How I found my new sneakers

May 6, 2012 | By | Comments (5)

As you may remember, I recently began triathlon training, which really meant I  started buying accessories for my new athletic endeavors. After a few walks/runs in anything I could find around the house, I made finding a new pair of sneakers my number one priority.

And here is what I learned . . . Not all sneakers are alike.

In retrospect, it seems a little foolish, but I honestly thought I could walk into my local Target and pick out a pretty pair of sneakers. But then I discovered the Runner’s World Running Shoe Finder and realized there was much more to finding a pair of sneakers than I thought. I didn’t even know the answers to some of the questions in the Finder:

  • What are my motion mechanics? (Answer options are: underpronator, normal runner or overpronator).
  • How does my foot strike the ground? (Again, answer options are: Forefoot, midfood, heel or extreme)

Upon the recommendation of several listeners and a friend at Brooks Running, I visited Marathon Sports, a local specialty store, to find out the answers to these questions.

During my visit, I was surprised when the salesperson asked me to take off my shoes and walk up and down the store so he could observe my stride. He then brought out several pairs of shoes for me to try, not just in the store, but also by running up and down the sidewalk in front of the store. (When was the last time a store let you take the merchandise outside for a test run?)

Here’s what I learned during my visit:

  • When walking in the store, my mechanics were normal, but when running outside I overpronated, meaning I need a sneaker which will compensate for the fact that my ankle rolls inward.
  • My shoe size is not necessarily my sneaker size. In fact, most people wear a sneaker that is half to a full size bigger than their normal size. So, while I wear a size 9, I wear a 9.5 sneaker.
  • It didn’t take more than a step or two for me to know if a sneaker would work for me. Reasons I rejected a shoe included heel beds that didn’t “fit” with my heel and sneakers that hit my ankle (I think my ankles are big boned).
  • According to my salesman most of the recent improvements in sneakers has involved weight, with shoes getting lighter every year.

In the end, with the help of Marathon Sports, I selected the Adrenaline GTS 12 from Brooks. Since receiving the sneakers from Brooks, I’ve taken them for one run and one triathlon and am really amazed by the difference a pair of sneakers selected for me can make.

What are you running in?