FITted for Running Shoes
About every 6 months or so, I get new running shoes. Being fitted for running shoes is one of the first lessons I learned when I joined the run group Black Girls Run. My first time being fitted for running shoes was a dramatically different experience in comparison to my most recent experience. For a few reasons but mostly because I am a different type of runner today. The first time I went to Pacers, a running store in Washington, DC. I was sized and then discussed my running goals with the sales person. Finally I did the treadmill test which includes running on a treadmill while your foot strikes are recorded on a camera and then assessed. I was told (and I saw) that my right foot over pronates, which essentially means while running my right ankle would rolls inward. As a result, I needed a stability shoe. I tried on different stability shoes, landed on Asics, and loved them! For years when I need new running shoes and have that consultation, I tell the sales people that I over pronate in my right foot and need stability shoes. That's that. This last time went differently.
My sister wanted to get running shoes and I immediately suggested that she get fitted. I've been fitted at a few different places loved my experience at Pacers and so I suggested we go to Pacers. This time we went to the Pacers in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, VA. This time, in the spirt of supporting my sister, I decided to pretend it was also my first time being fitted for running shoes. I met with a woman who asked about my running goals and average mileage. She also asked me about running shoes I had worn in the past. I was wearing Nikes but I told her I mostly wear Asics because I like the design. She asked me what kind of Asics and I said I wasn't sure as I just pick them by style. (I'm probably an average lier but for sure a bad actor lol). We did the treadmill test starting with a neutral shoe. Looking at the recording, she suggested I wear neutral shoe. Surprised, I asked her about over pronation and she said she noticed it was happening slightly in the right foot but not enough to go all out and recommend a stability shoe. The look on my face must have been something. She went on to explain that I had a great gait and stride and if I got stability shoes they would cause me to run differently. To prove her point (and probably fix the look on my face) she brought out a pair of stability Asics and let me do the treadmill test again. They did feel different but it wasn't until I saw the video with my own eyes that I was truly surprised. When I wear the stability shoes, they do prevent my right ankle from rolling in, however my left foot was starting to roll outwardly. I couldn't believe it. Finally I shared that I sometimes have pain on the top of my foot and I was worried I wouldn't get the support I needed in a neural shoe. She explained that the problem was not with the neutral shoe it was that I needed a shoe with a wide base. She brought out a few pair, one she highly recommended for me in New Balance. I tried them on, ran again a full on 3 mins on the treadmill and they felt amazing. I couldn't believe it. Needless to say I purchased the New Balance. I've had them for about 2 weeks now and they are great. Me...neutral running shoes. Who knew!
The lesson here? No matter how many times you've been fitted for running shoes, get fitted every time you go to purchase new ones. Most places have a policy that will allow you to run in the shoes up to 30 days before returning them for a different pair if they aren't the right fit.