When was the last time you got fitted for running shoes?
As a kid, I remember going to PayLess Shoes each year before the school year to get new shoes. I would place my foot in the metal shoe sizer – that metal contraption with sliders on the top and sides to measure the length and width of your foot. Then the scavenger hunt began to find my size, width, and, most importantly to a kid, style. The routine would repeat yearly because I was growing and my foot was changing.
I started recreational running as an adult over ten years ago. At the time, one of my co-workers was a co-owner of a local running store in the Chicago suburbs. He did the fitting in the office, guessing my size and width after looking at my foot and dress shoes. The next day, he returned with shoe boxes of various brands and sizes to narrow into the perfect model. I chose Brooks Glycerin, my primary running trainer for the next ten years.
Through the Brooks brand, I was introduced to the running world. I followed the Hanson Brooks Marathon method when I started training for marathons. Later, my running coach was a professional runner on the Hanson Brooks ODP. My running shorts, tops, and jackets were Brooks. By and large, Brooks was the only shoe I ran in. I experimented with the Adrenaline but did not need the pronation support. I rotated in the Ghost. My first road racing flat was the Hyperion. I still wear those Hyperion racing flats casually because I like the style, and it signals to those that know…still just a kid sometimes.
Things changed when Nike launched the Vaporfly with carbon plate technology. I continued racing in my road flats, breaking 3 hours in the marathon in the process, but starting following shoe technology with peaked interest. Carbon plates were attractive, but more interesting was the development of foam technology from other shoe companies. Saucony, Asics, and Nike seemed to have made strides in foam beyond the EVA Foam technology of Brooks. (Now, I know we can debate this, and a good Brooks sales representative would make a compelling case.) I finally “cheated” on Brooks and bought a pair of HOKA Clifton and Nike React Infinity. The former was influenced by social media personalities I follow, and the latter by a recommendation from my coach. A year into these new relationships, I am still a happy newlywed!
Last month, I was at The Running Event with my business PEREGRUNE and all the top shoe brands showcasing their latest innovation. Inspired by the trip, I visited my local running store to explore more of the shoe market. For the first time in over ten years, I had a proper shoe fitting aided by the latest in digital technology, gait analysis, and industry knowledge. I worked with Steve, who was beyond friendly, extremely knowledgeable, and a fellow runner. It turns out I was wearing a size too small running shoe, which may have happened in my self-prescribed switch from Brooks to Nike or the natural flattening of my feet with…age.
I walked out with a pair of Saucony Endorphin Speed. I have never run in Saucony before but was impressed by the fit and technology of the Nylon plate, PWRRUN foam, and Speedroll effect that kept me rocking forward. I know we are not supposed to choose running shoes based on color, but my Saucony shoes look cool. I felt like a kid in the shoe store again, getting ready for a new year — searching the shelves for the right size, width, and, most importantly, style.