Hello! If you haven’t yet gathered by how much I talk about it, I’m a runner. I love everything about it. It’s great exercise. It’s challenging. And it makes me want to rip my legs off most of the time.
Sometimes though, it’s not good exercise. It isn’t relaxing. It agitates me and I leave the road feeling worse than when I stepped outside. All of us have been runs but what if it’s something more?
What if it’s your shoes?
I know, this didn’t sound that dramatic. Or scary. But it should. Your shoes can be cause for lots and lots and lots of your bad runs. They honestly the only thing besides your body and some clothes you have to invest in and if you’re a barefoot runner you don’t even need to do that!
First things first, let’s figure out if your shoes are even to blame for your problems or if there’s a problem that you don’t even realize yet.
Constantly having bad runs.
You should at least have one good one every so often. I kid. The majority of your runs should be decent. I’m not saying every run has to set a new PR but it should feel good. It can feel tough. It can feel like a real workout. But most of them should leave you feeling good.
The norm shouldn’t be pounding pavement with a frown on your face and the feeling like you can’t take another step. If you are constantly having bad runs that are not weather related (snow, ice, extreme cold/heat, and rain will make it harder) there might be something up with your gear.
Your feet shouldn’t be suffering. Blisters here and there can be expected as can wonky toenails and all that jazz. Our feet do play the major role here.
But arch pain? Ankle pain? Blisters all the time? General foot pain? Uh-uh. Shouldn’t be happening. Like I said earlier, it should feel at least kind of nice. It is a workout and it is tough, but our feet shouldn’t be dying underneath us.
Like shin splints. And knee pain. And hip issues. And back pain. Okay, all right. Not every problem you have as a runner is directly related to your shoes. But I think if you do not have the correct kind of shoe, shoe size, or shoe quality that you can get serious injuries from it.
Not feeling right.
Yours shoes should feel right. It’s like when people tell you about soul mates. When you find the right one, you’ll know.
Now, I haven’t found the one yet when it comes to shoes. I’ve come really close though. And I have found shoes that feel so amazing. That counts for something. But I’m also still learning about my foot. What it likes, what it hates, what it needs, and what’s just extra frill. I know when I try on a shoe right away if it has too much cushion, if it’s too heavy, if it’s too small, or if the brand even designs shoes that work for me.
Your shoes should feel right.
Finally, I hate to be this person, but if you spend 20 bucks on your shoes…they are to blame. At a certain point in your running career you’ll have to invest in shoes. Now, I’m not saying go spend 200 something dollars on a pair of shoes but I am saying that you get a better shoe with a little extra money.
You are putting a lot of force down on your feet and shoes and if it’s a $20, over cushioned shoe that’s heavy, you’re going to have some problems.
Okay, so if any or all of this sounds familiar, let’s check out what we should be looking for in a good running shoe.
Familiarize yourself with your individual needs as a runner. Are you flat-footed? Do you have a high arch? Do you overpronate or not? What is your foot like…do you need motion control or stability shoe? There’s a lot out there. I highly recommend this article right here if you have a pair of shoes that you’ve worn enough to wear out the bottoms a little. It doesn’t have to be a really expensive shoe to tell you how you run.
Also, do you need a performance shoe or a normal shoe? That’ll reflect prices too. How about trail shoes? Road shoes? Treadmill shoes? I know. It’s a lot. But it really pays to do your research and familiarize yourself with your feet.
They should fit. And if you doubt that they fit, don’t buy them. I made this mistake for whatever reason. I thought a shoe fit, wasn’t super sure and bought them anyway. Then continued to wear them for months regardless of all the blisters and weird pains I was getting. Don’t be like me.
If you’re wondering, I have stretched those shoes out now and they fit. Not perfectly but they fit well enough not to kill my feet!
Point is, they should fit everywhere. You should have room by your toe. Going shopping for shoes after a run or at night when your feet are most swollen is a really good idea because your feet swell big time. They should be comfortable even if you have to break them in.
Look into your shoe. Before you commit to a shoe, look into them. Learn about the shoe. Try on more than one or two pairs. You wouldn’t go to a car dealership and just buy any car on the lot. So you shouldn’t walk into a shoe store and buy a random shoe! You can even try on different shoes, write the names down, go home and research them and buy the right one online.
There’s lots of options for buying shoes. Most important thing is that you know exactly what you’re buying and if it feels good on your foot.
At the end of the day, everything can look perfect on paper and still not feel right. It’s so important to go with your gut, or in this case your foot, and tap into what feels good. You might not find “mr. right” on the first few tries, but if you listen to your foot you’ll find a keeper either way.