Up until about two years ago, picking out running shoes was simply finding some that looked great and also had my favorite colors on them. I didn’t take into account what kind of support they would give me. That thought actually didn’t even cross my mind only because I figured if they were new they had to be decent, right? Nowadays, I realize that’s not always the case.
I’m on my feet more often than not throughout the day. I spend most of my time in a typical work week standing, walking, running and demonstrating exercises more often than I find myself sitting and relaxing. Don’t get me wrong, I would not be very productive or happy sitting at a desk all day but the years of playing sports and being active has taken a toll on my body even at the young age of 28. This is what led me to the conclusion that finding the right shoes is very important and crucial to keeping my body healthy and supported.
Every six months or so my knees start to ache and hurt when I walk upstairs. They crack and crunch when I bend down and though it sounds awful, it’s not painful…yet. When all of this starts to wear on me, I know it’s time to visit the shoe store for a new pair or two.
I recently had a great experience at Performance Running Outfitters a couple weeks ago. Were my shoes expensive? Yes. Were they worth every penny? Absolutely. I recommend anyone who is active, in shape or trying to get in shape to go to a store that can check out your gait, watch you run or walk and put you in the shoe that best fits you. There are a lot of places that have more affordable prices but I guarantee the quality just won’t be there.
So I went to the store and told the employee there exactly what I use my shoes for. I think it’s important to get shoes based on the activities you plan on doing in them. I wanted a pair that I would be able to workout and run in but I also wanted some that I could be on my feet all day and feel comfortable when I’m training.
I think the best part of my experience was actually getting taped on a treadmill while running. It made it clear what my feet do when they strike the ground. It was very obvious that I pronate (when I run my feet strike the ground and go inward)…some people supinate, which is where they ground strike and their feet go outward. Look at the bottom of your shoe and see where the tread is the most worn. This will give you a vague idea of what your feet do each time they hit the ground.
The way you walk and run is just what it is. It’s nearly impossible to try to correct your gait by yourself especially as you get fatigued. With that said, there are ways to correct your gait and decrease your likelihood of getting injured. I could see just by watching my own running gait why people get hurt so often. My left foot would pronate as I stepped and it would naturally correct itself which is common. The right foot on the other hand would pronate as I stepped and wouldn’t correct itself. Eventually, the inability to correct the pronation would catch up to me and I’d probably suffer from some kind of injury.
This is where inserts come into play. I was fitted for an insert that would correct the issues in my right foot but not over-correct the non issues in my left. I could tell in a day or two of wearing them that I made the right decision in going to that store. I feel confident that I am supported from the bottom up. I even got a small selection of colors and picked out some neon green ones to encourage the spring weather to get here. I realize they aren’t as awesome as the shoes I used to get but they are thankfully awesome in a different way. They are functional, prevent injuries extremely comfortable.
So when looking for shoes, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What am I primarily going to use them for?
- What is my budget?
- Do I have any past or present injuries that would affect how I run or walk?
- Do I have any joint pain during physical activity?
These are all topics to talk about with when inquiring about new shoes. It’s important that if you’re going to invest in something, you get exactly what you want. Like I said before, there’s nothing more important than being supported from the bottom up. Think about a tree without sturdy roots…it would eventually fall or crack over time. Take care of your roots and make your feet happy.