I have had the greatest difficulty in finding a pair of shoes that fit and feel right. I think I can remember back to a time in grade school, bugging my Mom to buy me a pair of shoes that I so badly wanted, only to rarely wear them because they just didn’t feel right. All in all, I probably have accumulated a closet’s worth of shoes during my lifetime that just didn’t get much usage because they didn’t work for me.
Thus, for me, trying on a pair of shoes at the store and walking around for few minutes just doesn’t cut it. I won’t feel comfortable until the shoes have been “battle-tested” for hours… unfortunately this sort of intense “try before you buy” approach doesn’t work for most types of footwear, because it’s not fair to the store especially if you’ve worn the shoes outside.
Shoe shopping panic
So you can understand my apprehension when searching for a new pair of shoes. However, wear and tear on my New Balance 846 shoes was literally reaching the breaking point; the shoes are long since past their prime, having served me well in the PEC Marathon last year and through to the training I’ve been doing this year. I estimate I’ve put about 1000 km on them, far more than one should; this put my urgently at need for finding a new pair of shoes.
I first went to Tri & Run Sports, a local store, to find the help I needed. They first recommended a pair of ASICS shoes that felt good on the treadmill there, but I was skeptical, but their return policy was quite liberal; so as long as you didn’t run outside with them, you were free to try them out on the treadmill and return them if they didn’t work for you. Knowing this, I felt a little more secure. It usually takes me a run of at least 10 km or so to tell whether I’ll like a shoe; unfortunately this is obviously not possible nor practical during the buying process, so I was grateful that the store would allow me a grace period to try them out for myself.
However, they turned out to be a disappointment, as they almost immediately caused soreness and pain in my feet after a few minutes of running on the treadmill; I had flashbacks of previous bad shoes I’d bought. Dismayed, I returned them within the week. However, the staff at Tri & Run was more than helpful in assisting me to find another pair that would work. We eventually settled on the Mizuno Wave Alchemy 7, a stability shoe that would be ideal for an overpronator like myself. (I use orthotics to deal with this, and without them I wouldn’t have been able to complete the marathon)
The Mizuno’s turned out to be much better, and I’m now running in them every week and feeling fine! I can wholeheartedly recommend Tri & Run sports if you live in the Belleville or Trenton area and need to find a good pair of running shoes, or anything else related to running!
The need for another pair
I typically like to have two pairs of running shoes: One for indoor running on the treadmill and one for outdoor running. Up until now, my old New Balance 846’s had been serving the role of outdoor running shoe, but as they were beginning to show their age I knew I’d need to get another pair. This weekend, SportChek was having a sale, so on a bit of a splurge I decided to pick up a pair of Adidas Supernova Glides, mainly because they looked and felt nice. I was also sure to ask of the return policy, which was thankfully also very liberal, before I committed to buying. (Also, the New Balance 769’s that I wanted, weren’t available in my size!)
I had a chance to try them out on the treadmill this morning, going for a decent 10 km run. To my surprise, they felt great and I had no initial adjustment problems! This was one of the rare times a shoe has felt this good on the first try; even the Mizuno’s took a run or two to feel “great”. What surprised me even more is that the Supernova Glide is a “neutral” cushioned shoe, not a stability or motion-control one that would be better-suited to my overpronating feet. However, I believe my orthotics help compensate for this and may be enough, but in the long term this may not be a good idea as the shoes may not offer enough stability or rigidness for my foot type. Only time will tell.
Also unique to this shoe was the FORMOTION-dubbed heel shape of the Supernova Glides. Basically, the shape of the heel is not flat, it is slightly slanted on the outside part of the heel. This was interesting because when I look at the wear pattern on the heels of my old shoes, they show the same shape, that is, the outside part of the heel is worn more than the rest. With the Supernova Glides, the heel already has this shape, so I’m guessing this will help reduce wear or extend the life of the shoes.
Anyways, I highly recommend you buy your running shoes from a place that will allow you to test them out on the treadmill for a reasonable period of time, anywhere from 2-3 weeks at least. Battle-testing or trial-by-fire is the only way to go. However, the true test of these shoes will come when I am forced to take them outside for a 20+ km run…