New shoes are important! #runchat

Runner’s world published this staggering number last week that runners who rotate shoes (and I am the queen of the rotation because of my job),. reduce their chance of injury by 39% That’s incredible!

For someone who doesn’t work in running retail, there may be a few factors keeping you from buying new shoes, or buying more to rotate (the best way to get some bang for your buck).

  • “My shoes aren’t even worn out!” I hear this all the time.  And then you ask the customer when they last replaced the shoe.  They’ll swear it was three months ago.  But when you look back in the records, it’s over a year ago.  The official number is this.  Shoes get about 350 miles on them.  Minimalist shoes get even less, about 250.  Shoes naturally start to break down after about a year, so even if the shoe was just sitting in your closet, the shoe has lost some juice.
  • I only wear my shoes to go to the store”.  This logic blows my mind.  If you wear your shoes every day for a year and a half to do your errands, your shopping, your trips to the post office, and your trips to the Y, what do you think is happening to them?  You don’t have to be running marathons to wear your shoes out.
  • Shoes cost too much.”  A good shoe is gonna start at about $110.  And depending on the amount of cushioning, they can climb to $175.  Yes, it’s an investment, but you’re protecting your body from the earth.  Why would you want to pay $60?
  • “I don’t have time to get shoes.”  Take the time to get fitted one good pair.  If you like it, stick with that shoe for a while, at least until the update.  That should give you 9 months to a year of not having to try on shoes and wait on a fitting.



And even though I’m the person who knows this stuff, it occurred to me at some point a few weeks ago that Austin’s shoes might have been worn out.  He’d been complaining that his IT band was hurting when we ran, so I told him to jump on my foam roller.  And thenI looked down at his feet and realized he was wearing the same Brooks Glycerins I’d gotten him at some point last summer.  We’d been either running or in the gym an average of 5-6 days a week since then, and if that wasn’t enough evidence, the, *ahem* fragrance from the shoes should have given it away.  The shoes had aged out right under my nose (hee hee).

So for about three weekends I badgered him to come down to the store.  He was too busy.  He was eating a sandwich.  He was asleep on the couch.  He couldn’t make it because someone on his fantasy football team was benched.  All sorts of excuses to not take off his shoes.  Finally, finally, on a rainy day last weekend, I cornered him in my kitchen.

“Let’s go right now.  What are you doing right now.”

He agreed, only after he ate a sandwich.  And off to the store we went.  After trying a few things on (the Glycerin had updated and felt a little funny to him), he settled on the Saucony Ride 6, and on a test run later, he reported zero IT band pain.  Win.




Demystifying the sneaker-guide.

Put down that Runner’s World sneaker guide.  Stop asking your friends on your Facebook status what shoe you should get.  And for the love of God, stop buying $45 shoes off of Amazon.  I’m going to make this really really super easy for you.

Go to a running specialty store.  Get a fitting.  Purchase your shoes.  (And a nice, synthetic sock).  And enjoy yourself.  Here’s why.

  • Some ridiculous percentage of you guys are wearing the wrong size shoes.  It’s not normal to get black and sore toenails.  It’s not normal to lose toenails  in a  race.  It’s also completely abnormal to have space enough by the heel collar for me to shove my fingers in the back of the shoe (which I totally saw at Niketown this weekend).  You’re supposed to go up a half to a full size from your dress shoe size, because when you run, and when you work out?  Your feet swell.  Go get measured.
  • Someone has convinced you you have flat feet/high arches/need some crazy custom orthotic.  Some of you guys have been told but an aunt since you were five you have some weird foot thing.  You buy your shoes based on this and you’re buying the wrong shoe.  Again, let a trained professional look at your foot and tell you what’s going on.
  • You’re not really saving much of anything when you buy a $56 shoe off amazon.  Or at DSW.  Or at Dick’s.  Firstly, running shoes are not the place to skimp on money.  Shoes really shouldn’t cost less than $100 If a shoe is that cheap, there’s probably any number of reasons for that.
    1. The shoe is an older model.  As in, it’s no longer manufactured.
    2. The shoe is a cheaper version of a real shoe.  The company has taken cushioning out of a good shoe, named it something else, and sold it.
    3. The shoe has been sitting in a warehouse for 3.5 years.  Shoes naturally begin to break down after a year, whether they’ve been worn or not.  You just paid money for a shoe that’s already worn out, and you’re risking injury.

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Running shoes are a science. They’re an art. They’re subjective. And using a sneaker guide, asking friends, or just buying the cheapest thing you can find at a Dick’s Sporting Goods is just doing your body, your feet, and your running future a huge disservice.  Go get a fitting.  Drop the $110 on a shoe.  And be your best running self (okay, werq Oprah!)