Today I went down to visits my friends at the Running Company. Their new store in Friendship Heights looks great and I knew I wanted to get some new shoes for my last two big runs of my ten marathon challenge. I spent a few minutes checking out all the new fall products, the jackets, the tights and other fun nick nacks; then I headed over to the shoes to go through the picking out process.
Now, most people I know go in for shoes in general with a few set points in mind. First would be the look of the show, second the feel, and third, the brand. but this is really all backwards when it comes to picking out the right running shoe. First should be the brand, but not for normal reasons. You see, different companies have different aspects to their shoes that others may not have. Some companies are focused more on all different genres of shoe while others are specifically for running. One should really get to know what brand of shoe works the best for oneself before going in to buy them.
For example: Nike has some great shoes but they are known to wear down much faster than any other shoe. Reebok, Mazuno and Brooks all are generally pretty narrow shoes but Brooks has wider options, as does New Balance, Asics and Adidas. The most used shoes by runners is by far Asics, and other very common ones for serious runners are New Balance, Brooks, Saucany and The North Face (the latter is seen more on the trails). This is the case because they were mostly started as running shoes, rather then tennis shoes or cross trainers. Companies like Nike, Reebok and Adidas all have focuses in other fields.
A great story by the way is where Nike got it's start. The famous runner Steve Prefontaine had a great coach named Bill Bowerman at the university of Oregon. Bill used rubber in a waffle iron to make extra support in the shoes they were using and called them Nike after the Greek Goddess of Victory. Pretty cool stuff.
Anyway, I got myself some Adidas Supernova running shoes after I had so much success with the trail version of them in the 50-miler and two other marathons, including that last brutal trail one. They remind me very much of the classic Asics 2130 running shoe but with a little more stability support. This means, they are wide, light, well cushioned and look pretty cool too (which by the way, should be the last of your concerns when picking out the right shoe. It should be brand: feel, then look...)
I then bought another pair of SuperFeet. These are great slide-in soles that give some good solid arch support. I like to tell my clients to get these for everything, walking, running, baseball, soccer, anything. they really help with placing the foot correctly on the ground when you move and that will always help with alignment and stability as you work out.
I also picked up some Cliff Bloks. I love those things for some reason, but only when running. I would say try them out on a long training run or ride and see how they make you feel. Something about the texture and taste just gives a great little boost of needed energy on a long run.
The one other thing I intend to purchase today is a pair of "shoes" that I have wanted for a really long time. These things fit perfectly in with my mentality of allowing your feet to do what they were meant to do: move around and adapt to the ground. As people around me know, I generally work out with no shoes on and tend to wear at least two different pairs of shoes every day so that my feel never settle into one set position. These babies are perfect, I can lift in them, go to Jiujitsu in them, run in them, climb in them, and look like a ninja in them...
Check 'em out!
Never Stop, GET FIT