Reader Question!

So I had a great question pop up in the comments a few days ago, and I thought that you guys could benefit from the answer!

I’m a borderline overpronator with flat-ish feet. I’m not a runner, but I go for Zumba classes 3-5 days a week. I’m looking for new shoes to avoid the knee pain I seem to have after classes these days.
Would you recommend the transcend for Zumba I wonder? Or does it have too much traction for dance?
Thanks a ton!

First off, this is a great question, and I definitely encourage all of you guys, if you have questions for me, about anything, to ask. If I DON’T know the answer, lord knows I will try and do my best to find an answer for you!

And if you’re at all wondering what my qualifications are to even answer this kind of question, I have taught group fitness for almost 6 years now (eek), since January of 2010 officially with NC State, and I have worked for Fleet Feet Raleigh for a long time, where we are trained to assess and prescribe, so to speak, the best shoe for your most comfortable run.

Now, before you go and buy a new show for whatever activity you are doing, figure out what you will be doing with the shoe.  If you are a runner, you should be running in a running shoe.  If you are a tennis player, a tennis shoe.  Same for playing basketball.

But what do you wear if you find yourself teaching or taking a ton of classes in studios, like a Zumba, Cardio Dance, Step, or Kickboxing class?  A lot of folks tend to assume that you can just wear a running shoe for something like that, but that can be really tricky for two reasons.

  1. Running shoes are designed to go front and back, not side-to-side, or laterally.  There is a guidance line built right down the center of a running shoe that keeps that shoe wanting to move front to back.  So for a salsa, mambo, or any other move that you find yourself doing in a lot of studio classes that are NOT a bootcamp, the shoe is literally fighting you every step.
  2. Running shoes are designed to grip, and that gripping motion will tear up your knees and joints when you fight the traction and hit pivots, or movements similar to this one.  

So what’s a studio queen to do?

There are actually shoes designed for this specific thing.

Reebok Dance Ryka Dance


Both of these are available online – the first is a Reebok dance shoe, and the second a Ryka shoe.  I would link you to it buy Reebok and Ryka ain’t offered to pay me for it so I’m trusting you all to be able to find this without too much trouble.  But Reebok, Ryka, and sometimes Nike are the places I tend to head when searching for a good studio shoe.  The main difference between this shoe and a running shoe is that these are less grippy, hug your foot, and often feature a pivot point, a point right on the ball of the shoe that allows you to effectively pivot, cha-cha, mambo, or anything else.

Put any other shoe questions you may have in the comments!


Q: When is it time to get new running shoes?

First off, can we just clap it up for me and say that I have my finger on the pulse of female running society?  Look what came up yesterday no sooner than I posted that entry featuring all my ladies without makeup.

Tyra Banks Sighting In New York City - September 17, 2012

It’s none other than Miz Tyra, working out and makeup free.  I guess I just rock.

Moving right along however, this is a question I get pretty often.  How do I know when it’s time to change my running shoes out?  So the rule of thumb when it comes to a regular, traditional running shoe, is that you’re going to get, at the absolute MOST, 350-400 miles out of a shoe.  That’s it.  Sometimes less, but definitely not more.

350-400 miles sounds like a lot, but it’s really not as much as you think.  If you’re only wearing your running shoes to run in, and you’re running 15-20 miles a week, you can do the math, and it adds up quickly!

So here’s how you can extend the life of your running shoes: (they’re gonna average you $110 a pair, so you may want to pay attention)

Alternate between two pairs of running shoes.  When you do this, especially between long runs, you give your shoe a chance to recover.  The foam/cushioning gets a change to regain it’s original shape, and the shoe gets a chance to dry.

– Stop shoving your feet into your shoe when you’re rushing off to the gym. I know you’re guilty of this.  You’re running off to the gym, and you shove your foot in without untying the shoe.  You’re not three years old, there’s no velcro, so take the time out to untie your shoe and put it on.  When you shove your hoof in, or worse yet, when you walk around on the back of your shoes when you go to check the mail, you destroy the back of the shoe, as well as the structure built to support your heel.  So sit down, and take the extra few seconds to tie/untie your shoes.

Save your running shoes for running only. Don’t go to Whole Foods in your shoe.  Don’t go to cycling in your shoe.  Don’t check the mail in your shoe.  Don’t go to the club in your shoe.  And don’t climb a tree in your shoe.  All these activities put mileage on your shoe.  So if you find you’re going to Zumba or Cycling pretty often as well, buy a special shoe for each of these activities.  Usually Adidas, Reebok, and Nike have a pretty decent selection of “lifestyle” shoes if you’re dancing or doing step, and check with your local cycling shop if you need a pair of cycling shoes.

Let your shoes air out in your home, not in your car, between runs.  The EVA foam and cushioning in shoes is temperamental, and doesn’t like to sit in your car, where the temperature can go from one extreme to the next.  So between workouts, take a few seconds and let your shoe air out.  Untie the laces, and open up the shoe for a while so it can breathe and retain shape.

So if you’re kind of sick of only figuring you need a new shoe when your knee starts to ache, try documenting your mileage a tad better, and the guessing game should be over.

shoe heaven
Cher’s Shoe Graveyard