Last year, I bought my first pair of running shoes. Sure, I've technically bought shoes for running before...but how I usually picked them out was this:
1. Walk into a store that sold all types of shoes
2. See a cute pair of "running" shoes
3. Try on said pair of shoes
4. Try to determine if they hurt or not
5. Buy them if they don't hurt
6. Wear them all the time
In case it isn't clear, my previous motivation of buying running shoes was, most certainly, not for running. The highest priority (of course) was whether they looked cute or not.
Last year, when I started getting more active, I opted to go into a running store specifically FOR runners called The Boulder Running Company. This store works completely differently...and for a good reason.
First, you walk in and tell the salesperson that you want running shoes. You give him your shoe size and he brings out a random pair of shoes that are "neutral" - meaning they don't have any corrective padding or shaping to them. You try them on. If they don't hurt, he takes you over to the treadmill (that they have in the store) and you jog for a minute. After that, you sit and watch the video of you jogging (feet only) which is just about the most boring home video ever.
During the video (where no popcorn is served), you get to learn if you under or over pronate, if your gait is crazy, and or if there are any other issues to be aware of. If there aren't (as there wasn't for me), you buy the pair of shoes.
Now, for the price of the shoes, you may be tempted (as I was) to never wear them because they're so expensive...and perhaps that is what I did to a certain extent.
I felt that it was a smart purchase. When I started adding running into my routine, I ran with confidence knowing that my shoes were right for my body and feeling that I was less likely to have an injury. But I made sure to never wear them unless I was running. I didn't want to "wear out" the shoes faster than necessary.
It's been a year. And according to my Nike+ account, it's been 264.87 miles (if you want to get exact). All on the same pair of shoes...which is not very smart.
So, this past weekend, I went to the same store and got my new running shoes. They're no prettier than the last pair I bought. And unfortunately, they're not less expensive. The salesperson took a look at my old ones and cautioned me to run as long on these - saying that the chance of injury is greater if I run on shoes that are that "shot."
In my defense, I had planned to replace them for Christmas...I asked for money from my mom for shoes. But then my dog got sick again around Christmas and it seemed like a smarter thing to put off the running shoes. I really didn't know how long shoes were good for - so I was just guessing that they needed to be replaced.
After talking with the salesperson, I have a much better idea how long they're supposed to be good for and I know what to look for when they're starting to give.
The good news? I ran on the treadmill and we checked my gait. Everything is still fine. Brooks shoes seem to fit me better than others so I'm happy.
The weird thing is that I'm proud that I only used my shoes for running. I'm proud that I got a lot of use out of them...and I'm proud that I just invested more money in me -and my health.
For your listening pleasure, I've also put a song in this post that I think is groovy and about new shoes. :)