Picking the Right Shoe
By Dave Warman
Running, some say it’s the “cheapest” of the sports you can do, all you need is a pair of trainer’s right? But where do you get these magical things that will carry you over miles of pavement and roads and not injure you?
My first experience and I am sure everybody’s first port of call would be an outlet store where for less than you think you can pick up last years “super duper” shoes for the price of a pair from a supermarket. The process is simple you find the model you want, you find a trendy looking teenager who “works there” and ask him for your size.
Ten Minutes later he comes back with the pair you want in Orange because the smart blue ones are not available in your size. You then buy the orange shoes because they are the pair you want, this transaction took a whole 14 minutes and you spoke to no-one about the shoe’s performance or your intended application.
After wearing them out a few times you decide its time to try running, so with ipod in hand and some “Banging” tunes you venture outside in your trainers and off you go.
Success you think! easy now let’s move on… however after several goes at that small hill on your estate that has now turned into Mount Everest your knees are now hurting, you know when just after the first AD/DC track and the moment Pink starts asking “So What”
So what do you do now?
Assuming the fact you are not falling apart and you don’t need immediate medical attention, you then use the internet to find out what’s going on with your knees, you appear to find an entire industry on the science of running sponsored by ADIDAS, you then discover through an awful amount of reading that a specialist running shop is the best place for running shoes and not the Outlet, what have you got to lose? They may even stock the blue ones you wanted!
When I was at school I was referred to as “Hobbit Feet” just to qualify this I am 5 ft 1 inch and have been since I was 12, my feet are short and hairy just like a hobbit. I have always worn a size 4 shoe and if I really wanted I could have work shoes with lights in and Disney characters on the tread.
Being new to this running lark understanding the industry “slang” is a challenge, I first walked in to a running shop to be greeted by a Man Mountain with muscles on muscles who wanted to look at my “gate” before we talked about shoes, this confused me, my gate was the same one I have had since the builder Danny installed in in 1995, I do paint it every third year, but I was not sure why he wanted to chat about my garden.
After a strange ten minutes it is confirmed that a “Gait” is how you run! .. Who knew?.
I was then asked to just run on a treadmill to warm up while he set up the camera to film me or rather my feet? Had I come to the right shop? I thought to myself.
After no more than ten minutes sweating away on the treadmill the “Mountain” asked me if I was interested in trail, road or track?
“Just the pavement” I said slightly out of breath.
The “Mountain” watched me run, got me to come and watch my feet on the treadmill, so he could explain the line I was running on and to make sure I was not landing wrong or my feet were pointing in the wrong direction.
It appears I am “Neutral” & just needed shoe that was just that.
An hour later I left the shop with two new pairs of trainers, I was expecting to get a pair of Asics Gt something (as per my Brother-in-laws advice) but in the end I was now the proud owner of the Brooks Ghost 7 & they were in Blue.
My knees stopped hurting as well, it’s my understanding that if you buy the correct shoe for the intended application, your feet & your knees will thank you for it.
That was now 3 years ago & I have tried many different pairs of trainers since, including but not limited to:
I am now using the Ghost 10 but have been through 3 pairs of ghost 7, three pairs of ghost 8 & a pair of Ghost 8.5. All in all around 55 races including 3 Marathons and 21 half Marathons. I have been doing an average of 15 miles a week.
Every time I need to change my trainers I try really hard not to ask for the same type I was wearing and not blindly just stick to one brand, the treadmill test has now been repeated several times and every time I end up back with the Brooks Ghost.
I have used Alton Sports from day 1, yes I have been to other running shops, however the check is always with the staff at Alton Sports who really do know their stuff and are also happy to tolerate a total “fun runner” like myself with very little understanding of the mechanics of the sport.
I can’t thank them enough for the friendly staff and positive encouragement on all I have done, I know I will never make the Olympics but with a supportive organisation like them, we can all be champions.
Don’t get me started on Running watches!