Q&A Wednesday

I just started running, what kind of running shoes should I buy?

This is an excellent question that you can easily have a million different responses to. Everyone will have their own preferences and sometimes finding your dream shoe can be trial and error.

Some people are very casual runners and will never race or run more than a couple miles a couple of times a week. Is it completely necessary for those people to invest in multiple pairs of running shoes? Probably not.

But a great running shoe really can change how you feel when you run.

Believe it or not, I ran for 2/2.5 years before I finally decided to invest a “running shoe”. The shoes that I wore during that time were heavy and all leather. They were truly meant for walking… and probably casual walking at that. But, at the time, I didn’t know there was a difference.

On the advice of a friend, I went to get fitted for a running shoe. I had no idea what that really was, but since I had zero idea of where to even begin with buying a running a shoe, I figured that was the best place to start.

I headed to my local running store. Once there, I was given a neutral shoe and asked to run on a treadmill briefly while my stride and footfall was video recorded. Once I was done, it was played back to me and the person assisting me carefully explained what I was seeing… Unfortunately, that knowledge went right over my head since I was still too much of a novice to understand any of it. I was then brought several different shoe options to try out… even better, I was allowed to run in them briefly on the treadmill to get a feel for them.

Overall, it was a great experience, especially since I had zero idea what the difference between all the shoes was.

I replaced them after I got to around 300 miles on them. The general rule of thumb is to replace your shoes about every 300 miles. Some people prefer to replace them more often or less often. I have also noticed that some brands require replacement sooner than other brands. Eventually, you will get a feel for this.

After about a year and a half, I decided I wanted to try out a different shoe. So I went to get fitted again at my trusty running store. Again, I went through the process and came out pretty happy.

Another year and a half later (and after reading Born To Run), I was intrigued by the barefoot running movement and wanted to give it a try, so I get a pair of Vibram’s. Honestly, I loved them, but eventually they gave me tendonitis. I also noticed that on my longer runs, areas on the bottom of my feet would feel bruised. So I got another pair of minimalist shoes that had more cushion in them. Over the next 8 months or so, I would rotate shoes. Overall, I liked this because it meant the mileage got spread out over more than one pair of shoes. But eventually, I realized, this just didn’t work for me.

At that time, I decided to go back to the same brand/model that I had initially been fitted for. This is the shoe I run in now and really, I love it, so it will likely be the shoe that I stick with… but I do still have all those other pairs of shoes. I was happy with the first pair of shoes I got fitted for but not everyone will have that same experience.

Happy Shoe Shopping!

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4 thoughts on “Q&A Wednesday

  1. I finally found a pair of shoes I liked and then they discontinued them. So, I went on ebay and Amazon and bought eight pairs at half price. Once I am done with those I am not sure what I’ll do! Hopefully I’ll find something that works for me.

  2. I think going to a running store is key. A lot of people at a general sports retailer aren’t trained in gait analysis so you might wind up over or under supported. Kudos to you for running in Vibrams! I know I’d injure myself if I tried to do that. Too little cushion, too little heel-toe drop for me! 🙂

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