Try it my way, and you will never look at shoes the same again

Before I even knew he was the one I would meet, he was watching me as I walked through the door and made my way across uncrowded but busy room. He studied me silently, knowing it would be necessary to note the details of my every movement. Did he know how much he would impress me later by noticing me before I even noticed him? Or was he simply watching, observing, doing what comes natural to him?

He is the awesome guy who helped me find my newest pair of running shoes this week. I am writing this post because I cannot stress too often how important it is to get specialty fitted for shoes. Go to your local running store. Talk to them about anything related to leg pain, hip pain, anything you think might or might not be important. Answer their questions. Let them watch you run/walk. And be prepare to be amazed.

Do not worry about brand. Do not worry about color. Your sneakers are not fashion statements. My newest pair of running shoes is purple, not my first choice of color (only because I don’t have any purple running clothes), but with any luck they will soon be gray/brown/dirty anyway. So who cares?

mizuno

This is the 5th pair of shoes I have been specialty fitted for, and the people at Try Sports never cease to amaze me. The guy really did watch me walk into the store, and he knew before we even began talking that something was going on with my left ankle (which has been hurting on and off for a month or two after running.) He watched me run on their treadmill, videotaped me, used their software to measure the angle of my ankle to my hip (or something like that. I tune out when math enters the equation), and he deduced that in the past few months, I had become a stronger runner, and I did not need the support that my current shoes were providing.

I ended up in what he called my current shoes’ “little sister” – Mizunos that still provided support, but not quite so much. They are lighter (by 2 oz!) and they are wonderful.

The care at a specialty running store does not end there. He talked to me about marathon training. I was concerned about wearing out my shoes so fast during training and I want to plan so that I’m not in unfamiliar shoes on race day. We talked about having two pairs at a time and rotating them out, and he mentioned I should have 2 different pairs since they will work my muscles differently. He talked to me about my marathon training program (Hal Hidgon’s) and which level he thinks I should do. He talked to me about the marathon itself – “I hope you like hills” (yikes!)

He talked to me about a good multivitamin (not even one they sell) and he talked to me about buying a bike (which they do sell.) He talked me out of the more expensive reflective vest and into the cheaper armband (lighter for summer – and yes, it’s a slap bracelet, how cool is that?).

He told me about their Run for Fun club (Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:15 p.m.; anyone want to try it out with me? It’s free. Beginners are extremely welcome – in sticking to the store’s name, they want people to Try Running, according to their web site). He knew I had cycled there from home, so he offered me water for the trip back (which I declined; I had my Camelbak back pack).

Like I said, this is the fifth time I’ve been fitted for shoes. These cost $104 – no more than I would have paid somewhere else. In the past I stuck with New Balance because I recognized the brand and that’s what my parents wore. I had no idea New Balances were not meant for my feet. I had never even heard of Mizuno or Brooks (the two brands I have been fitted for) but they fit my feet like a glove.

If you do any exercise at all, I beg of you, go see these guys. And not just because I get a $10 coupon if you tell them I sent you (though I’ll love you forever if you do that while you’re there!) Your feet are so important. Just ask anyone who has problems with theirs.

(and don’t forget the Yankz!)