I went to Road Runner Sports before I went on vacation to get a new pair of running shoes. I decided to go because my old pair was approaching 300 miles, and based on my training plan I'd be putting on another ~85 by the time I got to the Half Marathon which at that time was (gasp) only one month away!! I didn't want to run the half in really worn out shoes.
I started to notice they were not as cushioned as they used to be, and my outside of my big toe has been getting rubbed a little bit, mostly on longer runs (Not really an issue before, but is now). It's not rubbing to the point of a blister, and not even a callus, it's just a little tender after my long runs. I don't think it's a sock issue because my Smart Wool running socks are seamless. I think it's a sign I should be switching shoes soon.
So I went to Road Runner Sports for the first time, on a friend's recommendation, to do their gait analysis so they could recommend a good shoe for me (and hopefully not a super expensive one!).
[Before going, I joined their VIP program online for $1.99. VIP gets you 10% off everything in store and online, and free shipping for online orders. Allegedly you get some extra member-only promotions, and you are allowed to try out any pair of shoes for 60 days and exchange for a new pair if you aren't happy. The VIP membership is good for one year, after this point it becomes $24.99/year... At this point, I don't intend to continue my membership after the first year, and will set up a reminder to myself to cancel as I approach my one year mark. Additionally for online orders, if you launch the order through Ebates,* which is free to join, you'll get an additional 5% cash back.]
*Full disclosure, I get a $5 Ebates credit for any new member who signs up through the above link.
I called ahead and was told I did not need to make an appointment for a gait analysis. I showed up and there were about 3 other people/groups there. Boo. I signed up on the clipboard and then wandered around the store for a while. I only have a couple pairs of Smart Wool running socks, and then some shorter socks that are ok for spinning, but not so much running. So I picked up some socks:
These Road Runner Dryroad Elite socks were on sale and short, and came small enough for my size 6 feet so I picked them up.
I picked up this 3 pack of Feetures light, not on sale, at the recommendation of an employee, who said this is their favorite brand of running sock.
When it was my turn for the gait analysis, the employee asked me some questions such as: what surfaces do I run on, how many miles a week, do I use orthotics, have I had any injuries, etc. He measured my feet for size. Then he had me stand on a pad to look at my arches and balance. It turns out I have "normal" arches; I'm somewhat left foot dominant meaning I put a little more weight on that foot than my right; and I distribute the weight pretty evenly throughout my feet (front to back). Next he had me run on the treadmill, barefoot. There's a camera at your foot-level that records this.
Then they play back the video and you get to see how your feet roll as you run. It turns out that as my foot rolls forward and my weight shifts, my arches collapse somewhat. I asked if that meant I was an over-pronater, he said they call it "semi-flex." (Not sure what that means, never heard of the term). The employee was surprised that I had not experienced any running injuries and showed how this foot rolling throws off the alignment of your legs and how that can cause extra stress on your joints.
The employee felt that I could benefit from a little more arch support than shoes typically provide. I was hesitant, as I have never worn inserts before, and didn't know how this would change my running. I was asked if I wanted to have custom orthotics/insoles made from a mold of my foot. I asked what it would cost, he said around $72, I said I'd rather not. I did opt to try out a cheaper non-custom insole however:
These Superfeet insoles cost around $30.
(Note: the jury is still out on these. I'm not sure if these are required or not. They are not uncomfortable, and I can feel the added support in my arches, especially compared with my worn out older shoes. But would I have been fine in the long run without them? Who knows.) I was told that these should last for 3-4 pairs of shoes, so I feel a little better about the price.
The employee confirmed that I had been wearing the correct type of running shoe (Stability) and went in the back to find me some stability shoe styles in my size. I told him that I've typically worn New Balance and Asics, but was open to other brands. He brought out shoes by Brooks, Asics, Saucony, and Nike. After he stuck the insole in each pair of shoes for me, I hopped on the treadmill for a quick run to see how the support was helping my over-pronating, then he played back the footage for me (ha- footage). Most of the shoes helped, I think the Asics and the Saucony helped the best according to the video - and I found the Saucony to be more comfortable I think, so I went with it. The employee jotted down the other styles I tried, should this pair not work out for me.
Anyway, here's my new running shoe: the Saucony Pro Grid Omni 9
New running shoes (and my new Lululemon Run Fast Shorts - I love them!)
I Just Wanna Run tank + Run Fast Shorts...
and my new Sauconys.
While there, I also picked up some new flavors of Shot Bloks. Lemon lime was recommended by a previous commenter, and Mountain Berry was recommended by one of the employees. I have yet to try them, but will in the next week or so:
This is my first pair of Sauconys. Since I bought the shoes, I've run 3 times in them and so far, so good. I have a 10 mile run to do tomorrow, which will be my longest run in them yet. Hope I still like them for longer runs!