Monday, August 23, 2010

Running Shoe Talk: The natural progression of when to buy

shoeos I’ve got new shoes on the brain. Mostly because I just had my first run in my new pair last night. That’s them there in the picture. Aren’t they cute? Although they’d be much cuter if they had pink embellishments, but sadly, my shoe has been discontinued, yet again, so I was forced to get whatever color they had and they had blue (better than the Divas anyway).

But I may be forced to change my entire running ensemble now. I mean, who can run in blue shoes and a pink top? I won’t be able to concentrate. Every time I pass by someone, I know they’ll be staring at me thinking, “What? Did she get ready in the dark or something?” (which I actually practically do so as not to wake the fam at 4:30 in the morning, but that’s an entirely different story). I’m definitely going to feel obligated to explain my mismatched running attire to each and every passerby which is probably going to slow my pace down considerably. And we can’t be having that now can we?

So as I’ve pondered all things running shoe and running shoe related lately, I’ve realized there’s sort of a natural progression as to how one determines the appropriate time to buy a new pair. Now, it’s quite possible that this natural progression is natural to me and me alone, but I suspect perhaps no. And since some of my favorite readers* out there happen to be newbie runners, I thought maybe you could pick up a thing or two from my previous shoe purchasing experiences. Probably not. But just in case maybe so, I thought I’d put together a little flow chart to show you the appropriate methods and progression of how you should determine it’s time to go get a new pair of kicks.

Since, however, I don’t know how to make a flowchart appear on Blogger and “appropriate” is by all means a relative term, I’ve instead just made a list of the various methods I’ve used over the years to decide when, oh yeah baby, it’s time, with the first technique being how I purchased new shoes in my early running days progressing to how I buy them today. (Disclaimer: I assume absolutely no responsibility for the condition of your shoes nor can I be held liable for your decision to purchase or to not purchase a new pair since I am by no means offering professional advice, rather just talking off the top of my head here).

Various Methods of How One May (Or May Not) Decide to Buy New Running Shoes

1. By look – You happen to notice something is wrong with your shoe which is frequently marked by uttering something to the effect of: “Ooooo there’s a hole in my toe.” Or, “looky here! My tread is falling off. That can’t be good.” (Please Note: This is extremely way beyond the time you should purchase new running shoes. Do not pass go. Proceed immediately to your running specialty shop.)

2. By Look Advanced – You flip over your running shoes and take a look at the bottom to see if anything that remotely resembles a tread remains. (FYI: Your soles wear out before your tread. You too are beyond the time when you should’ve gotten new shoes. “Get thee to thy nearest market of running beforest thou is plagued by injury.” – Shakespeare. What? You think I’m kidding? Go look it up. )

3. By Time – A sudden realization dawns on you that you can not remember when you last bought running shoes. This method is usually followed by the flip and almost always results in a visibly worn out tread and thus a pair of running shoes crying out for retirement or at least the running shoe equivalent of a desk job which would be a transfer to a new position as an everyday knock around shoe.

4. By miles – Now becoming the super savvy runner that you are, you know (probably by reading Runner’s World that you now subscribe to or some random running mom blogger who at times leads you to believe she might have some semblance of an idea of what she’s talking about until of course she winds up with a totally preventable injury like massive blisters from running without socks on a beach or the equivalent) that running shoes last between 300-500 miles. Your even tracking your mileage on a log or you’ve got training schedule you can refer back to so that you can see where you are at and stay ahead of the game.

5. By feel – Now you’ve run long enough that you know how you like your feet to feel in your shoes and if something’s a little off, some weird random body part, (on me usually my Achilles or one of my ankles) starts to bother you, or your shoes just feel totally flat and devoid of all cushioning, you take it as a flashing red warning sign. So you check your log and/or schedule to see where you’re at mileswise in your shoes and more times than not you’ll find you’re somewhere between that 300-500 mile mark. At this point, you’ve progressed and are now one with your shoes…or your feet…or maybe the ground. I don’t know. You’re one with something anyway and perceptive to your running needs. Basically you are the princess and the pea…except that you’re not sleeping, there’s really no food of any sort involved, and your royal inheritance is not at stake. But other than that, you are totally the princess and the pea. Ok, maybe that’s not a good analogy, but you get my point.

6. By Sale- Now you’ve arrived. You’ve worn enough running shoes that by now you’ve found a particular pair you like and are really not interested in a dance with a new pair. So, whenever you spot yours on sale somewhere, you buy them. Not only to get a good deal, but in the unfortunate event you find that your beloved pair has been discontinued, you’ll be properly stocked. Because hey, you’re going to need them eventually anyway right?

And there you have it. Totally natural progression. And yes, it is possible that I spend way too much time on a treadmill thinking about just this sort of thing…

'Til next time...

P.S. Still time to get into my Gu giveaway. Check it out here.

P.P.S. Are you on Facebook? Want to help out a fellow SOARM reader? Take two seconds and go vote for Amy Reinecke by “liking” her profile on Kansas City Fitness Magazine’s fan page. She’s trying to become 1 of 12 people who will take on a weight loss challenge. Let’s help her get in. Here’s the link. You’ll need to “like” Kansas City Fitness Magazine too before you can like her profile. (So ok, maybe that’s 4 seconds then.) Thanks everybody! Go get ‘em Amy!

*favorite readers – I do not actually have favorite readers. I love you all the same and each one of you are special to me in your own unique way. Now please go clean up your room ;-)


Andrew Opala said...

I guess brand combines look and feel - but I always went for New Balance since they "felt" a little wider and "looked" pretty good. But since my local running stores have only stocked these in-the-hood varieties lately (and I prefer white) I have been purchasing Asics.

I wouldn't be surprised if every shoe sold in my local stores isn't made in the same factory in China.

Kimberly said...

I totally hear you on matching outfits to shoes. I was sad when I got my Mizunos, and they were red and all of my outfits were pink or green.

I usually buy shoes based on miles but I tend to "feel" it in my knees when I need a new pair. The current ones are at 320, and I'm getting close to needing a new pair.

Forward Foot Strides said...

I am due for a new pair of shoes right now! It's astounding what running can do to your shoes, and it's so gradual it seems.

I didn't think I was even close to needing a new pair until I started feeling some discomfort. I went to the store to find out if I was in the right shoe, which I was, but it was so worn! I had no idea just how much until I did a comparison to the new pair on the shelf.

This payday, new shoes will be mine!

runnanna said...

Princess and the pea without vegetables..ha ha! Sometimes I buy new ones thinking they'll somehow magically make me faster...hasn't worked yet...but I keep hoping!

Lani said...

I have the hardest time with shoes.. I get holes in the sides really quickly because I have wide feet (super sexy, and TMI, I know) so my shoes never last long..