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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    21

    Talk to me about shoes

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    I've recently gotten into walking (not running), but I've been doing decent distances, 4-6 miles most days, and yesterday I did 11.5 miles. I usually walk on a paved trail. It's clear my *cough*11*cough* year-old tennis shoes are not going to cut it. They are physically in ok shape, not splitting or falling apart, but I'm feeling every pound of pavement against the pad of my foot after a couple miles.

    I started reading about running/walking shoes and WOW the level of information! I don't know if I pronate or not, whether I need cushion or stability more, or what. I just want something that doesn't leave me feeling like a hammer's been taken to my feet when I get done!

    I don't want something that comes high up and gets near my ankle bones. I must be particularly bony or something, because higher-topped shoes always rub and cause pain. Other than that, my feet are on the narrow side, size 6.5-7 depending on the shoe (though I usually wear a 6 in dress sandals, I usually need bigger in a tennis shoe), and somewhat high arches.

    Where do you start looking? Most shoes feel comfortable just standing around, how do I know they're still going to feel comfortable after several miles on pavement?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,129
    It's no different than cycling shoes; go to a local running store, tell them your price point and all of your foot issues, as well as the distances you do walking. If they're good, they will do a gait analysis on a treadmill right in the store.
    My LRS is great. He knows I only do short bursts of running at the gym, weight lifting, and some walking, but I get the same service as a marathoner.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    21
    I cycle in the same 11 year old tennis shoes as I walk (eek!)

    I didn't know local running stores were a thing! I'll have to google and see if we have anything near me. I know there are a couple shoe stores in the mall, but I used to be married to a shoe salesman, and his store used to carry a couple brands of tennis shoes, and they were all about the commission. Sell you a pair of shoes, add on some cleaner and some shoe-freshener, and how about a spare pair of laces, etc. I know for a fact he didn't know much about athletics, and they were just as much a street shoe store as a tennis shoe store.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,129
    Buying shoes for running (and cycling) is somewhat technical, more for running, in my opinion. I would not go to a big box sporting goods store.... as you said, they often know nothing.
    And, if you are cycling on flat pedals, in running shoes, please, please find some shoes with a stiff bottom. Some people buy a pair of mountain bike shoes and don't install the cleats, but using a pair of light hiking shoes often do as well. If you are riding in sneakers, the sole is too flexible and eventually, you'll be dealing with foot pain.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Research actually shows that the so-called gait analysis is at best useless, at worst can contribute to injuries. Basically if you don't have any history of fracture, surgery or birth defects, then if your feet and ankles aren't functioning properly, it's because they're weak and/or stiff, and putting them into shoes that are, essentially, a cast or brace, actually prevents you from building strength and flexibility. The latest studies say wear shoes that are comfortable, make sure your feet can spread out in all directions inside the shoes (having narrow feet will make that much easier for you!), try them on after you've already walked several miles so you know how they'll fit when your feet are tired and swollen, and that's your best shot at staying healthy. The LRS will likely have a better selection than the big box stores, and their salespeople will almost certainly be more familiar with the way different models fit, but if they try to sell you shoes to control the motion of your feet and ankles, ask them to show you the studies they're basing that on.

    But yeah - +1 on not cycling more than a few miles at a time in flexible shoes.

    And, age of shoes has mostly to do with the condition of the midsoles, regardless of how the uppers are holding up. Depending on the shoes, the midsoles will probably start to compress within 150-200 miles. You can probably see "wrinkles" in the sides of the midsoles, or if not, if you compare them to a brand new pair of the same model (not that there's such a thing after 11 years ) you'll see that they're pancaked. That's why they're not insulating you from the ground - there's just no cushion left. Plus, since the midsoles will compress not uniformly but according to where your weight falls during your stride, they're probably oddly shaped by now and throwing your gait off.

