Buying Running Shoes
I will always remember the first time I took my wife, Kerry, shopping for her first pair of running shoes. Having encouraged her to take up the Couch to 5K program, I also felt it was my duty to ensure she didn’t make the same mistakes I did when starting my running journey.
Having passed the acid test, Kerry was sticking the plan out so with the frequency of runs being maintained it was time to buy some proper shoes.
I had set an appointment at the Northern Runner running store with Iain Singer who I know and trust to fit shoes properly but left Kerry to look around. Like most people she picked out the pair she liked the look of, bright pink Salming Race shoes, “Can you buy me a pair of those?” she blurted out.
I just said to hold on and see how the assessment went first. So it began, checking the feet and observing running etc. in a number of shoes. It was determined that Kerry needed support shoes at this point. So just to help Kerry understand the importance of this I asked Iain what would happen if she had just come in and bought the Salming shoes? A simple response – she would be in an awful lot of pain!
I started off with a story about Kerry as her initial assessment was the same as my own (although mine wasn’t done at the same store); I needed support shoes from the get go. Now what I didn’t expect was my shoe type to change over time.
I had put the miles in with my first pair of running shoes (Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13) and they were coming towards the end of their life and looking very sorry for themselves. I needed a new pair for my first half-marathon but as with all trainers a new model had come to replace it. So I went back to the store who sold me my first pair of shoes (not naming names today). Now looking back I believe an assumption was made about what shoe I should be in (I came in with my old ones) and I wasn’t checked over in the new fitting. The options presented to me were Nike (too narrow upon trying), Asics – now these felt nice but I was told the support was in the wrong place – so I ended up with a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14 (funny that!)
I took them home and went out for a series of short runs; oddly I was beginning to get discomfort down the outside of my left knee. I tried to ignore it but it was becoming increasingly problematic.
Confused by this I returned to the shoe shop for answers, not really finding any and being fobbed off that I was in the correct shoe, I wrote to Brooks for an explanation of what had changed between models.
I will say that communications with Brooks were excellent once we got past the initial confusion of what I was after. I wrote asking what had changed on the GTS range as I was experiencing problems but they thought at first I was complaining about shoes I bought from themselves. So once we had an understanding, it was suggested I get checked elsewhere for a second opinion.
So as you know from Kerry’s fitting, I now had someone I could call on to check me out and trust them fully in their service. Being a friend Iain couldn’t hide from me either! It was discovered that I didn’t need as much support as the Adrenaline range offered. I also didn’t need the support provided by their Vapour range …interesting. My support level had dropped down to that of the Ravenna range; these are the lowest support shoe Brooks offer.
Going back to Brooks they were amazing, they simply asked that I provide a copy of my receipt of the Adrenaline shoes and they would send me a pair of Ravenna as a gesture of goodwill so that I didn’t have to have any further dealings with that store.
I have not looked back since the change of shoe and I am certainly going to get my feet checked again once these are coming to the end of their life.
If you want to learn anything from this, get fitted for your first pair of running shoes. Once you have burned those out go back and get checked again as things may have changed like they did for me!