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If the shoe fits

I decided it was time to buy a real pair of running shoes, or actually my sore groin muscle and achy knees decided for me. I don’t usually let my groin make important decisions for me, but my brain agreed that running 12-15 miles a week in cross-trainers was perhaps not a good idea.

I went to a local store called The Running Company because they were fairly close, but mostly because they have a cool website. I am a sucker for cool websites. They even have little videos about running that have purpose and content and aren’t a superfluous excuse to include flashy content. Well played, web designers, well played.

Of course, before I went to the store I had to get over my fear of going to the store. I knew that I would have to get someone to help me select the proper shoe so I didn’t split my shins in half with a sneaker cleaver. But I am getting better about talking to sales staff and acting nice and confident while simultaneously concealing my deep-seated fear of strangers. So I took some deep breaths and forced myself into my car and drove down there without turning around once!

At the store, I ran on a treadmill while they videotaped my feet with a camera. Then they played back the footage in slow motion and analyzed my running gait. I tend to hit the ground a bit past my heel, which might make me more vulnerable to shin splints. I put one foot in front of the other when I run, which is fine but I suppose a bit unusual. I do have a pretty normal pronation, which is the amount your foot turns inward as you run.

Then the salesmen went into the back and brought back several pairs of shoes which I road tested on the treadmill. I got a nice little workout. If you don’t want to join a gym, you can just buy lots of running shoes, though that probably wouldn’t be very cost effective. He also said I could go run around outside in them if I wanted to, which was very trustworthy of them, but I was happy on the treadmill.

I picked out a pair that felt the best and when I asked how much they cost they turned out to be priced just at the top of my budget range (which I hadn’t told the clerk). Then he threw in a 10% discount because I’m hot. Actually, he said it was because I had to wait for service because he’d been helping another woman before me. But we all know it was because of the red hot fury of my smokin’ hotness. He was just too embarrassed to say so.

And now I have a pair of shoes designed specifically for running. Which I have not yet used because I am letting my groin heal and because it rained yesterday. But I shall use them soon. The salesman said if I decide the shoes don’t fit right, I can come back any time in the next two weeks or so to make adjustments. Such a nice shoe store! I was so scared to go down there, but it was honestly one of the best shopping experiences of my life. So if you are in Indianapolis, I would highly recommend you go to The Running Company for your running shoe needs. You will not find yourself running away in horror.

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22 Comments

Sarah • May 9, 2007 at 10:40 am

WOW! I never knew such a thing exsisted! I have a particularly hard time finding shoes with my super wide Fred Flinstone feet… maybe I’ll have to find a Running Company near me.

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bitchwhoblogs • May 9, 2007 at 10:55 am

Last night was my visit to the shop for running shoes. It was cool – I took my old shoes in, ran around barefoot and all kinds of things. Apparently, I need a trail shoe bc I run trails three or four times a week and it really hurts my old busted up ankel. Who knew, stiffer sole and more stability leads to happier knees and ankels on those rocky, rooty trails…. Sadly, they were out of my size and so last night I ran on the soft sand in my old shoes and tweaked my knee. I am just hoping its a fluke and I can run again tonight… Good luck healing and enjoy the shoes. I am all about the right running shoe as part of injury prevention…

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Patty • May 9, 2007 at 11:40 am

What kind of shoes did you end up with? I have some Asics but I’m in need of new ones. I will go to a special running store in Seattle for the first time too to get a test like that done. I think it’s about time to get a shoe that will be the best for me instead of just choosing one from a regular shoe/clothing store. I think it will be fun to see what they say about my jogging style. Ha! I’m not just of a jogger yet though but I will be doing more soon.

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Kari • May 9, 2007 at 12:54 pm

I’ve been to various running stores throughout the years where they did the same thing with me–videotaped me while on a treadmill. I was told that I overpronate, and given shoe suggestions, which I found incredibly helpful. It’s especially helpful because I have large AND wide feet. Lucky me. I have luck with Asics and New Balance. I also had to get over my initial fear and intimidation about going into stores like these. I’m by no means a running machine, but I want good shoes supporting me. I have foot/leg issues (a plantar fasciitis issue that occasionally rears its ugly head, weak ankles, and bad knees) that I can’t ignore. I have always found the people in these stores to be friendly and helpful, and always put me at ease. I know they are there to sell me something, but I still appreciate whatever knowledge they can pass along to me.

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Kimberly • May 9, 2007 at 1:00 pm

I’m so scared to shop for sneakers, because I’ve got this neurotic feeling that they’ll look at me, raise their eyebrows in a snooty way and be thinking, “Why do blobs need sneakers?”

Y’know…or something like that. Irrational, I know.

That store sounds fab! Wish we had ‘em up here.

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Heather • May 9, 2007 at 1:02 pm

PQ, how often in the week do you run? We also have a store similar in Ontario, The Running Room. They also have running clinics where they teach you to run, or help you train for a 5km, 10km, 1/2 or full marathon. They also have women only clinics. I joined the 5km after xmas and now am in the 10km. I love it. The people are so friendly, and you always have someone to run with. We get together at least 3 times per week to run different distances, to help train for the race we are signed up for, or just for your own reasons. I can’t say I’ll ever LOVE running, but I’ve defintely found the benefits of it. I never knew I had leg muscles until this month! They’ve actually started to become noticeable. Keep marching on PQ!!

