For the past six months or so, I’ve bounced around (and around, and around) between types and brands of running shoes.
From my beloved Newtons (I really want to come back to them one day!) to Hokas, to Brooks (which I used to run in and still love) trying to find a way to stay healthy and keep running.
Last week I met my friend Victoria at the Tech Shop in Calgary to purchase new shoes. I fell in lurve with the new Brooks Glycerin 13s, but figured I should probably get a gait analysis done in my current shoes and in the shoes I was hoping to purchase, both with and without my orthotics.
Why yes, I am high maintenance.
Thankfully Victoria is a good sport, and I gave her the heads up before I came in that I wanted to turn my shoe shopping experience into a blog post, because why not?! (Victoria is in the process of relaunching her blog, so she totally “gets” it.)
How to Buy Running Shoes
1. Go to a running store
Not a sporting store, not a store that sells seven billion kinds of shoes. A running store, where they sell things related to running. (If you’re in Calgary, may I suggest stopping by the Tech Shop?)
2. Bring in your old shoes
By looking at the wear pattern of your current shoes, the sales associate can get a sense of your foot strike. If you wear on the inside more than the outside, you probably pronate; if you wear on the outside more than the inside, you probably supinate.
3. Know what you like, but be open to new ideas
Every where you look there’s a new shoe fad.
Minimalist. Maximallist. Zero Drop. Etc.
It helps if you know what works for you. If you tell the sales associate you prefer a higher cushioned shoe, they’ll bring out higher cushioned shoes for you to try. This helps them to narrow down the options.
That said, they may suggest something you haven’t thought of. Give it a try. You’ve got nothing to lose by trying on a shoe.
4. Listen to the associate
The associate is going to make suggestions based upon your gait and what you do/don’t like. Don’t get distracted by all of the others shoes on the wall (yes, I know they’re pretty) and interrupt. They very probably know more than you, so it’s worth your time to listen to them.
5. Try them on, walk around, jog on the treadmill
Don’t just put the shoes on your feet. Put them on and walk around.
If you normally wear orthotics (like me) bring them and put them in the shoe. A shoe that fits great without the orthotic, may not work at all with them.
If the store has a treadmill, hop on for a few minutes. The shoe may feel great while you’re walking around, but you may hate it on the treadmill.
6. Keep the receipt and wear them indoors
Once you find the shoe you like and decide to make the purchase, keep your receipt and wear them on the treadmill for the first bit. As the shoe starts to break in (which really shouldn’t take much time at all) you may decide they aren’t for you. So long as you have your receipt and have worn them indoors, you should be able to return them no problem.
Some other thoughts:
- Not everyone needs a gait analysis. I know I pronate. I asked Victoria to reassess my gait because of all of my issues. This isn’t always necessary.
- Don’t buy a pair of shoes just because of the colour. If they don’t fit your foot properly, you just wasted your money and might end up injured.
- If a certain brand/style has always worked for you, and you’re not injured, you probably don’t need to change. Most associates will bring out a handful of comparable models for you to try. Not because you should change, but because it’s a good way to confirm they’re right for you.
- Don’t spend 30 minutes looking at and trying on shoes, and leave. Most associates know you’re probably going to find them elsewhere for cheaper. I’m a huge fan of saving money (it’s rare I pay full price for anything) but I really dislike being rude and wasting people’s time. Plus, local running stores are amazing with help and advice. Support them.
[Tweet “Key points from Ange and @thetechshopca for buying running shoes! #runchat #runyyc “]
Tell me about your shoe buying experiences!
Linking up with Nicole for Fit & Fashionable Friday!
Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated, enticed, bribed, or encouraged to recommend the Tech Shop. I’ve always received great service in the store and it helps that a friend of mine works there and is also a runner 🙂
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