Remember the good ‘ol days as children when we would use the same pair of shoes for whatever we did? Let it be for running in the mud with friends, going to a nice restaurant, or visiting the distant relatives; we did it all in those suckers! Some of us have added a few new additions in the wardrobe through the years, possibly now a pair for work and a couple dressier type shoes. Unfortunately, many of us will use these “work” or “casual” shoes for our exercises as well. They are seemingly harmless and very capable of completing the task of jogging a few laps around the track, of course, until you’ve done it! Many times it takes these painful experiences for us to break the mold and spend a little extra cash on that pair of running shoes you never thought you’d touch.
Luckily, before I began running I was very exposed to the fact from my father that having the right pair of running shoes makes all the difference in how you’ll feel after a workout. Some of us, on the other hand, are not always so fortunate of having this previous knowledge…
Earlier this year as I was continuing with my training schedule for my third half-marathon, I asked Matt if he would like to go to the track with me to do some running. Matt has never been a runner, and in fact, has come from a family that really does not want anything to do with running. This is the exact opposite of me, weird! Instead, Matt had been a very avid basketball player throughout high school and has continually gone to the gym. I was proud that Matt accepted, but I wasn’t so proud when I looked down at his feet and saw these, bright white things screaming back at me…
They were the pair of Nike Overplay basketball shoes I sold to him while I was working at my previous job many months before. Along with these, he wore a pair of thick, cotton socks. Those are a definite no no because of the friction they create on the skin. For his sake, he had the right idea of bringing athletic shoes to the track, but little did he know, he would be having some serious pain afterwards.
I ran a few laps with him to get him jogging at a comfortable pace, then eventually let him run alone. After two and a half miles, Matt had enough of the torture and decided it was time for him to quit. Peeling off the shoes, he soon discovered what the burning sensation was above both of his heels. With a mixture of both the shoes and cotton socks, two quarter-sized blisters had formed and popped, leaving Matt with a nice tender feeling. If this wasn’t enough, the next day, he noticed that the front of both of his legs were in pain and that it was difficult to walk. The dreaded shin splints had set in! *Play the “Psycho” scary music*
That weekend I introduced Matt to the world of running shoes, which just so happened to be at my favorite store, Road Runner Sports. While we were there I showed Matt the various types of shoes and the many machines they offer which help identify which one is the best fit for you. As we completed the machine test that showed his foot type (flat, normal, or high arch) and how much stability he’d need, we decided to have Matt purchase a pair of Asics Kayanos. These are running shoes that normally cost a little over $100, but he got lucky and found some on the clearance rack for $45.
As Matt was finally able to muscle off the pain, he strapped on those Asics and tried the same run around the track. This time he said he felt much lighter, the shoe felt snug and shaped his foot perfectly, there was no rubbing on the heel, and felt great overall. He never thought he would spend the money for running shoes, but it’s really more of a beneficial investment than you think, even if you aren’t a crazy runner out there every day. The benefits definitely outweigh the cons on this one, so think about this little story if this might be the case for you.
Later, I will write a post on the best types of running shoes out there for your foot type. It is very easy to get lost in those huge running stores, so I hope that it might help steer you in the right direction.