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A Buyer’s Guide to Properly Fitted Shoes Based on the Sport

How a shoe should fit each individual athlete can make the difference between 1st and 2nd base, safe and out, first down or touchdown, or a win or a loss. Check out this guide to learn how sport-specific shoes should fit the wearer.


-Leave some space (¼ to ½ inch) between the big toe and the end of the shoe.

-In terms of width, the foot should fit comfortably without feeling too snug or too loose.

-It’s alright if the heel moves a little, but ensure it’s not slipping and sliding to prevent potential injury.

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-Make sure the toes have enough room to comfortably move while the player stands up straight. -Both the heel and the width should fit snugly.

-Players in between sizes should consider choosing a shoe that’s tighter as opposed to too loose.

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-Soccer cleats should fit like a glove around the toe area, but not so much that the cleat restricts movement.

-Aim for a close fit in the heel and width due to the limited amount of padding and a firmer structure.

-Newer “high-top” designs should be snug around the ankle.

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-Similar to basketball shoes, leave about a thumbnail length of room between the big toe and the end of the shoe.

-Stability is key in tennis, so the shoe must fit closely around the heel and width of the foot to maximize lateral movement and reduce slipping.

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-Weightlifting shoes have a tendency to feel especially uncomfortable when first using them.

-The fit needs to be tight around all areas of the foot (but not painfully so) to allow for more control and greater transfer of power to the bar.


-A little wiggle room is a good thing for a runner’s toes, so leave anywhere from ⅜ to ¼ of an inch of space in the toe area.

-The width needs a secure but comfortable fit to help prevent rolled ankles.

-The heel should have very little or no slippage at all.

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-The key to a properly fitted volleyball shoe is one that moves with the foot but keeps it from moving inside the shoe.

-A close fit in the heel and width works best.

-Leave a finger width or less of space at the tip of the shoe.

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-The key phrase for cheerleading shoes is “comfortable-tight.”

-Find a pair with around ¼ inch of space around the toe.

-Choose a close fit around the heel and width.

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-Wrestling shoes are meant to be tight, which is why most run a half-size smaller than normal shoes.

-They should feel snug around all parts of the foot, even after they stretch out after repeated use.

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-To avoid blisters, leave at least ½ inch of space between the big toe and the top of the cleat.

-The heel and width should be snug, but not so much as to stretch out either area.

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