Monday, August 20, 2012

New Shoes

I just laced up my new running shoes.  After the Warrior Dash last weekend, I left my old shoes there with the organization Green Sneakers. They will clean all the shoes they collect and distribute them to people who need them.  Most of them will go overseas.  

That left me needing a new pair of running shoes.  For the last week I have been using an old pair I found in the back of my closet.  I am a Saucony diehard.  I can't wear Nike.  Or Reebok.  Or Adidas.  I can wear Asics, New Balance or Saucony.  But after many, many pairs of sneakers, I have found that this particular Saucony Cohesion style sneaker  works for me.  

Last year, I tried a different brand of running shoe.  While my feet were fine, I developed achilles issues and had to stop running for almost 2 months.  The only change had been my shoes, so I am certain that is what caused it.  Fortunately, the injury happened right before my surgery, so after completing 2 months of physical therapy, I was forced to rest for an additional 2 months.  Last winter, I returned to my beloved Saucony Cohesions.  

I tend to get super lucky and find Saucony Cohesions on sale.  They aren't expensive shoes and have a starting price point of around $55 on the official Saucony web site.  They also tend to be easy to find a size as many people don't even consider buying them.  The girl working at the box store handed them to me with a look on her face that would make someone believe she was handing me a cardboard box full of dog poop.  She even said to me "these are the least quality shoes we offer."  With a tone.  I'm guessing she is basing her opinion on what the cute shoe rep who was there at the same time explaining to her all the benefits of the new $150 Under Armour shoes he was pushing.  I kindly told her I disagreed and said shoes accompanied me on training for and completing a full marathon, two half marathons, two 25K trail runs and too many 5K's to count.  

Another place I get lucky to buy my beloved Cohesions is at Marshall's.  As stated above, Cohesions get overlooked.  I think people mistake price with quality.  As such, stores get stuck with many leftovers in last season's colors.  These find their way to Marshall's and I stock up when they do!

The important thing to keep in mind is to find a shoe that works for you.  These work for me, but may not be the right shoe for everyone.  If you are a seasoned runner, you probably have a go to brand and style of shoe.  If you are new to running, I highly recommend going to a running store to buy your first pair.  They will not only analyze your stride and strike of your foot, they will find the shoe that works best for you.  AND, even better, almost always a running store will stand behind their recommendation.  If you aren't happy with the shoe, even if you have used it, they will take it back and help you find something that works.  Be sure to ask if this option exists and what their time limit is for taking the shoes back.  You may pay a little more for this first pair of shoes, but you will find the shoe that is right for you. 

Remember that following any major change in your body, you may need to go back to the running store and make sure you are still in the best shoe for you.  During my pregnancies, my foot grew an entire size and got wider.  I switched to New Balance shoes during each of my pregnancies.  (I ran into the 9th month with my first, into the 8th with my second and third.)  I also stayed in the New Balances for a period of time after I had given birth, until my feet returned to their pre-pregnancy size and width. 

Also, please don't ever buy shoes for running based on color.  The fit is absolutely the most important criteria.  It won't matter if the color looks good if you are limping due to a blister or worse, a run ending injury.

Running is a budget friendly way to get and stay healthy.  Cut corners on the clothing.  Shorts and t-shirts are fine.  You don't need expensive, matching outfits.  Spend the money on shoes, socks and a good sports bra.  You may get lucky like me and find an inexpensive running shoe.  You may need something that costs more.  But get what works for you.  Socks is another area not to cut corners.  I like Nike's Dry Fit socks.  They are a bit expensive, but again, I wait for sales and coupons and then I stock up.  

Finally, take good care of your shoes by doing the following:
  • Wear them only for running/walking.  Don't use them for mowing the lawn, completing errands, or hanging around the house.  
  • Put rice in an old pair of socks and tie off the top.  Place these in your shoes after a run.  They will absorb excess moisture and keep your shoes from getting stinky.  If your shoes start to smell, consider an anti-bacterial spray in addition to the homemade rice bags.
  • Make sure you are lacing your shoes correctly. Lacing your shoes based on your own needs will allow your shoes to maintain their proper shape.
  • Wipe down the outside of your shoes after any muddy runs.  
  • If you have to wash your running shoes, put them in the top rack of your dishwasher.  It does a lot less damage to them than the washing machine.  This will address odor issues as well.


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