Custom DPS
Custom DPS (courtesy, Hersey)
Gear Guy

How can I get a running shoe to fit comfortably?

I've been unable to find a pair of running shoes that don't hurt my feet when I go jogging. Do you know where I can order a pair of good running shoes that can be customized for my feet? Jeff Cupertino, California

Custom DPS

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Are you sure your shoes are causing the problem? Running shoes these days are so well-designed and well-cushioned that I have a hard time believing you can’t find a pair that offer some comfort. Perhaps you should start this process by visiting a podiatrist. You might have some issues that require correction with an orthotic, which then could be placed in any shoe for a better fit and more comfort.

Custom DPS Custom DPS

That said, it is indeed possible to buy custom running shoes. For a price, of course. The Hersey Custom Shoe Company in Wilton, Maine, makes several running shoes, among them the Original and the Custom DPS. They’re not the most high-tech-looking shoes on the market, but they’re extremely well-made and use high-quality materials. They are not throwaway shoes—you can have them re-soled several times before they head to that Great Shoe Store in the Sky.

Hersey’s website ( offers detailed instructions for making a pattern they can use. Basically, you need to make a tracing of your foot and mark any abnormalities such as corns. They’ll then make a last (a form on which the shoe is built) to make the shoe of your choice. It isn’t a cheap process: the charge for making the last is $150 (although that’s a one-time expense). The shoes run between $200 to $250 depending on the model, and several options could boost the per-shoe price to almost $300.

Hersey shoes may be the solution to your problems. But…I’d still see a foot doc first.

Discover of world of running-shoe comfort in Outside‘s
2004 Buyer’s Guide

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021 Lead Photo: courtesy, Hersey