    How much cushion you might want depends a lot on your weight as well as the surfaces you walk on (concrete or rocks need the most cushion, soft sand and rock-free trails the least), and somewhat on your mileage. Historically more cushioned shoes had a lot of slop to them. I run in moderately cushioned shoes and still feel planted when I run, and from what I've read and heard (user comments more so than manufacturer ads), newer sole technology allows for a lot of cushion while still retaining good ground feel in maximalist shoes like Hoka One Ones. That's another reason to go to the LRS, since the big box stores usually carry only historical and superseded models.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 04-19-2016 at 03:43 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,129
    Thank you, Oak for the research... all I know is that after I started getting my shoes at the LRS, I had no more burning and squeezing every time I was at the gym... I replace my shoes once a year to 15 months, despite the fact that I am not really "running" in them. A few pairs managed to live through my 2-3 attempts at running, but unless my SI joint miraculously repairs itself totally, it's not in the cards. I still get the urge, but it hurts when I try, so I don't have a choice.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,651
    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    That's another reason to go to the LRS, since the big box stores usually carry only historical and superseded models.
    Lots of great advice in your post, Oak. But sometimes I think being able to buy discontinued models is a good thing! I was fitted for a pair of Vasque Blurs at REI years ago for trail running and walking, and they were the BEST. I literally wore those shoes all over Belize (as well as in NC and other places) for several years for both walking and the occasional run. When the soles finally wore out, of course they had been discontinued. If I could have found a pair at a big box store, I would have bought three! Instead, I bought a different Vasque model (can't remember the name) from an ebay seller and got holes in the toe mesh in just a few months. And the same thing happened with the Asics running shoes I was fitted for at a LRS last summer. So frustrating to me to spend $125 and only go three months without a hole. The soles are still fine, but I feel sloppy wearing shoes with holes, so they have been relegated to gardening/work shoes now.

    This time, I went to Rack Room, tried on a bunch of running shoes (no Asics, after reading that toe holes are very common in that brand for some of us), and ended up with a very comfy pair of New Balances that are certainly a previous season's model. No matter to me, if they feel good, I'm wearing them. And at a price of $69, I can afford to replace them more often when the cushioning becomes compressed.
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,352
    I'm also a big proponent of the LRS. Before I ever went there I would never spend more than $30 on shoes. Well, I got into jogging and walking and was having a lot of foot pain so I asked the opinion of a friend who is a marathon runner. She recommended a LRS and they did measure my feet and watch my gait and then brought out probably 10 different pairs of shoes and I tried them all on, walked around and fell in love with my Brooks. It's made all the difference in the world to me and was worth the $150. That particular store also has a 30 day exchange if you weren't happy with the shoes. Now I tend to buy last years model to save money, but I think it's totally worth it to go to a LRS


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    2012 Jamis Quest Brooks B17 Blue
    2012 Jamis Dakar XC Comp SI Ldy Gel
    2013 Electra Verse

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Montreal, QC
    Posts
    774
    I have serious overpronated feet so I too, prefer to go to specialty stores (running, or whatever sport I'm doing) for my sport equipment shoes/boots. I like that the staff knows its product as the person serving me only does that and is not going from one department to the next.

    I also found a company (Vionic) that does shoes for those like me with overpronation. I can finally wear heels or sandals without risking an ankle twist when walking.

    I can always have my insoles done professionally (which I do yearly or every 2 years) but I find they are good but not fitting in everytype of shoes I have. So Vionic for dress/sandals meets my needs. And for sports I like to go to the Running Room where they have a very nice selection of the type of shoes I need.

    I always wonder if I had taken better care of my feet when I was younger (by investing in high quality shoes) if I would still have all those knees issues I go through today.
    Helene
    Riding a 2014 Specialized Amira LS4 Expert - aka The Zebra!
    2015 Specialized Crux e5 - aka Bora Bora bike

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    21
    I've been meaning to thank you all for the advice - but I've been so busy walking! I got a new pair of Asics Gel Nimbus 17 (my ancient shoes were an old version of this model, and I'd always been happy with the fit). O. M. G. The first few steps I took, I was shocked at how much spring and bounce I felt. I mostly wear flats to work so I'm just used to feeling the hard ground underneath my feet. I just wanted to start skipping!

    I've been logging my walks in Strava as "run" so that I can put my shoes in as gear, and keep track of how many miles are on them.

 

 

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