking against the shoe, I thought some extra space might help.

Running shoes

And the verdict is: it feels good! I find I enjoy having extra room to spread my toes. I don’t feel insecure in the fit at all – no slipping or sliding. After all, a half size isn’t that much bigger, and there are other elements of shoe design that help keep the fit secure. I ran a 16 miler last week, and I haven’t noticed any toe soreness, either.

In short, I’m calling this experiment a success, and intend to continue buying a half size up in the Ravenna for the foreseeable future. I’m no fit professional, but if you’re having a bit of trouble with your shoes and you’re not sure what the problem is, maybe try a half size up and see how you fare. It might just be extra space you’re looking for!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

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