Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Truth About the Shoe

I feel like I am stealing topics as one of my friends blogged about shoes this week. The reality is my experience on Saturday necessitates a post about the connection a runner may have with their running shoe. After reading my friends blog I recognized I have an emotional attachment to my shoes. I have been wearing this model of running shoe for about two years now. The reason I initially switched shoes was because the previous shoe rubbed on a bone in my foot and caused extreme bruising of that bone. I switched shoe model exactly one and a half weeks before my first half marathon. This may sound like the worst idea in the world (and it is) but my injury required a different shoe to achieve half marathon bliss.

I have gone through approximately 4-5 pairs of running shoes over the last year and a half. Once a pair  molds to my foot and acquires well deserved holes I struggle with retiring them for simple walks with Dukie. Why such a struggle you may ask? My shoes tell my story. On a very basic running level the two pairs I have been rotating for the last eight months have carried me across many finish lines, an estimated 800 miles and my first marathon.

After a run with MIT Saturday morning I headed up to Fleet Feet to capitalize on a shoe sale and pick up my new running jacket. I walked into the store and was greeted by the owner who promptly asked me what I was looking for; I told him all I needed to do was order two pairs of my running shoe (they never have this particular shoe in stock). After he looked at my shoe, talked with the guy who orders shoes and looked up my shoe he informed me this model is no longer being made. He asked me what I liked about the shoe and I told him about the features that most appealed to me; he came back with a new shoe that he thought might work. This is when I learned it is more than just flexibility and stability that made this shoe so important to me, it is the emotional attachment I have to these damn shoes!!! The shoes I have been wearing for the past year and a half have gotten me through some of my happiest and saddest moments; I have cried, I have pondered, I have laughed, I have reflected all the while wearing these shoes. My eyes literally welled up knowing I was going to have to switch shoes.

I was having a 'moment' with my shoe in the middle of the running store! (This is where I am going to plug specialty shoe stores ESPECIALLY Fleet Feet!!!) The owner could tell I was struggling with the idea of switching shoes and rather than have me stuff my feet into shoes I already decided I hated he backed off and told me to come to the back of the store because he is going to find me the shoe! I promptly said, I'll take two! I realize there are no promises in this deal but I left the store feeling a little relieved that he might be able to track down a couple of pairs (although I did shed some tears when I got to my car).

I called my sister, told her about my emotional breakdown over a pair of running shoes. She laughed, I laughed... When I got home I scoured the web for my coveted running shoe and found two pairs and promptly ordered them. If Fleet Feet comes through I will have four pairs that should hopefully last me a year.

So why is this so important? You must know that I have tried embracing running for years but over the years the excuses flowed out of me in support of NOT running; some body types are not meant for running, running is bad on the knees, people die running marathons, etc... You get my point! However, what I have learned is that ANYONE can run if they want to run, they just need to find the desire to put one foot in front of the other AND the proper shoe!

Total side note: I have been breaking in some minimalist shoes for about two months but it is slow going. Hopefully over the next year and enough practice I can make that transition and embrace the idea of new shoes!!!


  1. You might be a runner if you become emotionally attached to your shoes! Just sayin'!

  2. Isn't that the truth Nita!!!

  3. I know just what you mean, Sarah! I was a loyal Saucony wearer for YEARS. I recently (in the last couple of years) changed to Asics, and now I have my first pair of New Balance. I remember spending hours and hours searching for this one pair of Sauconys that I had had and being nearly devastated when I couldn't find them. They had been my PR shoes and I was convinced that the reason why I couldn't PR again was because I didn't have my "magic" Sauconys. Alas... the runner makes the run, and the shoes are just there to help us. Hopefully he finds the shoes for you, and if not, here's to new shoes, and building new memories with them!

  4. Shoes....My physical therapist went to a shoe seminar for athletes/runners. She learned that we should beware of shoes that are of old stock. As they sit on a warehouse shelf their materials deteriorate over time and lose their supportive structure. So opt for newer models than search for the old ones that are still hanging around. Just thought you would like to know.

  5. I am totally emotionally attached to my shoes. I was so happy when I got back into MY shoe this last shoe purchase...I will never buy a different one unless they quit making them! :)