Yesterday I had someone ask me why it’s so important to take the time, spend the money, and get yourself properly fitted for a pair of running sneakers. With resale sites selling old models of shoes for cheap, or the temptation to just pick the shoes that look the coolest, it’s hard to want to sit and have someone recommend the right shoes to get. However, it’s worth your time and a few extra dollars to pay full price for a pair of shoes.
1. You’re probably in the wrong size: A majority of the people I’ve worked with come in saying they wear one size, and come out with a half- to full-size larger. It’s important to know that it’s good to have room in the front of your foot to swell and so your toes don’t smash the front of the shoe. Do you get black toenails? This could be the culprit.
2. Are you neutral, or do you need stability/support? Even experienced runners don’t know the difference between neutral or support shoes. They may think that adding support will add more comfort for longer miles, however it will change how you land and potentially lead to injury. Depending on how your foot moves, a neutral shoe and an insert may be better fitting for you than a supportive shoe.
3. You’ll get the newest model: Many resale sites will sell you a cheap shoe, but not necessarily a new shoe. For example, Footlocker is selling a Asics Gel Kayano 21 (Original retail at $160) for $143.99. For someone who doesn’t know better, this shoe is almost 2 years old! (The 23 comes out in September). Shoes disentegrate even as they sit in the box. If you’re getting a shoe that’s been sitting for a year or more, you’re not going to get full mileage out of them, therefore not getting your money’s worth.
4. Having a problem? Ask a question! A majority of workers at a specialty running store run themselves. If you ask them about your calf or knee pain, training questions, or about long run nutrition, they will likely have a good answer for you. If not, they’ll know someone around who can answer your question. Tell your sales associate you have plantar fasciitis or calf pain, and they’ll roll out your calves and teach you the benefits of it. Having a hard time starting to run? They’ll talk to you about starting slow, and maybe even about run/walk.
5. You’ll get the sense of true service, or you should. Within a conversation with a customer and completing a “fit process” I can normally have someone out the door with their “perfect” shoe in 15-20 minutes. Many sales associates can. This isn’t because they want you out the door so they can help someone else, it’s because they know what they’re doing. They want you in a good shoe as well as you do, because they don’t want them to be returned. The associates spend time in the shoes, so they know what they feel like, and should be able to tell what you’ll like by your foot shape, running style, and different comments throughout conversation.
Before you go online and buy a cute shoe that’s under $100, think of the reasons why it’s that cheap. Even if you only get fitted for one pair of shoes a year, it makes a difference. Your new shoes will more likely actually last the 400ish miles that they’re made to live. It is even important to get re-fitted every couple of years, as your feet can change with time and through injuries.
Buying local at a running specialty store (not Dick’s, Nordstrom, or Sports Authority) can make a difference in how you feel when you run. It also keeps money in your local economy. It can also lead to participating in fun runs, training groups, and making new running buddies.
I’m linking up with Mar from Mar on the Run, Cynthia from You Signed up for What?, and Courtney from EatPrayRun DC for this week’s Friday Five today! Check out their pages to see some of the other posts!
Do you get fitted for your running shoes, or do you just buy the same thing over and over?
Do you have a favorite running store? If not, Find one here!
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**Disclaimer: While I am not a running expert, I do have nearly two years of experience working at run specialty stores. This advice comes from my training, experience, and opinions but is in no way absolute.** If you find it intriguing, check out a local running store!