“Mama says they was magic shoes. They could take me anywhere.” Forrest Gump anyone??
Ok, this post is not about Forrest but about running shoes. While I am no expert, I do have some input on my experience with finding good running shoes.
When I first started running, before I ever ran any races, I ran in the Nike Shox my mom had made for me as a Christmas present. These shoes are awesome. My mom had them customized with my name and number and picked the colors. While cute, they were not very good for running long distances.
I used to come home from a run with blisters on top of blisters. My feet were so torn up that I had to keep medical tape over the blisters while wearing shoes. Whenever I would go to get a pedicure my lady would say, “Oh my gosh. What happened to your feet?!” I honestly thought that runners got blisters and there was no avoiding it.
Once I signed up for my first race (the Marine Corps Historic Half), I knew I needed new shoes meant for running. About 5 weeks before my race, I went to a running store and got fitted for shoes. The sales person brought me lots of options and was very patient while I tried on all kinds of shoes.
She told me I could avoid blisters if I went up a size (from an 8 to a 9). Turns out that your feet swell when you run. Your feet need room to move around and if your shoes are too small you get blisters. Who knew?! After talking to her and trying on a bunch of shoes, I decided to get the Nike Moto+ 7 in a size 9. I got them because I am a Nike girl, they were cheaper than the other’s and I liked the color.
I ran my first race in them with no problem. No blisters, no foot pain, nothing. They were perfect! I ran three half marathons and many training runs in my Motos.
But when I looked back on my race pictures from the Rock and Roll Virginia Beach Half, I saw that I run on the outside of my feet. I never realized that I looked that crazy when I ran. My dad saw the pictures and told me that I’m a supinator. Supa-what?
Supination is when a person does not turn the lateral foot inward toward the midline of the body. People who supinate, roll the foot outward and let the impact fall on the outside of the foot rather than rolling inward at the end of their gait as they run. This can cause strains and injuries to the lower extremity.
Check out my left foot. It is rolled completely out so that my inner foot isn’t even touching the ground.
I have no idea why I do this or when I started doing it. I had three knee surgeries when I was younger, so I guess I developed this gait as a way of responding to knee pain. I have tried to concentrate on running on my whole foot, but that lasts about 2 seconds before I do what feels natural.
My right foot this time is illustrating the supination. I am totally running on the outside of my feet.
So when it came time to buy new running shoes, I wanted to get shoes that would help my supination. Marcus wanted to buy me shoes for Christmas. He did research and found that the Nike Free running shoes are good for people like me. They are light-weight and flexible – just what I needed.
When I first tried on my Nike Free shoes (again in a size 9) I was amazed by how light they were. When I ran I felt like I was flying. I also felt every rock and hard surface. DOH! These shoes are designed to mimic barefoot running, so the dreaded blisters came back. After a few runs though, my feet toughened up and got used to the shoes.
When it came time to run my first race in the shoes, I felt confident that they wouldn’t give me any issues. But as you remember from my Shamrock Half race recap, I developed nasty blisters on the bottom of my feet at around mile 6 that forced me to walk/run the rest of the race.
I am not blaming my shoes for this though. I am blaming myself. I did not train my feet properly for long distances in those shoes (my longest training run was 9 miles). These kind of shoes definitely take some getting used to. Also, I wore cute new tie-dyed green socks during the race as opposed to my sweat-wicking Under Armour socks. Stupid mistake! Don’t ever wear new gear to a race. I knew that one!
My blisters are still healing, so needless to say…I learned my lesson. But look at the pics…no supination to be seen. Now, I do not know if my supination problem has been solved from the Nike Free shoes or if the camera just didn’t pick up on it. But my feet do look better in this race then they did in my races last year.
I love my shoes and hopefully with the right socks next weekend, during the George Washington Parkway Classic, I will not experience any blister problems. I am crossing my fingers!
If you are in the market for new running shoes, I have some tips for shoe shopping:
-Do your research! Runner’s World always has awesome reviews of all different types of running shoes for every kind of runner.
-Try on the shoes before buying them. I had no idea I would need a whole size larger for running. But that is what works for me.
-Break in your shoes. Do not wear brand new shoes to a race.
-Talk to an expert. The people at running stores know what they are talking about. Let them help you find the right shoe for you.
-Throw out the old shoes. The general rule is that shoes last 300-500 miles. This varies for everyone. But do your feet a favor and get new shoes if your’s are looking sad and if it’s been a while since you bought new one’s.
Again, this is my input based on what I have learned so far. Everyone’s shoe and running experience will be different. Have a fab day and happy running! 🙂