Some people think I have a problem.
My husband included.
Some might say I have a fetish.
This photo is of all of the usable running shoes I have in the closet. And yes, there are some unusable ones in there that are well past their sell by date (and yes, I really should get rid of them).
The right tool for the job
But, as Rob, the store manager at The Athlete’s Foot store in Lower Hutt, pointed out, there’s a right tool for every job. And that’s why getting a proper fit is vital.
Depending on how you’re planning to use the shoes, and also your own physiology and running style, will determine what style of shoe you need.
I was in the store to get a new pair of running shoes to use in training for Ironman 70.3 in Taupo in December http://ap.ironman.com/triathlon/events/asiapac/ironman-70.3/taupo.aspx#axzz4AfimR6tM].
Now if you’re not familiar with what this entails, let’s just say it’s running a half marathon AFTER you’ve swum 1.9ks and cycled 90ks. So think about running a half marathon (21.1ks) on pretty tired legs and you’ll kind of get the picture. And the training takes its toll on the old legs too, rarely having a day off. This means you can’t simply go into a store and pick up the cheapest pair, or the ones with the prettiest colour!
In the pile of running shoes I have at home, there are some I wouldn’t dare run in for more than 5ks and others I’d happily do a half marathon in. Some I wouldn’t use outside a Group Power class at the gym.
The yellow pair are the ones that got me through last year’s Ironman 70.3, but that means they’re nearing the end of their life after pounding the pavements for several ks with me last year. I needed to find a new pair that could join me for this year.
Find the perfect shoe for you
As Rob pointed out, people need different levels of support depending on how they run, how stable their ankles are, and also how much running they’re going to do. So the best way to find your perfect shoe match is to have a Fitprint shoe fitting done.
The first thing he did was find out what I planned to use the shoes for. Knowing it was for endurance sport gave him an idea of the length of time I’m likely to be in the shoe. He then measured both feet, both length and width. Most people have one foot that’s bigger and I’m no different (good to know I’m normal in some respects!). But I also know I have a pair of boats for feet (I.e. they’re pretty wide!)!
That gave Rob plenty to start with but he had a few other tricks up his sleeve before even putting any shoes on me. First he put me on the Fitprint® analysis mat to find out where I place the most pressure in my feet when I’m just standing still. I favour my right quite heavily, but then I have been carrying a long term hamstring tendonosis injury in my left leg. This could be contributing to my favouritism! But it also showed I had a pretty neutral arch, so don’t need extra support there.
And lastly he asked me to walk on the treadmill. This showed him if I’m likely to pronate in either direction (inwards or outwards) or if I’m neutral. Luckily I’m neutral and have nice strong ankles so I don’t need a lot of support.
Put them to the test
Rob pointed out the shoes he wanted me to try. He ideally wanted to put me in the latest Asics Nimbus 18 but was concerned that the lack of a wide fit might feel restrictive on long runs. This is something I’ve experienced before when I’ve bought shoes that were a good bargain (aka the wrong tool for the job!). But he had some other ideas too.
|Asics Nimbus 18||New Balance Fresh Foam 1080||Asics Gel Cumulus 17|
The second I slipped my foot into the Nimbus I knew it wouldn’t work for me. On longer runs your feet expand and I immediately felt restriction in the shoe without even walking on it. On the other foot, I tried the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 in a wide fitting. Compared to the Nimbus this felt too big! New Balance tend to be on the wide side anyway so having the wide fitting as well left my foot ‘swimming’ in the shoe.
A little ‘catwalk’ through the store confirmed the initial thinking, which was then cemented when I went for a little jog on the treadmill. While both were comfortable on that short little run, I imagined that I should feel like Cinderella when I had the right shoe on. That it would feel like a million dollars! And neither shoe left me feeling anything like ball-ready.
I imagined that I should feel like Cinderella when I had the right shoe on.
Run with Confidence
So we discarded both. I then tried the Asics Cumulus 17 in a wider ‘D’ fitting. This shoe felt very natural, nice cushioning and enough room in the width to allow my feet some room to grow on those endurance runs. I felt like I was ready to go to the ball! Going for another little spin on the treadmill gave me the confidence I needed.
And let’s face it. They’re a pretty nice colour too!
These shoes and I will share many hours and numerous kms over the coming months, so we have to get on well. They will need to be my best friend.
So let the relationship begin!