It is no secret that I am a certified shoe freak…footwear is in my blood, and a recurring theme/fixation throughout my life that I come by honestly:
- Shoe obsession is in my genes. My grandmother owned a pair for every outfit, each kept carefully stored in plastic boxes, organized by the ensemble they complimented. Recently, I discovered my nephew Ian was passed the same trait - his closet at home is stacked full of boxes of soccer cleats and various other types of athletic footwear of every imaginable color/brand. I am still verklempt with pride!
- In my last house, I customized my bedroom closets with a shoe-centric design…floor to ceiling shelving, divided by season, to display each pair, toe and heel view. Knowing a shoe’s color, composition, heel height and toe type at-a-glance is crucial to prepping one’s look du jour.
- I belong to a popular women’s Mardi Gras krewe in New Orleans known for its handmade glitter shoe throws. I can turn a forlorn, castoff platform sole from Goodwill into a glittering, clamored-for one-of-a-kind work of art.
- I cannot even begin to count how many pairs I own…after all, a lady never reveals her ’number’!
So, it should come as no surprise that I would apply my love of all things footwear to my love of all things running. We girls know that right shoe makes the outfit…in running, the right shoe makes the race.
If you’ve checked out some recent posts from my fellow CYJ bloggers, it is easy to conclude that running shoe selection is a highly personal choice. For me, it’s a matter of finding the right pair to fit my narrow heel/impossibly high arch (nonexistent midsole)/wide forefoot in combination with a ‘one leg slightly shorter than the other’ gait. For many years, I’ve been a New Balance devotee, because their shoes are built with various ‘lasts’—soles customized to different foot types. The SL2 last is designed specifically for my narrow heel/atmospherically high arch/wide toe foot. (Check out New Balance’s last selections here:http://www.joesnewbalanceoutlet.com/customer_serv/about_nb_base.htm#last)
Once you’ve found your personal favorite shoe, consider these additional tips:
- Buy multiple pairs. I am currently training in NB’s 1011. I have 6 pairs. Four are new-in-box for future wear, two are currently in rotation. I believe when you find a shoe you love, have several pair on hand, as the manufacturer may slightly change or discontinue the model you’ve come to rely upon.
- Have two pair in rotation. Wearing a fresh pair every other day in a training week results in longer wearing shoes, and less chance of injury from wearing a pair after they’ve passed their useful life. Typically, a pair of running shoes lasts 500 miles…if you are training for a marathon, you can blow through a pair fairly fast. In addition, rotating shoes allows your pairs to dry/breathe between wears, which is particularly important during the hot, humid, sweaty south Louisiana summer.
- Consider purchasing a size or two larger than your street shoe size. Feet typically swell from the combination of heat and continuous forward movement/pounding over a prolonged period of time. Shoes that are too tight will produce the lovely ‘black toenail’ syndrome often worn as a badge of honor by long distance runners. I learned this lesson the hard way during my first marathon…around mile 14, my toes started to cramp and ache, then burn as my feet swelled, particularly at the tips…I lost all 10 toenails to ‘black toe’ after the race. Since switching to a shoe 2 sizes larger, I have totally avoided black toe in subsequent races.
- Recycle your worn out shoes. Nike’s retail and outlet stores will accept running shoes of all brands that have seen better days for their Reuse-a-shoe program They are ground up and repurposed into various athletic surfaces, including tennis courts and running tracks. The Nike Factory Stores in Gonzales, New Orleans and Bossier City accept shoes for the Reuse-a-shoe program. (http://www.nikereuseashoe.com/get-involved/drop-off-locations?country=US&zip=&state=LA&x=62&y=17)
“I still have my feet on the ground…I just wear better shoes.” – Oprah Winfrey