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

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