two weeks ago, after a three mile run on the treadmill, my ankle felt tweaked again. i figured it was just temporary, but the next morning it still hurt a bit. because i have so many races coming up, i couldn't stand the thought of training getting derailed by an injury, so i decided to take the plunge and get fit for shoes.
i headed to fleet feet later that day to see what they had to say. i told him that i usually run in a neutral shoe, but that for the past few months i had been having ankle pain in my right foot, so i was curious as to whether my shoes were the problem. the first thing he did was ask me to take off my shoes and socks so he could inspect my feet. let me tell you, he did not hold anything back. his initial quote was something like "alright, well you're definitely very, very flat footed, even sitting down. you also have these bunions, which are hereditary, but definitely cause weight to get displaced unevenly across the foot. futhermore, you're knobbed kneed. my guess is that when you run, all the weight is just coming to the center because of your feet and legs, so you're overpronating." flat-footed and knob kneed with bunions; thanks, buddy.
my tilted feet and men's shoes
after measuring my feet, he then had me walk barefoot so he could assess my gait, then put me in a men's neutral shoe ("you have large feet; have you ever tried men's shoes?" stop complimenting me, sir!) to run on the treadmill. as i ran, he used an ipad to record my feet. i didn't run long, maybe about 30 seconds, and then we sat down to look at the video.
"you said it's your right ankle that hurts?"
"it's going to become very obvious why that is after seeing this."
the scene of the crime.
he played the video, and the first foot that fell was my left foot. there was a little overpronating happening, but not much. but when my right foot fell, it was totally angled to the ground. it was obvious to me now what was happening while i was running, even though i couldn't actually feel my foot doing it. when compared to a video of a non-pronator, it was clear that i had a problem that needed fixing.
he went to the back and picked out three pairs of shoes: mizunos, new balance, and asics. i tried on the mizunos first, but they felt really loose around my entire foot. he tried tying them tighter, but it just wasn't working. we tried the new balance next, and though they felt more snug, once i started running, i could feel my (non)arch hitting the built in stability area. although it didn't bother me, he said that we really want as natural a feel in my shoe as possible, even when they aren't neutral. so he grabbed the asics.
well, call me goldilocks, because the third pair was just right. though still feeling a bit big (apparently i'm supposed to be sizing up more than i was), i couldn't feel the added support at all. my run felt nice, and the lingering ankle pain from the night before was non-existent on the treadmill. when we looked at the video from that run, my ankle was much straighter. his only fear was that the bigger size would allow too much weight to fall on my arch-area.
to remedy that, he put in an insole that cradled my foot within the shoe. on the treadmill, it felt absolutely perfect. i had heard some people experiencing pain from stability shoes or insoles that over-corrected problems, but mine were actually alleviating pain. i threw down my credit card immediately.
my new shoes are the asics gt-2000 3, and are just the right amount of colorful for me. i love them so far, and can't wait to run my next half in them!
fun fact: after my fitting session, i went home that night and browsed through an old issue of runner's world that had a shoe buying guide. and the best buy, they said? my shoe! for some reason, that made me even more excited about my purchase.
have you ever been fit for shoes? how'd it work out for you? who else is an asics runner?