“Just Doing It”…..properly.

running shoes

The weather is nice, so I’m back into the running routine.  But something didn’t feel  right.  My feet, ankles, and knees were really taking a beating.  Am I just getting old(er)? or is something else to blame?

If you’ve chosen to start a running, walking or hiking program for exercise because all it takes is a pair of shoes to start, listen up.  If those shoes are ill-fitting, you may just be doing more harm than good.  Poor quality shoes can cause stress fractures of the bones in your feet and ankle, muscle sprains, knee injuries, hip in juries and even herniated discs and pinched nerves.

On the suggestion of my sister, a high school track star and avid daily runner, I went to a specialty store to get properly fitted for running shoes.

Again, I don’t get paid to write about certain stores, but the store I chose was Fleet Feet in Sandy Springs, Georgia.  The store owner, Paul had been fitting people with running and walking shoes for over 20 years.  His wife worked with him and she had many years of experience as well.

I was greeted with a smile when I entered the store, and although I had to wait a bit to be fitted because other were being fitted, the wait was no longer than 10 minutes.  The wait allowed me to listen to who else was there and how they being fitted.   There was another woman there, probably in her late 50’s, that was being fitted for running shoes, and a younger woman being fitted for walking shoes.  Another man, who had the physique of a marathon runner came in to purchase another pair of the shoes he purchased there a while ago. Turns out, he does run marathons.

When it was my turn, the first thing I did was take off my shoes and socks and sit in front of Paul. (so glad I had that pedicure….)  He looked at my feet and asked me if I was having any pain or problems.  Then he asked me what I was planning on doing with my new shoes….walking for exercise, jogging, training, racing, etc.

feet

Support the feet that support you all day every day!

He then had me sit and stand a few times so he could see my arches and how much they “fell” when I stood.

Paul measured my foot, again, sitting and standing, measuring the size and the width.

Turns out my current shoes, (generic shoes from a discount store) were a whole size smaller than my true correct fitted size.  Also, my old shoes didn’t have any arch support at all, so with each step, I was doing damage to my arch and ankle. (hence the ankle and calf pain I was getting after the first mile)

He brought out a pair of running shoes so he could observe my stride.  I put them on and he watched me run outside in the parking lot: first away from him, then towards him.  He was looking at the way my foot turned with each stride.  It turns out, my foot turns out. :)  This is called “overpronating”.

He suggested an insert that provided extra arch support as well as heel support for my particular stride.

He then brought out a running shoe that:

  • was my correct size
  • had extra arch firmness (the inside of the shoe was very stiff)
  • was lightweight
  • was the proper shoes for my training goal: a 1/2 marathon

Then he had me try some running socks.  These are socks that have moisture control, and the seams are on the outside to prevent any abnormal pressure.

The shoes were not cheap ($95) but I felt like it was a tradeoff for the cost of an injury as there is no way I could have continued with my current footwear and reached the goals I had set.

Equipped with my new shoes, inserts, and socks I went out this morning for my run.

I was truly amazed at the difference these new shoes and socks made.  I was able to complete my run without the ankle pain and knee pain that I usually get.  My feet felt great!

Any exercise program requires proper equipment. If you are planning to start a walking or running program, or if you have started one but are having problems with injuries, (even if they are not foot injuries) you may want to get properly fitted for shoes to see if this makes a difference.

You may not realize how good exercise can feel!

Here is great article on buying running shoes

Here is a great article on buying walking shoes

Here is great article on buying hiking shoes



Categories: exercise, fitness, health, running, walking

Tags: , , , , , , ,

21 replies

  1. Its amazing how something so simple could do so much! It always turns out to be the smaller things in life that make the biggest difference doesn’t it?

  2. I wish that it was possible to find a shop that would take such care over fitting ‘ordinary’ shoes.
    There are some shops here in England that do much as you describe for running shoes, but ‘ordinary’ shoes are seldom fitted.
    This is a real problem for me and I would gladly pay for shoes that fit me.

    • There seems to be a lack of fitting regular shoes in the US as well. And since we spend much more time in everyday shoes than in exercise shoes, it seems even more important.
      Maybe there’s an entrepreneur out there who’s listening!
      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  3. When I used to do a lot of running on pavement, I always seemed to get some soreness in my back. It was probably because I was so stingy about money, and would buy the cheapest sneakers and wear them until they were falling apart. I think I might invest in some better sneakers thanks to your article, even if my running is mostly limited to my yard and the treadmill.

    • I have seen websites that promote barefoot running on pavement….I’m not sure how they do it! See if the upgraded shoes make a difference. You may be surprised, like I was, when they tell you your true shoe size!
      Thanks for taking the time to comment PL!

  4. there is nothing like a running shoe that fits like a glove!!

  5. I do agree. A good pair of shoes for running or walking, is so important. Glad that you took up some running.

  6. This is great advice. I have actually just started running this week, so this will be very useful to me :)

  7. As I was reading, I started to get curious and anxiously waited for the price. Wow, that’s expensive, but I agree with you that it is a tradeoff for a cost of injury. I think I need to have the same fitting done. Maybe when I’m in the U.S. this summer, I’ll try to do it. I don’t know if I could afford the shoes as I don’t run enough to justify… But, I know that my shoes are not good. One of the pairs I have is a pair I’ve had forever. How can I love to run? Do you know? Thanks for your comment. I think it’s a blessing that you get to send off your girl to college. Good job, sistah!

    • If you don’t like running, then find something you love, like walking or maybe skating or bike riding with your girls or your hubby! For me running is a time when I can be alone to think and work things out in my head. It’s as much for my mind as my body.
      But remember, if you don’t like it, you’re not going to do it. You don’t have to run to be healthy…walking is just as good, and has much less injuries.
      Yes, it’s a blessing that she is going off to college, but I am going to miss her a LOT! :(

  8. The pedicure comment made me realize that I need to take care of my feet. So embarrassing…

  9. I’m just glad to see another non-stiletto wearing individual. :)

    Out of curiosity- do you know of any research on the effect of heels versus shoes (trainers, sandals) on feet? There is a gospel that needs to be preached…..!

    K

  10. i am so glad someone wrote about this.

    In day to day life we dont pay attention to these small things – small things which are really important.

    i learnt my lesson after suffering from a heel bone spur. Thank God, we have good podiatrists in Spain. An insert for extra arch fixed the problem.

    Thanks for sharing this info. Followed your comment on another blog, and I am glad I did.

    cheers,
    SamyakJaya
    ThoughtTavern

    • I am honored to have a Spaniard commenting! (my husband’s family is all from Spain)
      My sister gave me the advice to get fitted, and I think I have saved myself from a lot of pain!
      Thanks very much for taking the time to comment!

  11. All the comments are great! A lot of useful information. Thank you all for sharing. I look forward to reading more of your posts..

    Best!

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