Saturday, June 03, 2006

Daddy needs a new pair of shoes

So I got my grocery shopping done at the cost of $93.80! Wow, just for little ‘ol me. I think that could be the most I have ever spent on groceries in one shot. Oh well, at least I have some ingredients to cook with now!

After grocery shopping and a little breakfast, it was time to do some more shopping. This time, for shoes.

My parents will laugh at me, because I am developing a bit of a shoe problem. Honestly, I can count the number of casual/dress shoes I have bought in the last 10 years on one hand. In the last two year, I am sure I have eclipsed the dozen mark with running shoes alone. And, since this is a running blog, let’s talk about running shoes!

The thing is, running shoes break down and lose their cushioning at around 500 miles (more or less), so the more you run, the more you need to replace. And my last pair was rapidly approaching that mark, with some noticeable wear on the soles.

So I headed on over to the Start Line in Minnetonka. This is the specialty running store I first went to last winter when I realized I didn’t know what I was doing when it came to selecting shoes.

On my first visit, they diagnosed what my feet do when I run and determined I needed a stability running shoe. My feet tend to roll inward as I run (as it turns out, I am a mild pronator, which I did not realize), so a stability shoe offers some beefed up support on the arch side of the shoe to help minimize the pronation. They put me in some Asics GEL Kayano XII’s, which served me quite well, but I felt like I should be looking for some extra features for my next pair.

When I came in to the Start Line today, I brought my old shoes so they could analyze the wear pattern, which confirmed for them that they did indeed put me in the right kind of shoe. They asked me how I liked the Asics. I told them I did like them and that they offered me great support, however I was wondering if there might be something with a little more cushioning, especially in the front.

The lady assisting me literally brought out every pair of stability running shoes they had in my size (seven different models, I believe!). I tried on each of them and trotted around the store a little bit to help weed out the ones that worked better vs. the ones that just didn’t feel right at all. Once we did that, I narrowed it down to three that I preferred, and then it was time to hit the treadmill!

One by one, I tested each pair out by running on the in-store treadmill to determine which worked and felt the best. Some felt better than others. Some offered noticeably more support. One pair actually sounded clunky, like my feet were slapping and not riding smoothly. It is amazing that similarly styled shoes can vary so much.

Eventually I decided on the pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 6’s, which felt awesome. They seemed to have more of the forefoot cushioning I was looking for, and they rolled off the toe so much nicer than my old shoes. She even had me try on a new pair of my old Asics just to confirm my decision, and I still preferred the Brooks. I can’t wait to get these out on the road.

I will bet I spent 45 minutes in the store, and the personal service I received was awesome (heck, I even got a brief workout on a treadmill, too!). They are very friendly and knowledgeable, and they take the time to make sure you get the show that is right for you. The salesman helping a young lady next to me actually talked her out of a really expensive pair of shoes because he insisted they would not be right for her. That is pretty cool, and says a lot about the integrity of the store and staff.

So the lesson is, if you need running shoes, go to a specialty running store. You won’t get this kind of service at Footlocker, and the prices won’t be much different, if at all.

And my new shoes were actually cheaper than my groceries this morning... :)

Until next time,

Jean
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