Technicals of the Running Shoe

Monday, June 27, 2016

Here's a simple guide to the technicals of the running shoe, to help you select the best style and fit for you.


This is the top part of the shoe and should be made from soft mesh that allows air and moisture to pass through.  During manufacture, it's stretched over the last or foot block to mould it into shape.  The mesh is strengthened with durable material and moulded plastic to hold the foot in place.


This is the part of the upper that surrounds the toe box.  You should be able to wiggle your toes in a well fitting vamp, but if you can pinch ¼ inch or 6 mm, the vamp is too loose.

Lace Holes

These are the eyelets fixed onto the eye stays to guide the laces that tighten the upper.  If you feel uncomfortable pressure under a particular eyelet/lace hole, you can miss it out when you're threading the laces.


When taut they pull the upper around the foot's arch and shouldn't feel tight or put too much pressure on any one point.  If you can feel the laces on your feet, they're either too narrow or the tongue isn't thick enough.


This is the soft material under the laces which protects your feet from the pressure exerted by firmly tied laces.  The tongue should lie completely flat between the lace holes when your shoes are tied.


These are strips of material that work with the laces and lace holes to mould the shoe closely to the shape of your foot.


This reinforced mesh works with the laces and lace holes to hold the middle of your foot firmly and give arch support.  The saddle should fit snugly to lock your heel in place and prevent slipping which causes blisters.


This should fit comfortably just below your ankle.  It's made out of soft material and its purpose is to give a snug fit at the back of the shoe.

Heel Counter

The overall fit of a running shoe depends on your heel being held firmly by this stiff material.  If you tap your foot back into the heel counter it should lock firmly and comfortably in position.

To get a perfectly fitting running shoe you should check all these technical points.  And when you're first past the post, your feet will still be in a good, healthy condition!

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