Shoes, in the real, non workout world, are the kind of thing that you choose based on style and appearance, not so much comfort. I've personally never worn a pair of men's loafers (I know this may come as a shock to some of my super fashionable friends, Hey, Bela!) but I can't imagine they are incredibly comfortable. I've worn my fair share of "f**k me" pumps and those sexy beasts made me walk like I had been riding a horse for the last sixty years, but they happened to make my chicken legs look damn good in a corporate approved pencil skirt. I've also worn some shoes that I thought were cute, only to find out way after the fact that they are hideous and something a grandma would wear. I'm clueless when it comes to shoes to complete an outfit in the real world. In the running world, I'm a mother effing GENIUS!
Genius may be a gross understatement, but I do know that this is the one area where you under no circumstance, no matter how good the sale (trust me, it takes a ridiculous amount of restraint for me to pass up a regular deal, let alone a REALLY good deal) do you choose a shoe for running based on aesthetics. It is imperative that you go to a store specializing in running, not Dick's or any other big box sporting goods store, and get fitted for the proper shoes.
After the birth of our third baby, Salvatore, my amazing husband ordered me a pair of running shoes so I could get back into the game as soon as the c-section was healed. It was the most romantic gesture he could have made for me and I saw the Amazon package and had a this intense excitement when I noticed it was shoe-box sized. I opened the wrapping, saw the Asics box, and just about had a massive cow (side note: for those of you who don't run, but are looking to start, there is absolutely nothing worse for a runner than to not be able to run anymore). I had to stop running at about 5.5 months pregnant due to the constant need to pee. I'm not badass enough to just pee while running, not going to lie...I tried, and I am not patient enough to stop every quarter mile to relieve the ridiculously small bladder in some god awful gas station or some unsuspecting, possibly undeserving person's yard. So, the shoes had to be put away until the baby came. I pulled the new ones out of the box and noticed they weren't quite the shoes I was used to running in. Yes, they were Asics, my shoe of choice for the last 12 years, but they weren't the Cumulus that I've been running in, or the Pursue that I most recently tried, they were the Kayano. Husband was so proud of himself and happy to get me shoes without me even hinting at wanting them, and I didn't have the heart to break his, so I gave them a go.
There are several types of runners out there: Those with a neutral run, those who over pronate, those who under pronate, those who have a flat arch, the list goes on and on. There are also several types of running shoes out there. Within each brand, there are shoes to match the running foot. To get fitted for the right shoe, one needs to go to the right type of store; a running store. A store JUST for running (or maybe triathlons, because, ya know, those involve running), preferably one with a treadmill on hand, and knowledgable sales people.
Some bigger named running stores that I love are Fleet Feet, Pacers, and Road Runner Sports. If you don't have one of these in your area (I don't) a quick Google search for "running specialty store" will give you some good options. For those of you who are local (Marin and Sonoma), I used to love going to Marin Running Company in San Anselmo, but they recently closed their doors. My new favorite spot is Athletic Soles in Petaluma.
After dropping the older two kids at preschool on Friday, Sal and I headed up to Petaluma so I could get shoes that my feet, knees, and hips like. Running in the ones that the husband got me were OK for less than three miles, but as soon as I'd stride once past the three, my knees and hips would light up, and not in a good way. I had every intention of making a quick grab and go. I love Asics, I know Asics, and I was ready to buy them again. I was chatting with the woman working there, I can't remember her name, but she was AMAZING! She brought me the style of shoe I normally wear (Cumulus) and a different brand's neutral running shoe (Brooks' Ghost). I ran on the treadmill for a bit in both shoes noting how my ankle felt, the padding under the ball of my foot, all the little nuances, when she mentioned a brand I had never heard of: Hoka.
On first sight, these bitches are HIDEOUS. Remember those heinous shoes one of the Kardashian wackos was wearing saying they shaped her already shapely toosh? They reminded me of those, if they procreated with an orthopedic shoe my late grandfather would have worn. Or someone who just broke a toe. Only instead of being a nice drab color, they were like looking into the heart of a rave. This woman was so kind to me, I didn't want to hurt her feelings by not trying her recommendation, so I put those suckers on.
I wanted nothing more than to hate the shoes once they were on. I wanted them to feel like I was running through cement. I wanted them to be worse on than they were off. I started the treadmill and ho-ly shite. I was running on a cloud. I wasn't even running, I was freaking floating! These horrific, horrendous, Forest Gump shows were amazing. Still, I didn't want to wear them, because ugly. I spend way too much money on cute work out clothes (thanks, Athleta, you bitch), I really didn't want to ruin the outfit with these cinder block "shoes."
Keeping one of these Hokas on my right foot and my good pal Cumulus on my left, I ran another quarter mile and fell in love. With the Hoka. After an hour in the store, I left with some ugly mofos. I ran in them two days in a row to make sure I like them, and the love is still strong. No buyer's remorse.
This whole ordeal reminds me of dating, when you're young, you go for the hottest, best looking thing you can get on (or in, depending on your parts and preferences), but as you get older, you take other things into account: goals, dreams, career choices, personal choices, etc. Treat your relationship with running shoes as you would looking for a partner, not a one night stand. Get the ones that feel right, are made for your type of foot, the ones that will bring you comfort and longevity. Not the ones that will look amazing and feel good for a few minutes, but leave blisters behind.