If you are a runner, even a beginner who has yet to claim the "runner" title, it is definitely worth your time to go to a specialty running shoe store to find shoes that are truly made for your feet and gait. Now I have been through many pairs of running shoes over the years... kind of obsessively. Not a heel girl, but definitely have some Imelda Marcos in me with my selection of fitness shoes. I used to only buy my running shoes based on how they looked. They had to be cute, have great color, typically needed a certain swoosh, and that was all that mattered. As time went on, they also had to be comfy, but I still required the cuteness factor.
In my old-er, wise-er years and after four knee surgeries, I finally decided to do some more research on what are the best running shoes for my feet and also for my joints. I sought out a speciality running store that awakened me to a wealth of knowledge. Wow! Talk about an experience that has made working out so much more comfortable and pain free.
So what's involved in the specialty running shoe experience? First, it's personal. The sales person asks about your activity (high intensity/lots), mileage (not much!), and what concerns I had about my shoes. I said they have to be versatile enough for running or circuit training, enough cushion for my achy knee joints, and of course, they had to be cute! I'm sure the guy was rolling his eyes at that requirement. Second, they put me on a treadmill with a camera behind to video tape my running form and to look at my foot strike. Prognosis- supinator & moderately high arches. That would mean I would need a neutral shoe. I didn't know there was such a thing as a neutral shoe. I knew the difference between supination and pronation, but didn't know the population tended to trend in a certain way. Yep, I'm an oddball once again! Apparently the large majority of the population are pronators, which means the ankle rolls in more upon heel strike. There are a wider selection and style of running shoes made for that population of pronators. Unfortunately, I'm one who supinatesand therefore my ankle rolls out more and I tend to have a lot of pressure on the outside metatarsals. The bummer about this is there isn't a wide selection of neutral shoes out there, and to be honest, they look like bricks! Ugh!
So the salesperson brings out a couple styles of neutral shoes for me to try on. First impression, UGGGGLY! They look like bricks, and one of the two that he brought out were gold and green. Um, gold isn't really my color. I'll leave those to the leprechauns... So trying to have an open mind (yeah right!), I try the first pair on and miraculously, I am so dumbfounded on how comfortable they are! What a difference to have shoes on your feet that actually feel like they were made for your feet. Plenty of cush and comfort! I did another treadmill test and realized these were definitely the properfit shoes for my feet. Awesome! Now, the only thing holding me up--- had to buy the other blue pair because my last requirement was they had to be cute! Mission accomplished.
Such a wealth of knowledge that I learned and now when I buy a new pair of running shoes, I know to look for the neutral styles. I've tried a few different brands and styles and now have it narrowed down so I am confident in buying a pair online and having them fit like a glove with all the comfort.
I strongly suggest you seek out your local speciality running shoe store before you purchase your next pair of running shoes. It is time so well worth spent and the information was invaluable!
Happy running or training!