Between the torn meniscus and my Achilles tendon acting up this week, it was time to retire my old Nikes and invest in some running and cross training shoes. On the advice of my running pals, I visited my local Pacers, a family owned running store in the DC area.
I was very impressed with the staff’s expertise in all things running and how darn friendly they were too!
When I walked in, most were shocked by the state of my current footwear. Both of my big toes were protruding from the top of the shoes. And both heels were worn down. I might as well walk in barefoot; it would have been more comfortable.
Before I started working out in earnest, my gym shoes lasted about 3 years. But once I started exercising, I think I killed them in less than 6 months. The problem was I was still operating under my 3-year rule. So I kept these shoes for about 30 months longer than necessary.
Sort of explains the knee and heel injuries.
No More Second Chances For Lady Foot Locker
Normally when I buy new shoes, I would look for my size with the least crap all over it –I don’t like millions of colors or plastic everywhere…I’m all about simplicity. Someday the all white gym shoe will make a comeback…someday.
Let’s face it, it’s not like Lady Foot Locker’s staff are real experts on footwear. Sorry, but when I walk into a LFL, I always feel as if I’m on my own. For example, this morning I went looking for some cross trainers. Enter my disastrous experience at Lady Foot Locker. I was shocked that the sales girl greeted me immediately (a first!), but things went back to normal when she took off to the back of the store when I asked her about cross trainers. Oh, she didn’t take off immediately…no she at least pointed at the middle part of the wall display and said, “They’re over there.” Now that’s service!
When I inspected the middle wall display, I busted out laughing. They only had 2 brands of shoes available – Nikes and Asics – and only one type of cross trainer in each brand. Yep, a whole wall of shoes, and I only have 2 options. The cheapest of which was $140. WTF? Why do they bother?
Thankfully friends pointed me to Pacers for running shoes. And my whole experience opened my eyes to how poorly I’ve treated my feet all these years.
Pacers Means Service
Well at Pacers the sales person helping me was a runner (shocker!) and peppered me with lots of questions about my running experience. How long have I been running? Am I a beginner? What are my goals? How long have I used my current shoes for running?
After she took the time to understand my needs, she measured my feet to find the best size. I measured a 9.5 and she recommended a 10.5 as feet swell when you run. Awesome!
The sales girl fitted me with a neutral shoe and then asked me to run on a treadmill so she could look at my stride. Yep, she made me run. Analyzing a video of my run, she found that my left foot was OK but my right foot needed some stability as I exhibited mild overpronation.
It was a little odd watching the video. While she looked at my feet and stride, I only saw lots of fat jiggling on my legs…but I digress.
Check out Pacers video on shoe fitting:
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So based on her analysis, I tried on 4 different pairs of shoes and ran in each. I loved the Asics and Brooks, but those shoes ran a bit too narrow and squeezed the top of my foot. She noticed a mild correction with my right foot during my run, but not enough to recommend either shoe.
The New Balance I tried felt exactly like the neutral shoe I tried on. When super sales girl put me on the treadmill, she immediately suggested I forget the New Balance. Why? Because there was no change in my stride from the neutral shoe. Why pay for extra cushion when it does nothing for you?
Finally I tried the Saucony Guide 7 – wow! I love this shoe. It’s lightweight, feels great and is the perfect fit. Best of all, my stride improved with it. Yes, it is a magical shoe. Woohoo!
I’m very happy with the new running shoes. Tomorrow I take them out for a run (today my trainer killed me with 200 squats so my legs are dead).
Cross Trainers Up Next
So this afternoon I’m surfing Zappos hunting for some cross trainers. No more Lady Foot Locker for me. Sure I’d rather try the shoe on before buying, but at least Zappos makes it simple to do returns until I find a shoe that’s just right.