So I’ve been doing the running thing. Quite frequently actually. And as my mileage increases, I find myself creating relationships with parts of my body that I haven’t quite interacted with before. While as fun and exciting as that is, I find that it takes a toll on the body. Shocker.
I read some fact once that when you run your feet are absorbing something like seven times your body weight. It basically lead to the fact that the cushion in your shoe is kind of important. Compare it to punching a wall with your bare fist versus in a padded boxing glove.
Inspired by the discovery of muscles I didn’t know existed, I decided it was time to get some new running shoes. I headed over to Fleet Feet which is a specialty running store for running shoes, apparel, and training advice. I know they take their shoe fittings seriously and go the extra mile (ha) when it comes to selling shoes. (Side note: I recall going to Fleet Feet for the first time in 2007 to pick up my first pair of Nike running shorts. I really wanted them in hot pink and they were the only place that had em). Back to my new shoe search, I started with the Houston Fleet Feet website and learned some fun facts about socks and feet. They were just too good to not share here:
- At rest, the average foot releases 1 cup of sweat each day.
- On a 5 mile run, your feet produce enough sweat to fill an 8 ounce glass.
- 55% of foot perspiration evaporates through the shoes upper. The other 45% is absorbed in the sock and footbed of your shoe!
- Two trillion bacteria live on your feet (that’s 12% of all bacteria on the human body)
Yes, think about that next time you put on socks.
Anyways, I show up at Fleet Feet in Rice Village and they gave me the royal treatment. I roll up with my well-loved Nike Free 5 and Cory begins to assist me. I walk and run barefoot on the treadmill. He films my footsteps and slowed it down to analyze my gait and the angle of my Achilles tendon. It was pretty cool. He then brought out a new pair of Nikes for me to try on. And then another. And then another. Until I had quite a mountain of Nike’s in front of me. I tried each one on and spent time running on the treadmill and running around the store as he analyzed my stride.
The Rice Village Fleet Feet staff were very knowledgeable and very patient as I tried on a zillion pairs. They told me that you should never put your shoes on when they are tied (oops). The fit is in the heel and the top of the shoe with the laces, not at the toe. To check the size, it’s important to bend your knees and come into a quasi-squat because that mimics the part in your stride where your toes slide up the farthest in the shoe.
I learned that running on concrete is the worst because of the massive impact it creates on your feet and joints. But if you are going to run a half marathon on concrete (like I am) you had better practice on it. So for my long runs, it’s best to run on concrete and run with some shoes with some cushion and stability.
Cory assured me that I can keep running in my Nike Frees which are light and flexible for my shorter runs and get a new more cushioned pair to use for the longer ones. Fleet Feet recommends retiring a shoe after 400 miles. But ideally you should buy a new pair of shoes when the old pair is around 200 miles so that you can alternate between the two and you are never running 100% of the time in dead shoes. Pretty fascinating stuff. Thanks Cory.
I decided on the Nike Pegasus 31 which have more cushioning and support. Fun fact the number following the shoe is how many versions of the shoe that have been made. So the Pegasus 31 has been in production for 31 years, which is the longest made shoe on the market. Boom I know a classic when I see ’em.
All in all, I had a very positive experience at the Rice Village Fleet Feet and would highly recommend it to anyone looking to buy their first (or even 15th) pair of running shoes. After about an hour of running around (literally) and trying on pairs in the store, I walked out with a new pair of shoes and much better educated because of them. I feel the most confident going into the rest of my training schedule and will definitely return to Fleet Feet in the future.