If running is an item on this year’s resolution list, please don’t make either mistake of shopping the sale rack for new running shoes or getting the adorable ones you saw that hot shit at the gym wearing. Start by visiting a speciality running store to get some help determining the right shoes for your individual needs. But keep these few things in mind: wear something that you might actually run in (for example a running bra) and I would recommend leaving your brand loyalty and color preferences behind. Visiting a specialty store may take a little longer but you’ll get awesome customer service and pay roughly the same price. You’ll leave with the right shoe for you which can make all of the difference in the way you run in terms of performance, comfort, and injury prevention.
A visit to a store such as Fleet Feet Sports (which are all over the U.S.), will start with a consultation where you will be asked a few questions about your current running habits including type of running, frequency and distance you plan to run. It’s ok to be a little ambitious but be honest with your own profile, even if the salesperson is a hottie who probably runs 10K on an off day. The next step is to have your foot measured both while sitting and standing. Try not to resist the suggestion that your running shoe should be a half to a full size bigger than your street shoes. I was initially horrified when I was talked into a 9.5 since buying shoes for my 8.5 sized feet already bothered me but it was the most comfy my feet has ever felt while running. If you are new to running or don’t completely embrace it, you don’t want to begin with foot complaints. Your feet swell when you run and you need plenty of room in the toe box. Beware that you will probably have to demonstrate running for the running specialist (i.e. salesperson) so dress appropriately. Before my local store had a treadmill, they would watch you run down the street and back which was a site in my less than supportive nursing bra. They will watch your foot alignment and observe whether you over pronate (your foot rolls inward) or supinate (your foot rolls outward) when your foot hits the ground. Once you’ve learned something new about your own two feet, the specialist will bring out a couple of options (ranging in price and usually a couple of different brands) which he/she will have you demo to assess the way each fits while you determine comfort – both physical and in terms of price point. They will certainly make recommendations based on observation and knowledge but I’ve never felt pressured to go with something out of my comfort zone in terms of price.
So if you’re planning on hitting the road or the treadmill in 2013, start by carving out a couple of hours to prepare your feet. Running is one of the least expensive, most uplifting, and easily accessible forms of exercise and happy feet will give you one less excuse to get out there and do it!