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Debbi • May 9, 2007 at 1:05 pm

The closest I’ve come to a running store is a big-box Dick’s Sporting Goods. They were helpful, but didn’t offer nearly the service and knowledge you got, PQ. I’ve found a specialty running store within an hour’s drive; I hope my experience there – whenever I can get there – is as helpful as yours!

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PastaQueen • May 9, 2007 at 4:16 pm

Patty – I got a pair of Saucony shoes because they fit best, though I had never heard of the company before and there website does not appear to be working. My cross-trainers are New Balance though, a company I’m rather fond of because they stock lots of wide width shoes.

Kimberly – The attitude I got at the store was that they really loved running and wanted to help people become runners no matter what their experience or how blob-shaped they might be. I understand your fear, but I’m sure there is a running store somewhere near you where they’d be happy to help you!

Heather – I’ve been trying to run 3-4 times a week or about every other day. Hopefully with my new shoes my body will be able to handle it better and I won’t have to take days off which is so frustrating. I’ve been cycling this week since I haven’t been running, but it doesn’t push me like running does. The store I shopped at also has running groups like that which I might look into joining if it suits my schedule.

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Jen • May 9, 2007 at 4:31 pm

I have so much trouble with running shoes that maybe I SHOULD drive to Indy sometime, just to get a better sense of what I need. I’m trying New Balance shoes right now, and so far I’m doing OK with them.

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wendy • May 9, 2007 at 7:39 pm

That’s pretty cool – I’ve never been to a store that did that elaborate of an analysis for running sneakers. What I’ve found, from spending lots of time in cycling stores is that cyclists and runners love to talk about biking and running. If you are interested in their product, they’ll be more than happy to help. You can always find a decent pair of sneakers for an affordable price and it’s good to hear you seemed to have a positive experience.

I love the first 50 miles or so in a pair of new running sneakers when they feel all cushiony – then it is just a waiting game until they are perfectly broken in and for me that means a month later they’ll need to be replaced.

Good luck healing the groin muscle, I’m stuggling through that pain now too…

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Paul • May 9, 2007 at 9:49 pm

Amazing, I’ve never heard of such good service at a shoe store. I seriously am in need of some shoes meant for running. I’ve always used cross-trainers, and I’ve always had issues with blisters starting to form. It really would making exercising easier if it didn’t tear up my feet :/

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Lose Weight With Me • May 10, 2007 at 7:30 am

I am impressed with the service you received at the Running Company! I’m about 3 1/2 hours from Indy, and it’s tempting to make the drive next time I need a pair of running shoes.

Brian

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Heather • May 10, 2007 at 8:51 am

Running shoe stores tend to have very helpful staff. That’s why I always shop there instead of ordering online, even though I know my shoe and size… I want to encourage a business model like that!

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blest • May 10, 2007 at 9:33 am

My husband is a Marine who just ran his first marathon not too long ago (his team won!). He’s become obsessed with the comparative merits of running shoes. I think if I told him he could take me running shoe shopping, he would consider it the best foreplay ever. Sheesh.

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Rah • May 10, 2007 at 11:16 am

Okay, obvioulsy I’m not getting something, because of course EVERYONE puts one foot in front of the other when they run. So what did that mean?

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PastaQueen • May 10, 2007 at 11:42 am

Rah – Heh, you’re right, I should have been more clear. I put one foot directly in front of the other, like I was running on a balance beam. Other people tend to just swing their foot forward and use a wider path of the pavement. I don’t think there’s anything “right” or “wrong” about either method, it’s just a difference in running gait.

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mickey • May 10, 2007 at 2:19 pm

there is a similar store in NYC called JackRabbit, where i went to buy my last pair of walking/running shoes. they are great there, and they don’t push anything on you, which is also a big relief if you’re used to being upsold.

i’d be interested in hearing how/when you started your running program. i am not quite up to running yet, but as i get in better shape, that’s something i am looking forward to.

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Kim • May 10, 2007 at 7:12 pm

I love the running company! Thanks to them no more foot pain!

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Mark • May 11, 2007 at 2:02 pm

You forgot your affiliate code in the links.

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HK • May 15, 2007 at 5:24 am

For those looking for stores like the Running Company, http://www.runnersworld.com will give you a list of similar (i.e., small, great service, knowledgeable staff) running stores in your area. It’s a great resource. I’ve been to various stores like these, and now I can’t ever go to a generic store for running shoes again. And don’t feel intimidated or rushed — just take your time and see which shoes feel right for you. Also, I’d suggest revisiting your loyalty to a particular brand or model every once in a while. I used to love New Balance shoes, but now I’m addicted to Saucony — they’re great for wide feet (www.zappos.com also carries wide sizes) that mildly overpronate.

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Dom • May 16, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Blimey – they give you a 10% discount for having to wait for service in America? Here in England they give you a passive aggressive sneer!

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Tamara • May 6, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I’m discovering your archives after reading first Chocolate & Vicodin (lifelong — but thankfully not daily — migraine sufferer here) and then Half-Assed. You’re hilarious… and, yes, hot!

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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