WHEN SPRING WEATHER IS AROUND THE CORNER and winter wetness and cold are not expected to in the daily forecast much longer, the urge to buy new athletic shoes can be strong. In past years, I have shopped early with the thought the new pair would stay in the box until roads cleared and piles of plowed snow melted. And once the shoes were purchased, regardless of the state of ground thaw, would have convinced myself on the first sunny, warm-ish day that a first run to break them in was warranted. Even though modern running shoes are designed to not require much ‘breaking in’. And after that it seemed a shame not to enjoy their wonderfully lighter and cushioned feel during each training session and the cheery brighter colors (my preferred selection over darks).
This annual ritual has lead me to the “Eureka” revelation that the purpose of a pair of new spring running, walking, or exercise shoes is to usher in the season. To help with the transition from wishing it were spring to the time when it actually arrives. They are like the early flowers, blossoming trees, and songbirds that herald the coming of this gentler, joyous season.
But it can be a difficult task to choose which footwear brand and model is best for me. An article featured in a previous blog post indicated that preference should rule when it comes to buying expensive versus cheap. But I don’t know what I should prefer, except when it comes to color, as mentioned above. In the spring, I want the model color, if available, that has at least a a pop (or better yet, a big slug) of color.
“The New Rules for Buying Running Shoes”, an article by Jonathan Beverly for MotivRunning.com, is a great place to learn about how to select the best pair of shoes when it comes to performance and comfort.
Beverly’s 1st rule(“Get the right size”) is is a terrific piece of advice; it’s about SIZE. It’s amazing how an athletic shoe size will vary from street shoe size. I normally wear a 7 or sometimes a 7.5 (USA women’s) for anything other than a shoe used for sport. For running/walking/exercise my size most frequently is 8.5 (USA). The focus should not be on the number but the fit.
The 2nd rule (“Get the right shape") is should be read carefully. It provides sound reasoning why shoppers should try on a variety of brands. Which explains why runners tend to stay with a brand and model season after season. But be aware that a model update can significantly change a favorite go-to shoe, often signaled by a change in model number.
Rule number 3 (“Get the right support”) is can help shoppers evaluate the quality of assistance they are receiving from a store fitter. If the emphasis is on over- or under-pronation, the advice is likely out of date. That’s my personal bias.
Rules 4 (“Get the right ride”) is and 5 (“Trust yourself”) is are perhaps the easiest to follow as they call on us to personally assess the comfort of the shoe.
Unfortunately, after reading this piece I was a bit more anxious than beforehand. My learning of the new rules revealed there are more ways, than I had previously been aware of, to pick the wrong shoe!
However, like with ANY purchase, realize that mistakes will be made. To reduce that chance of making a purchase mistake, shop more. Plan to make 2-3 shopping (not buying), trips before deciding on a shoe. If possible, go to different specialty stores or store locations. Or to the same store at a time when you might receive help from a different fitter.
Listen to the advice other shoppers are receiving from various fitters. Does the advice significantly vary from store to store? Are fitters recommending the same shoe to everyone, or everyone in your demographic. I have had this experience and it was upsetting. Every woman my age was brought the same 2 shoe models by the same store fitter. When I ask about other shoe brands, my query was brushed off. I went to another location of the same store chain and the fitter brought 6 different models. Don’t be afraid to wait until you feel secure about a purchase.
And then, don’t be reluctant to wear the fresh spring pair! Your shoes can be one of the early signs of spring that others are looking to celebrate, like crocuses, forsythia blossoms, pussy willows, and robins in the northern US.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
What do you see in your corner of the world as a first sign of spring?
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BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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