Mary Baum

Finding The Right Running Shoe

Time and time again, I hear people saying that they just can’t run. It hurts too much. They get injured all the time. My next question is always, “Did you get fitted for your running shoe?” More often than not, the answer is no. They just went to a store and picked up the cheapest (or prettiest) pair that they could find. Definitely not the way to start a running plan.

This happened to my sister-in-law, Morgan. She was given a pair of shoes that were on a big sale, and started running in them. For only $40, these shoes were awesome, right? Wrong! She has had such bad shin splints that she hurts even when walking around. So of course, I had to jump in and help. No one should have a bad running experience!

We headed to a local running store Fit2Run, where they offer gate analysis, and have the biggest running shoe inventory in town! Seriously, they have 2 walls that look like this! Pretty awesome.

They also offer a few running groups with specified plans. One of the groups was there when we got there to try on shoes. There was a pretty good turnout. If you are looking for a Summer Running Plan in the Tampa area, check out Fit2Run!

First, Morgan hopped on a platform that could feel where she puts the most pressure just standing, along with her center of gravity, and the height of her arches.

From here, the associate could tell whether she needed a more high arched shoe, or something more moderate. From the sensors, Morgan needed a shoe with a moderate arch, as she has decently high arches, but nothing crazy. The red color is where she puts the most pressure, then yellow is next, all the way to blue where she puts the least amount of pressure.

Then, the associate went and grabbed Morgan a pair of shoes to hop on the treadmill with. This is when the true analysis started. Morgan ran for a total of about 30 seconds, just long enough to get in a few good strides so we could see whether she has a neutral foot (ankle is straight), pronates (ankle rolls in), or supinates (ankle rolls out).

We could immediately see that her left ankle (which just so happens to be the leg with the bad shin splints) curves in a lot more than her right. She is definitely a pronator. Her right ankle didn’t cave in nearly as much, but still came in a little bit. Morgan was definitely in need of a moderate stability shoe.

The store rep went and grabbed four different pair of shoes – Brooks, Saucony, Mizuno, & Asics. Morgan started off with by putting on the Brooks Adrenaline and the Saucony’s, and walked around. She decided the Saucony’s were not for her, and then put on another shoe, but left on the Brooks. She did this with every shoe, weighing the pros and cons of each, and then made her final decision. Brooks it is! For her, it was her favorite feel, with enough stability and not too much cushion.

Now, Brooks are definitely my favorite shoe, but I definitely was not pushing them on Morgan. She asked what I run in, and of course I told her, but I wanted her to make her own decision of what she liked best. She just so happened to choose the Brooks Adrenaline. I can not wait to see how her running goes now that she has a shoe made for her foot! Good Luck Morgan!!!

Have you ever been fit for a shoe? Did you like it more or less than the shoe you were wearing before?

I wore the wrong shoes for years, and was always having issues. I switched to the Brooks Glycerins, and I haven’t looked back since!


23 Responses

  1. Jessica
    Jessica April 18, 2012 at 10:36 am |

    There’s a reason the Brooks Adrenalines are Brooks’ #1 selling shoe – they are awesome! I bet Morgan will run many pain-free miles in them :)

    Another great running store in Tampa is Feet First on Bay to Bay. The staff are all former college+ level runners, and many are coaches. As of the last time I was there, they didn’t use the technology that Fit2Run has, but they ask a lot of questions about running experience, what you want out of a shoe, what your goals are, and then they take you outside to watch you run shoeless and shod. For the more experienced runner looking for a new shoe or maybe a racing flat for a new distance, I would highly recommend Feet First!

  2. Betsy Buring Fisher
    Betsy Buring Fisher April 18, 2012 at 10:37 am |

    I was fitted for a stability shoe after having run for several months in a Nike Lunar series shoe. It was awful. I couldn’t lift my feet after the first mile. I went back to lightweight shoes and have transitioned to minimalist. I am flatfooted, have bunions and overpronate but believe that with proper form, I can run in what I know. However, this is just my experience and not expert advice.

  3. Callie @ The Wannabe Athlete
    Callie @ The Wannabe Athlete April 18, 2012 at 10:40 am |

    I think I need to make a trip to Fit 2 Run soon…

  4. Colleen @ Thrive on Challenge
    Colleen @ Thrive on Challenge April 18, 2012 at 10:51 am |

    Just a minor correction…

    Except for a very small percentage of runners who stay on the outside of the foot through the entire footstrike (supination), everyone pronates. Pronation is the natural rolling in movement from heelstrike to forefoot. The difference then between someone with a neutral stride, and someone who needs a mild, moderate, or high stability shoe is whether or not they over-pronate. Overpronation is characterized by excessive collapsing of the arch, causing stress on the achilles tendon and stress all the way up through the knees, hips, and back.

