The Sole of a Runner

If there were one piece of advice I received as a new runner that made the biggest difference, it was to get professionally fitted for shoes. And it’s the first piece of advice I’ll give anyone who asks me for advice.

Shoe fitting

Get thee to a professional.

I’ve always had big, sweaty, difficult-to-fit feet. While they’ve gotten smaller since I’ve lost weight — yeah, a whole size and a half or so — they’ve not gotten any less sweaty or any less difficult-to-fit. I have hyperhydrosis and have to use medication on my feet every night so I don’t slip and slide around in my shoes all day. And my ankles have had their fair share of sprains and strains over the years. Don’t get me started on my tight arches that can make for an  uncomfortable run. Or, at least, they did. I’ve gone through several pairs of “just fine” shoes and tried several brands since I started running. Brooks. Saucony. New Balance. Reebok. You name the brand, I’ve probably worn it. Well, except Nikes. I have never in my life owned Nikes. Until now.

Nike LunarElite+ 2

My new Nike LunarElite+ 2

These are, perhaps, the most comfortable pair of shoes I’ve ever had on my feet. They fit like a glove. I didn’t even have to spend time breaking them in. They were outta the box, on my feet and running before I had a chance to say “Shoe, Fly Shoe.” Reasons I love them:

  1. Comfort like a barefoot walk in the grass
  2. Support in all the right places
  3. Light as air
  4. Can’t-go-wrong color (So sick of being forced into pink or purple shoes because I’m a woman.)

But it wasn’t a quick shopping trip. My second piece of advice? Be ready to spend time and energy finding just the right shoes. If there’s something I know for sure, the time and money it takes to get a comfortable pair of shoes is well spent. I tried on at least 10 different pairs of shoes. All colors. All brands. All styles.

Lots of shoes

Oh, yeah. This is gonna take a while.

I was lucky enough to have a very professional and patient shoe-fessional helping me out. He watched me run in my current shoes, and he watched me run barefoot. He had me walk around the store while he watched how my feet moved and body reacted. He put me on the treadmill at my goal half marathon pace. He listened to what I thought I wanted …

Two shoes

I thought I wanted to go really lightweight and minimal.

… and then showed me what my feet needed.

More shoes

Turns out I needed more support.

And he helped me find the shoes I never knew I could love. But I do. Oh, boy, do I. These babies are going to take me through my half marathon in style. Sweet, comfortable style.

The winner

And the winner, my dream-come-true shoes.

But — and this is a very big but — please don’t take my word for it. If you’re looking for shoes, yeah, I recommend you give these a try-out at the store. But I also recommend that you try out as many other shoes as you can. I was shocked to find that Nikes worked best for me, as I’ve never had luck with them before. I can’t tell you what pair of shoes to buy because I don’t have your feet. I don’t have your stride. I don’t have your build. Or your height. Or your arches. Or the same blister-prone spots as you.

If you’re in the market for new running shoes, do yourself a big favor, and block out some time in your schedule to spend the needed time to visit a shoe-fessional and try on lots and lots of shoes. Trust me, your feet (and knees and calves and back) will thank you.

“No doubt a brain and some shoes are essential for marathon success, although if it comes down to a choice, pick the shoes. More people finish marathons with no brains than with no shoes.” ~Don Kardong

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One response to “The Sole of a Runner

  1. Pingback: Lessons from Training « That's All Joy Wrote

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