Help put my feet in comfortable wunning shoes
July 21, 2017 11:14 PM   Subscribe

I run/power walk/hike (or, I should say, I'm going to again) and need new shoes. I have no interest in running more than a 5k, but I like the convenient fitness aspect, that it's an easy way to get my heart rate up and that it makes me sweat and feel good. What kind of shoe do I need?

I did C25K a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. The most enjoyable for me was around Week 6 where there was still a good 2 mins of fast walking for every 8 mins of jogging. This is the kind of 5k routine I want to develop as a long-term 3x/wk habit.

I jog slowly and I walk fast, and I vary a ~5k route that is about half pavement and half trail, sometimes slowly bounding down a mile of uneven part-rocky, part-sandy beach, sometimes power hiking up steep single track. Everything I read emphasizes the difference between walking and running and how the shoes are completely different. So what if I do both?

I've had the same pair of gifted used New Balance running shoes for more than two years and now it's time. I want one new pair of shoes. What's best for my workout? Also, I'm a straight 10, nothing unusual. (These will likely often double as my commuter shoes when I walk the mile to work on asphalt).

I have no need for this year's shoes, so it would be great to have a few shoes to look for at places that sell overstocks, like...where? Ross? Marshalls? TJ Maxx? Is online a terrible idea? Thanks!
posted by AnOrigamiLife to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think you need trail running shoes, since you have those portions on trails and it's a bit steep. Trail runners are stiffer and will protect your foot, but it won't hurt you to run the non-trail parts with them.

You must try them on. A specialist running store is best, but if budget is an issue a big box sports store would be fine. Given your needs I would expect a pair of decent shoes to last a couple years.
posted by ohio at 12:25 AM on July 22, 2017

If you can swing it moneywise and you have a really great local running store (the kind that might be organizing and sponsoring motivating community 5ks), it's always nice to go to them for at least the first pair. Yes, it's more expensive but if they're good at what they do you'll learn about how you run and what to look for in a shoe that will work best for you.

Today I bought new trail runners for the first time in a while. The guy who helped me is the owner of the store. First he

1) offered to record me running on a treadmill and analyze my gait in slow motion if I didn't already know what kind of stability I was looking for in a shoe

2) asked me about the specifics of what I'm doing in terms of run time/distance/terrain now and where I want to be ideally

3) measured my feet seated and standing to learn about what my arch does with weight on it

4) based on all that brought out a two models to try- I took each for a lap around the store's outside

5) talked about what felt good/not about each, and used that information to bring out a couple more and set the ones I like aside

6) offered me shoe lacing advice (I already knew what he was telling me but lots of folks don't)

7) repeated that for a few cycles and only after I narrowed it down to the two choices I liked the best offered me his very specific, educated opinion.

It was great! And really helpful! And not at all snotty or judgy. If you have a smaller, locally owned place like that in your hometown I really recommend giving them a spin at least for the first pair until you know more generally the broad characteristics of the type of shoe that works best for you.

Of the 8 or so pairs I tried from like 20 models in the store 4 felt really good l, 2 felt great and 4 felt just kind of weird. If I had been blind guessing and picking out of 20 online there's no way I would have found anything that would work for me even half as nicely as I'm sure this pair is going to.
posted by charmedimsure at 12:33 AM on July 22, 2017 [6 favorites]

I don't have as many specific needs as you, but all I can add is that I find Nike sneakers are cheap and don't offer a ton of support. I've used Brooks sneakers for running and they offer good support and are comfortable. I do have high arches, so YMMV.
posted by AppleTurnover at 1:42 AM on July 22, 2017

I will nth the rec to go to a store if you at all can, but if you can't, I have these New Balance trail shoes (thanks to a rec on the green!) and they are superb on trails, pavement, the running track at my gym, and teaching class. They're very supportive (I have super high arches), and I can wear them for miles and miles. They're also heavy, but so comfortable.
posted by joycehealy at 5:25 AM on July 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Huge huge huge fan of New Balance's trail shoes. Unlike joycehealy though, I prefer the minimal version. One bonus to trail shoes is that the uppers are usually made of mesh so if they get wet or muddy they dry quickly and are easy to clean.

I mainly run trails but I've also worn these to train for and run a full marathon on concerete and proably a dozen half marathons. Trail shoes aren't just for trails.

Once you find a shoe you like you can just keep buying that shoe forever and ever until your needs change. I now buy the Minimus on sale/clearance whenever I find them. It is a good idea to start at a running store though because if you wear the shoes a few times and they aren't right for you, the store will typically take them back.
posted by Brittanie at 9:42 AM on July 22, 2017

Check out Oboz hiking runners too. If you have a narrower heel, these could work well for you. Somewhere like REI may have some oboz to try.
posted by Kalmya at 1:41 PM on July 22, 2017

I'm not super active, so I used to just go to somewhere like DSW and try on running shoes until I found something comfortable. I eventually started getting pain in the outsides of my ankles, so I I finally went to a proper running store this year. Wow, did it make a difference! I highly recommend it.

Also, I've been told by many people (not just the store owner) that you should replace shoes every 6 months to a year. For the amount of running you're doing, 2 years is too long.
posted by radioamy at 2:55 PM on July 22, 2017

Thanks everyone. FWIW I ended up going with a pair of women's Minimus trail on sale online at REI for ~$60. They fit like slippers but definitely take getting used to. Running in these is a completely different experience (no heel strike in these is what I'm learning) and so far I love them.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 9:51 AM on September 12, 2017

« Older Cross rural China by train - must see places to...   |   What's the best turntable I can buy for under/near... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.