Ah, I’ve been waiting so long to write this post and finally the day has come. There are soooo many people in this world who do not know how to purchase the perfect workout shoe for their foot type and certain fitness routine, but I don’t blame them. I mean it’s no wonder they’re so confused; there are so many options! There’s running shoes, walking shoes, tennis shoes, weight lifting shoes, training shoes, basketball shoes… and don’t even get me started on Shape Up’s whatever those are for. How is anyone ever supposed to know which shoe is the right fit for him or her?
Well, when it comes to running, purchasing the right kind of shoe is essential not just for performance purposes but for injury-prevention purposes as well. Yea fancy Nike Free’s are cute to jog around in, but how much support do they really give you? Trust me, I’ve made my fair share of poor running shoe purchases, and all those purchases left me with shin splits, IT band strains and sore knees. The first step anyone looking to pick up or revive a running routine should take is purchasing the perfect running shoe. Here’s the gist:
From the seventh grade all the way to my senior year of high school, I was running Cross Country and Track in Nike Free’s, because just like most Nike lovers, I was in it for the swag (common’ you know it’s true). But when I started running XC and Track in college, the first thing my coach did was throw away my Nike’s and sign me up for a gait analysis at our local runner’s store, Top Speed.
What the heck is a gait analysis, you may be wondering? Your gait is the way you walk, from your posture, your stride all the way to the way you place your foot in front of you when you take a step. Top Speed, and most if not all true runner’s stores, has each new customer run on a treadmill to watch the way he or she runs. The sales associate then gives that customer his or her gait type with a few suggestions on the kinds of running shoes available for that gait type. Crazy cool, right? It’s like having a fairy godmother guide you towards a path of injury-free fitness paved just for you!
Now if you’re to walk into a true runner’s store like Top Speed, you’re hardly EVER going to find a pair of Nike’s on the wall, let alone Nike Free’s. The biggest difference between shoes designed for running and shoes designed for moderate to light exercise is the padding and arch support. If you’re suffering from shin splints and are running in Nike’s, please take those shoes off immediately! Nike Free’s are light and “airy” almost, which is all fun and games for a little while until you wear out all the shoe’s support in just a few weeks of consistent running. Asics, Brooks, Saucony and Mizuno running shoes, on the other hand, give your arches WAY more cushion and support from the get-go and don’t wear out as quickly. However, I should mention that if you’re consistently running (let’s say an average of 20-45 miles/ week) you should be purchasing new running shoes every 3-5 months. Expensive, I know, but trust me- this is one investment you’ll never regret. ESPECIALLY when you’re older and your joints aren’t as strong as they used to be.
Alright, so you just finished your fancy gait analysis, found the perfect running shoe for your foot type and take your pretty shoe box to the register. *Cha ching!* “That’ll be $120+!” Yea… just because it’s the perfect running shoe doesn’t always mean it’s the perfect price. But, this is the Blonde, Bright and Broke, so of course I have a solution to that problem! Once you’ve found the right kind of shoe to purchase, you can begin to shop elsewhere for the same models. Please don’t get me wrong, I love supporting small running store businesses, however I am, unfortunately, on a tight college budget. Here’s a list of places I buy my running shoes from at a fraction of the price runner’s stores sell them:
- The Asics sale site (they put old colors on sale but the models are more often than not the same as the new versions)
- The Macy’s sale site (believe it or not)
- Amazon.com (sometimes you’re able to find good deals but shipping is always free at the very least if you’re a Prime member)
- The Saucony sale site (they put old colors on sale but the models are more often than not the same as the new versions)
- Marshalls, Ross and TJ Max (you really can get lucky here if you’re patient)
See, I wouldn’t let you guys drown in a money-less pool of shin splints and fancy runner’s stores! Finding the perfect running shoe for your foot type or even the perfect workout shoe for your fitness level is crucial in maintaining your muscles, bones and joints for the long haul of your life. I know it seems like a lot to invest in, but would you rather pay for shoes or medical bills? Now what are you waiting for, get on those new shoes of yours and start tearing up those trails!
To health infinity and beyond!