Training Tip Tuesday – Treat your Feet

If you are a newbie runner, you are probably already guilty of this. If you are seasoned, you might only be half cured.

Lets talk sneakers. We need them. They are an integral part of the running package. But, damn, they can be a little pricey and how could one possible choose? There are so many out there on the market today; Asics, Newtons, Brooks, New Balance, Reebok, Saucony, Nike, Merrells, just to name a few…

Purple Sneakers

Purple Sneakers

Oh, wait a minute! THESE! They are PURPLE and they are on CLEARANCE.

WRONG!

Let’s start over.

Your feet are so important. They will do a majority of your running for you, so it is critical to get the right gear. And, I don’t mean go to the shopping mall and hit the nearest Athlete’s Foot or Foot Locker…or even Sports Authority or Dick’s Sporting Goods. I mean, go to a local Running Store. In fact, if there are a few in your area, plan to take an entire morning or preferably afternoon or evening (keep reading to find out why) and go to 2 or 3 of them. Why? Every running store has different employees. Some are seasoned runners. Some are retired pros. Some may be high school track athletes. ALL of them will have a different take on what sneakers you should be wearing.

Friendly Running Store Employees

Friendly Running Store Employees

But here is the MOST IMPORTANT THING.

Plan to bring along a pair of well worn sneakers. You want a pair that shows wear on the soles. The first employee that asks to look at your old sneakers? BING BING BING! Winner!

You can tell a lot by looking at the soles of your shoes. That super-smart employee can now tell if you pronate, supinate or if you are neutral.

  • Pronate means your ankles turn inward as you run.
  • Neutral means they stay about the same.
  • Supinate means they turn out just a wee bit.

Now, by reading those possible conditions, can you guess where the wear will be on your soles depending on which you do? Well, that employee can. And that same employee will also be able to tell if you are a heel planter or a mid foot planter…even a toe planter just by reading your soles. (No palm readers needed here!)

Once that is established, that overwhelming selection of sneakers is cut by 2/3. He/she has a range of shoes from which to show you, have you try on and demonstrate. He/She should also measure your feet. Yes,really! And he/she should suggest going a 1/2 size larger than what you measure. Why? Because your feet naturally swell as you run. They also swell throughout the day, so theoretically the best time to get fitted is either in the evening or after you run. You also want enough toe room to prevent toe jam and the potential of losing those piggy nails.

Ugly Sneakers

OK, Mrs. Jones. Here are the sneakers we recommend for YOU.

So, after a few measurements and deep sole examination, out he/she emerges with boxes of sneakers! This is the time where I urge you to IGNORE THE COLOR. Most local running stores don’t have the room to stock EVERY color. Try to put on your black and white sunglasses and imagine they are colorless. I know THIS IS HARD. But, do it! Worry about that last. Right now, you want to be able to slip on a nice pair of fitted sneakers that don’t poke or bind, and feel more like slippers than sneakers!

Tell them EVERYTHING you like about the shoe and EVERYTHING you don’t like. (Except the color). They’ll know which direction or brand to go to after they hear from you. Don’t just say “Oh, they are OK” or  “They’ll do” or “They are rubbing a little here but I think they’ll stretch out”. No, no, NO! You want to be astounded and amazed when you finally put on a pair of well fitted sneakers!

Be prepared. This may take 90 minutes or so in each store. We’re not fooling around here. After all, these are you FEET! You need them, not only to run, but to get you through the rest of your day!

Support your Local Running Store!

Support your Local Running Store!

OK, so now you’ve found them!! Thanks to Jack or Jill, the faithful running store employee and fellow runner, you found your sneakers! Oh, but the PRICE. No sale? No clearance? Probably not. These local stores do with what they have. Don’t be afraid to ask if they offer a discount to a first timer or if they have a customer card, or anyway to bring the price down a few dollars. They just may. Or they might steer you in the direction of a coupon.

But lets assume they can’t do anything else but offer you the box of sneakers in your hand. Buy them. After all, they did you a great service. Besides, you are going to want 2 pairs of sneakers anyway. It is recommended to alternate sneakers to allow the soles and cushioning to reform for 48 hours or so. When you get home, you can look online for a different color, and maybe a coupon code for a lower price. Oh, but they just might be able to get another color. Just ask! Many running stores will gladly place an order and your personalized shoes can be there within a few days.

Finally, re-visit this store every 6 months or so. Why? Your sneakers might actually go on clearance. Or perhaps you have lost 50 pounds (congratulations!) Guess what? Everything about your gait and footfall will change if you lose a substantial amount of weight, or if you have had a baby, or even recovered from a major injury, so get re-fitted!

Skechers Shape Ups

Remember these?

My biggest mistake as a beginner runner was starting off in Skechers Shape Ups. In fact, I owned so many pairs of them, I’m embarrassed to tell you how much money I made in the Shape Ups Lawsuit. (Let’s just say it paid for our summer rental this year.) I had the most unfortunate accident in them and twisted my left ankle grotesquely because the soles of the sneaker were so high and the ground was so low. After I healed and got fitted at my local running store, I actually learned that I’m a supinator with a left kick…and that a more minimal shoe works best for me. Who knew?

Now YOU do. So go treat your feet!

Final Check List:

  • Go late in the day or after a run.
  • Bring along a worn pair of sneakers.
  • Bring the socks that you like to run in.
  • DON’T bring the non-running spouse and the kids. This is YOUR time!
  • Be prepared to spend some time there.

Disclaimer: These training tips are based on my opinion and what has worked for me. I am not a doctor, or a trainer, or a professional athlete. This blog purely represents observations I have made in my 4 years as a runner. Always consult a medical professional before beginning a running or workout program. I am not liable, either expressly or in an implied manner, nor claim any responsibility for any emotional or physical problems that may occur directly or indirectly from reading this blog.

6 Responses to Training Tip Tuesday – Treat your Feet

  1. RunBikeThrow says:

    Good points! I’d like to add that many running stores these days have a treadmill with video camera, so they can analyze your gait in those new purple shoes. Not only can this lead to more appropriate shoes, you can see (and correct) some flaws in your running form. I’ve been able to work on excessive hip movement and wasted up/down motion this way.

  2. GREAT POST!! I used to sell shoes!!! (But not at a nice local running store) and this is all perfect. I would get super annoyed when people came in looking for “oh, I just need to walk around” and buy the most expensive running shoes….I would always thing, “hey you just want to walk around? You buy ME A pair of those super expensive running shoes, and you can have these on my feet, which are just fine for walking!” hahaha

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