WEEKLY TOPIC – Running and Walking shoes –
As many of you may know, Liza works part time at a running specialty store. She started working in the industry 7 years after she started running, but she started shopping for her running shoes at a run specialty store about 3 months after she started running. She started shopping at a run specialty store because she made the rookie mistake of going to a big box store and picking out her shoes by herself and based on price; it was a really great price! She had no idea of the science behind the fit and function of running and walking shoes.
Running and walking shoes are one of the biggest and most frequent expenses that we have, but they are an integral part of our athletic pursuits. Without our shoes, it’s impossible for us to get out and get moving. While we all need other gear for a workout, if we head out the door without our shoes, our mileage will be pretty low that day.
There are a lot of shoe choices, but for Walkers, the typical walking shoe is leather. Leather walking shoes are good if you’re traveling and need a shoe that will allow you to walk around all day, and have something that may translate to a casual dinner. Your feet will stay dry, but on a hot day, your feet will get very hot. Leather walking shoes also stretch just like a street shoe. You don’t want your shoe stretched out for working out, you want it to retain it’s shape.
For our group of Runners and Walkers, running shoes are best, and getting fit at a running specialty store is your best choice. Run specialty stores are staffed by runners of various skills, abilities and distance preferences. They understand your need to get out and pound the pavement, and they understand the little idiosyncrasies we each have about the fit and feel of our shoes.
When you go to get fit for new shoes, go after a run (and a shower) as your feet will be a bit swollen, and any body parts that get cranky after a workout, will probably be cranky. Cranky and swollen is good because you will more easily perceive when a new shoe pinches or rubs you the wrong way.
Talk to store staff about the type of workouts you do and your distance goals for the next four to five months as well as your goals for six to 8 months. You want to discuss these because those of you who are training for six months at a time, will get a pair at the beginning of the training season, and will need to get a second pair about two months before your goal race or races. This may seem extreme, but the mid-sole of the shoe (area that runs the length of your foot) gives you support, cushioning and structure, begins to break down long before many shoes look bad in the mesh upper or the out-sole (bottom) of the shoe.
If you’ve never been fit before, give yourself about an hour for the entire process. You should expect to try on several pair of shoes before you find a pair that you think will work. You should expect to have staff do a gait analysis to see how you move from heel to toe and then be shown shoes and possibly inserts that work with your gait. If you’ve been fit and are just getting a new pair of shoes, give yourself 30 minutes. You may be out in 10 minutes if the manufacturer hasn’t made any changes to your shoe model other than the color. If the manufacturer makes an update to a shoe model, it may feel different, and you may want to try on a few other shoes similar to yours in order to decide if you like the change or need to change shoes.
Once you get your new shoes, confirm the return and exchange policy before you leave the store. Make sure you can do a couple of workouts, and if the shoe isn’t working out, that you can exchange it for something else. Then take your new shoes out for a spin. Keep them as clean as possible, but try them out and make sure they feel good all around. If they do, toss the box and get moving. If they aren’t right, head back to the store and revisit one of the other pair of shoes that you tried on and see if they are a keeper.
If you workout year round, expect to go through 3-6 pair of shoes annually. This seems expensive, but we spend too much time in our shoes for them not to fit and feel good. You also spend too much time being active to ruin your body by wearing shoes that aren’t matching your gait, and supporting you throughout your active life.
EVENING FUN RUNS AND WALKS – Our fun runs and walks are held at 6:30 pm on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month. See the Calendar tab on the website (metrodcgalloway.wordpress.com) for full details. Friends and family are welcome.
Our next two Evening Fun Runs and Walks are August 14 and August 28, at Tropical Smoothie Cafe- 1556 Potomac Greens Dr, Alexandria. You can change there if you can’t change before the run. After the run many of us stay to chat and have a light bite before heading home. We have calendar invites through the Facebook page too.
We are looking into doing an evening run at a track to practice our pacing and do a magic mile. Stay tuned!