If the Shoe Fits…
Last week, I went for a “Shoe Fitting” at the local Varsity Sports store in Mandeville. If you are not familiar with this concept, you definitely need to try it! Whether you walk, run, or simply need a good fitting pair of shoes, a shoe fitting consists of an expert who will work with you to evaluate your foot’s gait and natural biomechanics to help you select a shoe that offers the best fit and function for you. If you are just getting into running, needing new shoes, or fighting foot problems (blisters, arch pain, shin splints) – this could just be the thing you are looking for! Another recommended store is Fleet Feet Sports.
When I first walked in, I was greeted by a fit specialist, who asked me a few questions about my current training and needs. Then he asked to take a look at my current shoes. He was looking for wear patterns, how my foot fit the shoe, etc. Then I was asked to take off my socks and stand while he got down on the floor to observe my feet! And no, it isn’t some weird foot fetish he has going on…he was just looking at how my foot rests on the ground, how high my arches are, at what angle my ankles line up with my legs, etc. Then he asked me to walk about 25 steps, back and forth a few times so that he could watch my natural gait.
Then, for the cool part, I was directed to take an easy stroll on the treadmill. I walked at a comfortable, slow pace while he videotaped my feet! After about 2 minutes, he stopped me and put my footage up on the big screen! He played back in slow motion and explained to me how my natural gait works. You can search YouTube videos if you are interested in what they showed me.
First things first, I over-pronate. There is a very good article which explains in more detail. But for the short version, everyone pronates. Pronation is simply a normal foot in motion, from foot-strike on the outside of the heel through the inward roll of the foot. Pronation occurs as the foot rolls from the outer edge to the inner edge. If the foot pronates too much or too little and does so frequently, several biomechanical problems may result that can cause a decrease in performance and increase the possibility of injury. To help prevent injuries, it was suggested that I try a motion control or stability shoe, which prevent the foot from rolling too far by providing maximum support.
After trying on a few suggested shoes, we sat and chatted for a bit about running tips, a few local running groups, upcoming races, and proper running gear (non-cotton is best for distance running to help lift the sweat away from you!) A very fun, relaxing, and most importantly, informative session!
A few extra tips:
- Plan on shopping early evening. Gravity commands your circulation downward, which triggers swelling, so audition new shoes at the end of the day. Be sure to slip on both the right and left shoes while wearing the socks you plan to stroll in. You will also want to walk/run around to get the full effect of the fit.
- Give yourself a little wiggle room. While you don’t want your heel to slide back and forth, you do want about a 1/2 inch of room (the width of a thumb nail) between your longest toe and the shoe.
- Size does not matter. Try not to get too concerned with the shoe size number. There is a bit of a difference in shoe sizes between shoe companies, meaning that a size 8 New Balance will not fit the same as a size 8 Nike. Also, a running shoe is usually a 1/2 size UP from your normal casual shoe.
The right shoes are an essential part of stepping out for fun and fitness!
WEEK 16 LEAN REVIEW
Run – 2.04 Miles – 20:01 Minutes
Run – 3.05 Miles – 30:07 Minutes
Elliptical – Workout #2 – 15:00 Minutes
5K Race Recap
Run – 3.10 Miles – 25:52 Minutes (8:42 Average Mile)
Walk – 1.82 Miles – 26:51 Minutes
Run – 2.00 Miles – 18:50 Minutes
When was the last time you got a proper shoe fitting? If you have never received one, I challenge you to take that first step. Remember, you are not committed to buy any shoes. Do this for you…commit to be knowledgeable about the best fit for you!