About two months ago (yes, I know, this should have been written long ago!), Preston and I were fit for running shoes. This is something that Preston and I had talked about doing for quite some time, but for one reason or another kept putting off. Up until two months ago, my criteria for running shoe selection was based on a combination of comfort and what was on sale at DSW – not really the smartest or safest way to go about selecting running shoes.
After Preston ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon at the beginning of September, one of his big toenails became completely purple. While we thought it was going to fall off, it has yet to do so. Instead, what we’ve discovered is that blood has been caught between his skin and his toenail, and its slowly draining out as his nail grows out.
His toenail was our final push into our local Road Runner Sports, where we were both professionally fit for shoes. During our professional fitting, we discovered a couple of key components about both of us and running, namely that:
- Preston’s feet are two different sizes, and he was wearing a shoe that was half a size too small on the foot with the bloody toenail
- When I run, I tend to run with my feet turned out (although my many dance teachers would be proud of me for keeping turned out, this isn’t great for my stability while running)
- I have extremely high arches and my arches weren’t being properly supported by the shoes I had been wearing
Our fitting was an extremely enlightening experience, which resulted in us not only having insoles molded to the shape of our feet, but that we walked out of the store with properly fitting and supporting running shoes.
Prior to being fit for shoes, I was skeptical about whether or not being properly fit would be successful. Over the past two months, I have become completely sold on this process. When I think back to my many years of dance, particularly the later part of my dance career which included pointe dancing, I didn’t just wear pointe shoes as they were when they arrived in the box. Nor did I wear the same brand and/or style of pointe shoes as my friends did since our feet were of all different sizes and shapes. Many non-dancers may not realize this, but pointe shoes arrive without the ribbons and elastic sewn on. This allows for dancers to completely customize their shoes, similar to the way that my molded insoles provide the specific support that my feet need when I’m running.
Over the past two months since I’ve switched from wearing Asics to Mizunos, I have found that not only are my arches better supported, but that I also have much less ankle pain when I run. Ever since I sprained my ankle back in April, I haven’t been able to shed my ankle brace when I’m running, despite the strengthening exercises that I’ve been utilizing. However, I’ve found that my ankle brace fits much better inside of my Mizunos than it does in my Asics, another reminder of why getting fit for properly fitting shoes is so critical.
During our fitting, Preston and I were reminded of the general guidelines for the life of running shoes: that they should be replaced every 300-500 miles, depending on the wear and tear of the shoe. We also learned that you shouldn’t run or walk in the same shoes on back to back days. Because of Preston’s current training for the Dopey Challenge, he walked out with two new pairs of shoes, and I continue to wear my old Asics on my training walks since walking doesn’t require the same level of support as running does.
My biggest takeaway from this experience: there is a perfect glass slipper out there for every foot. If you haven’t found it yet, find a local running store that offers professional shoe fitting, as they’ll likely be able to be your Prince Charming of Running.
For more tips and advice about buying running shoes, be sure to check out this article from Runner’s World.
QOTD: Have you ever been fit for running shoes? Did you find it to be a worthwhile experience?