    Carry on :)

    1. Colleen @ Thrive on Challenge
      Colleen @ Thrive on Challenge April 18, 2012 at 10:54 am |

      I mindlessly used the word “needs.” I agree with Betsy above in that not everyone “needs” a certain type of shoe.

  5. Heather (Where's the Beach)
    Heather (Where's the Beach) April 18, 2012 at 10:58 am |

    I always always recommend that new runners (heck any runner) go and get properly fitted. It made such a huge difference for me. It really helps to know your running gait I think. I had been wearing shoes for stability when I didn’t need that at all and it was causing all sorts of foot pain.

  6. Erin @ Running Tall
    Erin @ Running Tall April 18, 2012 at 12:41 pm |

    OMG we need a Fit2Run store here! It looks amazing! I went to our local running store to get fitted for a shoe and I got AWFUL blood blisters from the shoes they recommended. I’m going back soon to exchange them, but kind of destroyed my confidence in the store…I’ll give them one more try :)

  7. Meredith
    Meredith April 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm |

    What a good step-by-step recap! I was fitted for my very first running shoe in December, and it was a similar experience. I ended up with Saucony and love them. I didn’t know what I was missing by using my regular cross-training sneakers (Asics) for running! When I wear my new sneaks, I feel like I’m walking on air. :)

  8. Steph
    Steph April 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm |

    I love Fit2Run- because of the technology, but I love Feet First because of the customer service. They really are SO awesome and accepting of athletes of all shapes and sizes. (no crazy looks!).
    I just bought my first pair of Brooks last month and can’t get enough of them! I wish I had had them for Gasparilla! :(

  9. Carrie
    Carrie April 18, 2012 at 2:41 pm |

    Being fit is so important! Once I got fit for the proper shoes I noticed such a difference in injuries. It makes me cringe when I hear people buying shoes just because of the colors or what have-you, without knowing if they are the right shoes that fit properly.

  10. PavementRunner
    PavementRunner April 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm |

    The right shoe is definietly where it is at and YES, getting an analysis done is the best place to start. I originally started in a moderate stabillity shoe and it was wonderful… until I went over 13-15 miles. Then my knees started to hurt. I then switched to a high stability shoe and have been running pain free ever since. Both were after analysis then re-analysis. It was a hige help. Great share.

  11. Jena
    Jena April 18, 2012 at 6:19 pm |

    I’ve been fitted a few times for shoes – I started out in Nikes – the Obermann series (or something like that) – but i wasn’t getting enough mileage out of them. I went to a local (to me) running store, Suncoast Running on 54 in New Port Richey – and had another fitting. I also wear Adrenalines. I LOOOVEEE them. I bought a pair of the Brooks Pure Cadence bc I Thought I was going to transition to a minimalist shoe, but I hate them. sad bc I spent a ton of money on them – but if they aren’t for me, then they aren’t for me and i’m not going to force myself to run in a shoe that isn’t comfortable.

  12. Katie
    Katie April 19, 2012 at 11:40 am |

    I have high arches and I overpronate like Morgan, and I LOVE my Brooks Adrenaline! It took a lot of trial and error to find what worked for me, but I’ll never go back now. Good luck to Morgan!

  13. Emily B.
    Emily B. April 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm |

    My dad, generally a frugal man, drilled home in me the importance of spending what you need to on running shoes because it’s just so important to be of good quality. That’s worth paying for. So I’ve gone to specialty stores for as long as I can remember, even though my running consistancy has varied a lot. I’m pretty devoted to Brooks Ghost series, they haven’t let me down yet. I’m due for some new ones soon, maybe I’ll branch out a bit…

  14. Beka
    Beka April 19, 2012 at 3:05 pm |

    I’m going this weekend to get fitted for new shoes! I was going to try out the Hit The Trails in Lithia, but Fit2Run has such a good variety.
    I’ve been running in a pair of Asics GT2160s ordered off amazon on a whim last birthday. Good shoe, a lot better than my Nike Vomero +5s, but I know that I can improve a lot more with THE shoe that is right for me :)

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