When you combine genetics, working retail, and running the feet can be quite tortured. My poor feet are pretty beat up, and recently even just standing has been a pain in the foot-literally! I’ve been having some serious heel pain. My mentor Salty said it was probably time for something I’ve feared for a while: my first visit to a running store.
As a retail manager you might think this would be no big deal for me but actually I’m quite the introvert. And where interacting with strangers/salespeople is difficult, the idea of visiting a store full of “real runners” away downright intimidating! When I have a salesperson helping me, I get flustered and stressed. The pressure starts to mount about buying or not buying. The idea of deciding not to buy or telling him/her I need to think it over causes my stomach to turn, my palms to sweat, and sometimes I even get choked up! Seriously, I’m not kidding on the last one. But I popped a Xanax to calm my nerves and went for it.
First stop, Road Runner. I explained to the man who greeted me that I was a new runner and had never been fitted for shoes. He filled me in on the importance of shoes for injury prevention as well as performance and about pronation. He explained how checking the fit for over- or under-pronation is important because it helps determine the type of shoe a person should wear. If over or under pronation is present, you could wind up on the DL, so it’s important to find a shoe to help balance out the foot. The amount of support the shoe gives helps keep heels, toes, arches, legs, and back stay healthy and strong. He even mentioned that I may end-up in a shoe a whole size bigger than before. He had me take a seat while he got someone to come work with me for a fancy foot analysis.
The next guy came over, and whoa, he was a high-fiver. I showed him the shoes I had been using…high five! He tells me they’re neutral and we’d see if they were the right type. Then, to my horror, I had to take off not only my shoes, but my socks, too!!! Nooooo!
I know I’m not alone when I say I don’t know how people deal with feet. When I get the occasional pedicure I have a friend with me and I joke with the pedicurist with apologies about having to handle my feet. My inner mantra is, They do this for a living. They’ve probably seen worse. I myself have seen worse feet and I go barefoot at home, but having the high-fiver use the foot measurement gizmo on me still freaked me out!
Once I recovered from that trauma, I stood on a pad that determined the pressure areas on my feet with a rainbow of scientific analysis. Then he asked questions about where I run, if I have pain, how often I run…stuff like that. All this was entered in a computer. Next was running barefoot on a treadmill for a video recording, which felt incredibly awkward, but was part of the process. I got another high five for managing to run a minute or two on the treadmill…seriously.
- Brooks Ravenna 3 – My favorite
- Saucony Progrid Guide 5 – Not bad
- Nike Structure 15 – Ok
- Asics 30/30 – No way, I felt like I was wearing bricks (He said that was probably too much stability for my needs)
While I was trying shoes on, I asked some questions about running outdoors in the cold since temperatures are starting to drop. He was pretty blah with this area. Basically, the advice was put on a hat and wear some gloves. Maybe this change in attitude came because we had talked about cost. Talking money gave me the opportunity for an out, my way to leave without buying. I simply said that I wanted to get an idea of the shoes I might want and then be able to budget for it in my upcoming paychecks. No high five for that.
To read more of Nutmeg’s adventure finding the right running store and to find out which shoes she wound up with, check out her follow-up post, Shopping for the Right Running Store.