My favorite shoe store is going out of business!
When I started training to run a miniMarathon, I decided that I needed to get properly fitted for shoes.
Now, it is more than possible to just go pick up a cheap pair of Nike or Adidas shoes and start running. No judgement here, because that’s what I did all through high school and college. The fact is, neither I nor my parents had the money to spare for special running shoes for me. I’ve run hundreds of miles in a $30 pair of Adidas, without having any problems.
What I began to consider was the wear and tear on my feet.
I know that humans have lived millennia without modern footwear technology. People spent their whole lives walking barefoot, or with thin leather sandals. Even today, some people that are inspired by our humble past will run whole marathons barefoot. Admittedly, I’ve tried running barefoot myself, but didn’t find it too comfortable in the short term. So, I know that our feet were built for the stress and demands of a life much harder than the one we lead today.
But, is having the wrong pair of shoes going to give me problems?
I randomly ran into the owner of this local shoe store and started a conversation with him about that very question. Turns out, he also works for a group of Podiatrists (foot doctors) fitting their patients with orthotics, so I knew I could trust him with my feet. He strongly encouraged me to come by for a fitting, especially since I was planning to put so many miles on my shoes in a short period of time.
I’m really glad I met him, because my fitting was awesome! Here’s what happened.
One Saturday morning, after I got off work, I went over to the store. They were super busy, but my new friend saw me come in and came right over to me. He set me up with one of their shoe experts and explained that I was planning to run a miniMarathon, as well as describing the problems I experienced when running in the $55 pair of Nike shoes I was using at that point.
The first thing she did was watch me walk in my shoes across the store and back. Then, I took off my shoes and walked down and back. I didn’t appear to have any major issues, so she was able to go to the back and grab a couple of shoes to try.
She fit me in a pair of Brooks and had me walk back and forth. I could tell right away the difference in cushion and weight between these and my Nike’s. It was like wearing air and walking on clouds. The fit wasn’t bad at all, but she wanted me to also try on a pair of Saucony’s.
As soon as I had the Saucony’s laced up, I could tell these were my shoes. Saucony EverRun’s. Wow! It was like God had made a glove for my foot! I think she could tell that I found those to be the best, so we did a few other walking tests and she packed them up for me.
The visit probably only took about 15-20 minutes total, but I cannot stress enough how much of a difference the new shoes made. They added way more comfort with a feeling of being significantly lighter than the Nike’s I was using. It was like wearing a memory foam mattress compared to an old coil spring mattress. And, for only an additional $50 or so, they were well worth the cost.
I did learn an important thing about breaking in the new shoes, however. When I wore the new ones for the first run, I picked a longer run (about 6 miles). I developed some blisters after the run and found the new shoes to be uncomfortable at first, which made me unsure of the new ones. I thought, “Now I’ve spent all this money on new shoes and they’re not going to work!” The truth is, the way the cheap shoes fit my feet had forced me to change where my foot would strike on impact. In the Saucony’s, my shoes let my feet glide across the ground. The discomfort I had with the new shoes faded quickly as I transitioned from one pair to the other over the course of a few weeks.
I still have that pair of Nike’s. Nowadays, I just wear them around as casual shoes. But, I can still tell a big difference between how my feet feel in them and my Saucony’s, even when I’m just walking.
If you enjoy running, and can afford to do it, you should prioritize getting a custom fit pair of shoes. Your feet will definitely thank you! After all, they’re doing all the hard work.