As a runner, I’ve been bought three pairs of running shoes in the last six months. Usually, this wouldn’t be entirely abnormal if you’re the type to have multiple shoes for training, however, that was the case here. I’m currently using a dedicated pair of running shoes for all of my runs as a means of being more budget-friendly.
At the beginning of this year, when I decided to train long distance again, I was finishing off a pair of tangerine Saucony Powergrid shoes that were super amazing and wonderful- as far as I can remember.
Faced with a budget crisis, I opted for a pair of Asics Venture 5 in the $40 range. They seemed to work pretty well and were fairly comfortable for about two months, until my big toes kept jamming into the front end of the shoes when I started doing longer distances. As it turns out, Asics run a bit small and narrow- but I didn’t know this.
I decided the problem must’ve been with the Asics brand itself, and I decided to go back to Saucony and upped the shoe size to by a whole size and ordered a pair of Cohesion 10s. And yes, in an effort to save money, I bought them from Amazon. I know, I know. Try *on* the shoes before buying them. But I needed something at a reasonable price, and Saucony was the last good pair of shoes I could remember. (Previously, I had strictly bought Nikes, which wore out a bit too quickly [and were out of my budget], so I decided to shop around.)
The shoes felt really good at first, and I managed a 10K through them, but this plan ended up backfiring on me in a couple of ways. 1) The sides of my feet ended up hurting during longer runs [spoiler alert: the shoes didn’t accommodate my wide feet]. 2) At this point, I had already bought two pairs of shoes for a total of $85, which means that I might as well have gotten a better pair of shoes that actually fit for the same price. And finally, 3) since the Asics were half a size too small, I overestimated the size I should order for the Sauconys.
All in all, I created a small mess for myself, which sort of put me in a Catch-22: either shell out for a nice pair of shoes at a good running store, or try to buy cheaply a third time and end up with a third pair of shoes that I can’t actually train in (or train in them and risk injury).
Disheartened and questioning my ability to pick out my own shoes, I resorted to a specialty shoe store. The salesperson was even more help than I expected him to be, and very informative about what type of shoes I should be looking for (the ones at their store, of course). My shoes were simultaneously too big, and too narrow for my feet. Also, according to the salesperson, I was no longer the special flat footed person I had been led to believe (by my doctor, some 12 years ago). I was just a normal, medium arch person.
He brought out a pair of Mizuno and New Balance shoes, which made me cringe. My friend had been religiously buying New Balance shoes for years, and like trying to explain Atheism to a Catholic, my suggestions were denounced immediately: there was no balance in the universe, without New Balance.
Long(er) story short, I now have a pair of New Balance 880v7 shoes that will take me over the finish line for my next half marathon. With a bruised ego and a little more knowledge than I had before, I made my trek through the jingling door and back home- but not before I was reminded to break-in my new shoes before running in them.