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Stop Running in the Wrong Shoes

Updated on August 29, 2012
Mizuno Running Shoes
Mizuno Running Shoes

Your Feet Need The Right Shoes

Running shoes come in a lot of different varieties, colors, shapes, and textures. Some shoe companies specialize in road running shoes and others lean toward the trail runner and their needs. When shoes are purchased, especially by those who really are concerned with the style of a shoe, the fit and overall feel may not be the main concern. If the shoe is only going to be used sporadically, this may be an okay tactic.

The main question for an avid runner should be, however, what type of feet do you have? If you’re like most people there is a specific shoe that feels just right, one that hugs your foot and is contoured to all the curves from your toes to your heal. If you have looked for the perfect running shoe knowing you will be spending quite a bit of time in them training for an event or just staying in shape, there are places to go. All across the country there are running stores that cater to runners with questions about what shoes are best for them.

For years, I ran in Nike Pegasus because they were the shoe that most of us in cross country ran in during high school. They were the cool shoe with the best colors and they felt okay most of the time for me as a kid. As I moved along with my running and really started to rack up the miles I realized the ball of my left foot was hurting and bruised after long runs. Because it was engrained in my head that a certain shoe was the way to go, I stayed with it. What I failed to realize was I was changing with age and my running was evolving too. I no longer ran for speed, and with that just came increased mileage instead. A lot more foot falls equaled more pain.

I had friends in the Tucson, Arizona area who suggested a running store entitled, “All About Running and Walking”. With a name like that how was I to go wrong with finding a pair of shoes that may have helped my running ailments? I arrived at the store and was greeted as I entered. I explained I had certain points on my left foot that hurt while running and the owner did something foreign to me. I was taken outside in my Nike Pegasus and asked to run normally away from him for approximately 50 feet. I was then to turn around and again run normally back toward him. I noticed the store owner kneeling down intently watching my feet as I ran. He asked that I do it again before going back inside.

He explained what he saw, which I learned was an over-pronation of my left foot while striding out. He pointed out the wear pattern on my old shoes and showed me the correlation between where my foot was impacting the ground and where I indicated the pain was centralized. The shoe was in fact worn down much more on the inside of the shoe than the outside.

I learned that day that there was much more to a pair of running shoes than color, or initial feel when the shoes are just on your feet in a store. I was given a pair of shoes by four different manufacturers; Saucony, Asics, Brooks, and Mizuno. He told me these shoes were a step up in support than what I was currently wearing and that they would alter the way my feet hit the ground. I tried them all on and decided the Mizuno’s felt the best. They cradled my foot and the padding was amazing. I was allowed to go outside and run in them for a short while to make sure they felt right. The change was noticeable in that they provided much more support than what I was used to. It was actually an uncomfortable and strange feel at first but I trusted him and purchased them.

On my first run of 10 miles, my foot pain was gone. The interesting part though was the pain was now in my left knee. I called the store owner who told me my body was not used to the new strike pattern of my foot and the change was taking effect up my leg. Because my foot position was different, so was my knee position. I was instructed to run a few more times in the shoes to see what would happen and that we could revisit the problem if needed. The result was miraculous in that the pain was never felt again on any of the subsequent runs. My body had accepted the new positioning of my foot strike with added support and my running improved – pain free. From that point on I stayed with the category of shoe that provided the over-pronation support I needed. I have run in Mizuno’s, Asics, and Brooks since then and realize there is a shoe for me.

Chances are you are a repeat customer for the same make and style of running shoe as I was years ago. If you are feeling any type of discomfort, find a running store that will cater to you one on one. There is a probability you are in the wrong shoes and need a change. You never know until you explore the possibility. Happy running!


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    • Backyard Flare profile image

      Dan Heston 5 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      The less is more philosophy doesn't work for me now that I have reached my forties. My feet need the support only offered by a shoe designed for overpronation. I have a friend (2:14:00 marathoner) who can run in anything so he tends to subscribe to the less is more way of doing things. You'll just have to figure it out or go to a shop that'll do it for you. Good luck.

    • mlzingarella profile image

      mlzingarella 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      A useful hub. I loved reading about that shoe store that took so much time to identify your needs and consider what shoe would work best for you. It is also interesting, and something that I have written about too, that the shoes themselves can lead to soreness. In my case my shoes led to injury. You seem to be an avid and experienced runner, so I am curious. What are your thoughts about the new trend in running shoes that 'less is more.' I have to admit the light and flexible shoes, although I have heard good things, make me a little nervous.