You’ve been looking forward to April 13 and the Izzo Legacy 5K Run/Walk, sponsored in part by Auto-Owners and WLNS-TV 6. You’ve been walking and running, working hard to do your best on race day. Now you want to reward yourself with some new running shoes. Congratulations! You’ve earned them! Now what?
One thing almost every race-experienced runner will tell you is this: don’t wear a new pair of running shoes on race day. Wear a pair that you’ve broken in and save yourself from blisters and uncomfortable discoveries about how the shoe fits in a race situation. Putting some miles on a pair of new shoes before race day is always a good idea.
So what should you look for in a running shoe? Probably your best decision is to go to a specialty store like Playmakers in East Lansing where experts can help you find the right shoe for you. They will have a number of tests they will do with you to find the right shoe for your stride, size, weight and level of experience. It’s worth the time. Look at it as an investment in your health. Be prepared to pay a little bit more when you buy the shoe. But it’s worth it to have a shoe that works with you and not causes you problems, perhaps even discourages you from running.
One mistake to avoid is buying a shoe just because it looks good. Fashion is important but in a running shoe you want to consider feel and fit. Fashion should not be the top priority. Uppers (the part of the shoe that is not the sole) can be colorful and made from all kinds of materials. Look for an upper that is shaped like your foot and smooth wherever it touches, not binding or chafing anywhere.
Another thing to consider is what time of day you are buying your shoes. Your foot size can vary in the course of a day. Generally, your foot begins swelling in the morning and continues until about 4 p.m. You’ll likely get your truest fit for a running shoe by shopping later in the day.
And while we’re talking about size, it’s best to remember running shoes are not dress shoes. If you insist you are a size 8 in every shoe you wear you might be in for a surprise with your running shoe. This is where expertise can save you pain in the roads. Trust the shoe expert who is helping you find the correct size. Remember that the size might vary depending upon the shoe manufacturer. This is no time to be squeezing your feet into shoes that are too small. Have your feet measured every time you buy a shoe and insist on trying on both shoes.
Ask the expert you’re working with for suggestions on how to lace the shoes. This might sound like a small thing but it can make a difference in how the shoes feel across the saddle, or the upper part of the shoe that covers the arch of the foot.
There are a number of other things to consider when buying a running shoe, including the heel counter, toe box and the soles. The expert who is helping you should be able to answer any question you might have and be willing to take the time to find your perfect pair of shoes. It’s time well-spent and the reward you’ve earned by all your efforts to get ready for the Izzo Legacy next month.