Running Shoes 101: How Not To Spend A Million Dollars
Buying new running shoes is the bane of my existence. When I first started running I ran in shoes that were 1.5 sizes to small. Then I went through 3 different pairs of shoes that were either too small, wrong for my feet, or painful all because I had no clue what I was doing. Whenever I go shoe shopping I get all sorts of anxious and I ask myself, “Do I like them?” “Will they make my long runs happier?” “Will they last?” “What can I wear them with?” “Do I love them?” It's a big commitment! These are shoes that I will more time with than family, friends, and significant others combined. Not only that but running shoes are expensive! And running in the wrong ones can lead to injury!
If you don’t know what you are doing, I got your back. I know there are a billion articles that review the latest and greatest shoes and it stresses me out. I’ve read them all and I'm still sitting here like, "What does this mean!?!?" There are shoes for pro-nators, not pro-nators, and for high arches or flat feet. WHY IS THIS SO HARD!? Learn from my mistakes. Here’s everything you need to know about buying running shoes.
1. Go To A Specialty Running Store to Get Fitted Because Size Matters
This is the most important rule. I wear a size 10 women’s shoe but in running shoes I wear an 11.5 D or a men’s 10. RIGHT! MY FEET ARE HUGE! It depends on the brand because they all fit differently. So it’s important to go to a store, get measured, and do a running test. They have you run on a treadmill, find out if you’re a pronator or a not pronator (Pronator: Your foot rolls to the inside Supinator: Your foot rolls to the outside.) and they measure your arch.
Rule of thumb: Flat feet=stable shoe, High Arches=curved shoe.
Don’t Panic. The specialty running stores are there to help you. You want shoes that your feet can wiggle in. There should be a thumb width between your largest toe and the end of the shoe. They should not feel tight.
I had this problem when I bought my latest shoe-I have feet that are a good ½ size different. Do you buy for the larger foot or the smaller? I bought for the larger and this was a mistake. I had to swap them out for the smaller when I realized I was running in clown shoes.
2. Shop For Shoes After 4:00pm Wearing Your Running Gear (as if you were going to go for a run).
As the day goes on your feet swell. You may end up with shoes that are too small if you shop at the beginning of the day. And as you try shoes, you are going to be placed on a treadmill so you can really test different shoes out. Run in them for 5 minutes; don’t just run down the hall. Really try them out!
3. Write the Date You Buy Your Shoes In
Technically you are only supposed to wear shoes for 6 months or for 500 miles (whichever comes first) so writing the date you buy your shoes helps you remember when the time comes to replace them. (I’m poor and replace shoes when I need too. My last pair had over 1000 miles on them and I blew through the backs. OOPS.)
3. DON’T BUY THEM THEN AND THERE!
No one will tell you this but look, there is almost a 100% chance you will be able to find them cheaper online. When you narrow your selection down and find the shoe you want, write it down. Get the brand, style, size, width, and color and leave the store. YOU MAY COME BACK! But go online, check ebay, amazon, zappos, and Google it. If you can’t find them online for cheaper, go back to the store and ask if they have loyalty programs-they normally cost $20 but it will pay for itself in shoes, energy gels, foam rollers, and gear alone.
Let’s talk about my latest shoe drama. It took me an ENTIRE MONTH to get these shoes and they are just about the ugliest things that have ever happened to me. They tell you not to buy shoes based on looks but these are HIDEOUS. I am the Girl With the Green Dragon Shoes. I bought the original pair about a month ago after the Pride Run. I went into Jack Rabbit-
Mistake 1: At 11:00am.
Mistake 2: In a strapless romper and strapless bra.
Mistake 3: Asking for something specific.
First of all, the sale’s associate was ridiculously dreamy and he must have been distracted by my jokes because he let me walk out of the store with a men’s size 10.5 running shoe. I had my old running shoes with me and Jack Rabbit didn’t have any 11.5 D women’s running shoes. He casually suggested that I try a size 10 men’s running shoe, “Since my feet were so big and wide.” Hold on while I fling myself off this building! Oh haha dreamy sales associate, yes I am aware my feet are too large for my 5’7” body. But you know what they say about big feet…big egos. So joke’s on you. I tried the men’s size 10 in the latest edition of my old shoe and was worried they were too small so we tried the 10.5. I couldn’t get on a treadmill because I was in a strapless bra and strapless romper so I took a quick walk in them.
Mistake 4: Not trying them running on a treadmill
After my quick walk I decided they felt great and bought them.
Mistake 5: Not searching online for a cheaper pair.
So I went about my day and got up to go for my long run the following day. I put my new shoes on and realized they were too large. Angry, I got online and found them online at Road Runners Sports for $25 cheaper (More like $15 when shipping got involved) and they arrived 3 days later. I placed them on my feet and thought, “What the hell! The left foot (my bigger foot) is WAY too small! The 10.5 is too big and the 10 is too small!” I took them off and found they had sent me a size 9.5 left foot and a size 10 right foot! This would have been awesome if it was a size 10.5 left and 10 right. Everyone would win but no such luck! So I sent them back for an exchange and TWO WEEKS LATER got an email saying they didn’t have a size 10 in stock!
Angrily, I went online and found them at Sport’s Authority for $25 cheaper WITH FREE SHIPPING! Winner winner chicken dinner! So I ordered them and a week later, this is what I got.
Not black, blue, and white like I had ordered but HIDEOUS dinosaur shoes. I took them for a test spin yesterday and though I had the regular aches and pains associated with breaking in new shoes, I love them. I look down and laugh at how ridiculous my giant feet look in these bright shoes but at this point, I don’t care. I am now the girl with the dragon shoes and I am wearing them like a badge of honor. It’s a nice reminder that I am too dramatic for my own good. So if you see a girl snapping selfies and running the Brooklyn Bridge in some strikingly bight dragon like trainers, wave, hoot and holler, because that’s me.
Until tomorrow friends, #RunSelfieRepeat.