After much researching and advice from fellow runners, I set out to my local Road Runner's store to get some new running shoes. Three months of failing to break in my New Balance 1225's convinced me that it was find a whole new shoe. It's been a few years since I've gone through the run / gait analysis, so the technicians at Road Runner's put me through their Shoe Dog System so we could see which shoes are best for me.
1. Paw Reading Test Walk barefoot across an electronic pad; first my left foot crosses, then my right. This scan test analyzed what kind of arch I have and how my foot is shaped. It also indicated what my pronation tendencies were.
The results were the same for both feet:
Arch Type: Medium Foot Shape: Semi-curve Pronation Tendency: Normal
2. Trot & Analyze Test Run barefoot on a treadmill for about 30 seconds while they videotaped the movement of my feet. The video would show:
- How I position my foot - Where I strike my heel - How flexible my feet were - Which toes do I push off on
After conducting this test, the technician played the video tape, frame-by-frame, on a very hi-def screen. Again, the results were the same for both feet:
Foot Position: Although the scan test indicated that my pronation tendencies were normal, the video showed that I have a slight pronation outward. Heel Strike: in-between lateral and middle Mid-foot: semi-flexible Toe-Off: I tend to push off using my first 2 toes, when I should be using all of them.
Then he measured my feet (arches, width and length from heel-to-toe). I found that my left foot (5.5) is half a size bigger than my right (5). Weird, huh?
Based upon all of this analysis, the sales guy said I had definitely been using the wrong shoe. For one thing, I had been using a size 7 which was way too big for me.
Then he said that I should have inserts for arch support. He was surprised I hadn't had any plantars fasciitis problems before. I sheepishly told him that I had, but I knew how to remedy it.
While he did recommend a Stability shoe, he said that the New Balances were too stiff for my feet, then he brought out 3 other shoes for me to try on:
1. Saucony: I can't remember which model it was, but I liked it, it felt good.
2. Nike Zoom Structure Triax: I had not been a fan of Nike shoes so I was skeptical about this one.
3. Asic Kayanos: Most everyone I talked to recommended this shoe to me, so I was very excited to try this one.
All 3 shoes felt really good and made me realize how much the shoes I had been running in weren't the right shoe for me.
After running circles around the store in each shoe, I decided to go with the Nike's. I shocked myself with that choice, but I couldn't help it, they really felt so good! The Saucony's would have been my second choice and I actually liked the Kayanos the least (most stiff of all 3).
This morning, using my new arch support inserts and medium thick socks (also recommendations), I laced up the new Nike's for a 5-miler on the treadmill. It was a whole new experience; I couldn't believe how much of a difference it made. My feet felt lighter and more supported. I think I am going to try to see how it feels half a size bigger, but that could just be me adjusting to having a properly fitted shoe. But other than that, I am so pleased with them!
One more thing...
I'm in the middle of reading Chi Running. This is one of the 9 books I'm currently reading so its taking me some time to get through it.
I just read the chapter that talks about lower body alignment and how over pronation can cause hip misalignment. Hip and pelvic misalignment were the root last year's injuries! After going through this analysis, it all made sense! I had been completely unaware of my pronation tendencies, but now that I know about it, I know what I have to do to correct it, and hopefully stay injury-free.
The old saying goes, "Knowledge is power" and I'm all about taking advantage of tests and analyses, like this one, that will help me understand what's going with me and what I can do to improve my health and overall fitness. Tomorrow I'll be sharing a post on the Resting Metabolic Rate test that I took a couple of weeks ago! Its very fascinating stuff!