Monday, September 5, 2016

Running Shoe Rotation

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If you're currently in the market for running shoes, you might have some questions about where, how, and what to buy. Skip to the bullet points if you just want some practical tips for buying shoes.

Newer runners often ask themselves, "Do I really need an expensive pair of running shoes?" My answer: Sort of. Expensive is a relative term: look for last year's models, sales, and buy shoe that have worked for you in the past from an online retailer (especially around Christmas, when many shoes go on sale).

It's not cool, however, to spend time in a running store getting fitted and trying on shoes, only to leave the store and buy online.

Think of running shoes as an investment. I've run in Wal Mart shoes, and have also bought shoes simply because they were on sale. The result? A very sore foot after one run in the Wal Mart shoes, and feeling like I was wearing bricks when running in some clearance New Balance.

In high school and college, when I got a running shoe that worked well, it was mostly by luck. Since then, I've run in and tried on 100+ pairs of running shoes. Here's some advice for choosing the right shoe based on my observations and research:
  • The best running shoe for you is one that is comfortable.
  • Don't pick a shoe based on color.
  • A shoe that works for your buddy might not work for you. You have different running form, feet, weight, etc.
  • Wear the least amount of shoe you can get away with (read: Tread Lightly for an excellent primer on running shoes).
  • Jog around the store or use an in-store treadmill to try out a pair of shoes.
  • If you're stuck picking between two pairs of shoes, try one on each foot.
Another thing I'd recommend is having multiple pairs of running shoes, preferably different models. There are several benefits to having a variety of shoes: 

First, if you have a shoe that got wet due to rain or sweat, you have a dry pair of shoes ready to go the next day. Second, different shoes may be better for specific workouts (you may want a lighter shoe for a fast workout or more cushion for a recovery run). Thirdly, if a running shoe wears out, you have another pair to use until you purchase that next pair.

Most importantly, a recent study showed that runners who rotated multiple pairs of running shoes while training had a 39% lower incidence of injury as compared to runners who ran in the same shoe throughout the same time period. Read more at the following link: Study Backs Rotating Running Shoes to Lower Injury Risk.

For all my readers in the Twin Cities, here's a list of specialty running stores to buy your next pair of shoes:
  • The Running Room: Multiple locations throughout the Twin Cities. Good variety of running shoes, periodic sales and price matching (Disclaimer: I work here).
  • Fleet Feet Marathon Sports: Located near the chain of lakes and some of the best running in Minneapolis. Some college and professional athletes to help you out, and a treadmill to try out shoes in the store.
  • Runner's Gate: Periodic sales, a moderate selection of running shoes, and knowledgeable staff to get you in the right shoes.
  • Run MN: Formerly a second location of Run N Fun. A wide variety of shoes and a knowledgeable staff.
  • Run N Fun: Lots of clearance shoes, knowledgeable staff, and a wide variety of shoes and apparel.
There are others, but I've only been to the above stores. I've also heard good things about Mill City Running, and a quick Google search will turn up several more options.

For my Rochester readers, check out Terra Loco and The Running Room.

In my next few posts, I'll highlight some of the shoes in my running rotation, past and present.

Run well.

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