Buying Running Shoes

Buying new running shoes is a process and it is a big deal. For those that know me or have been following the blog for some time, you know that I am a huge proponent of going to a proper running store and getting fitted for shoes.

By proper running store, I don’t mean something like Dicks or Foot Locker. I mean a store that focuses just on runners and walkers.

When you go to a running store that is worth their salt, they will look at your shoes to see where the worn sections are.  They will check the way you walk to determine what kind of shoes would best suit your needs.

They will want to know about any of your past running and injury experiences because all of this will help to make sure that you get the right shoe.

Buying running shoes isn’t something that will be quick.  Not if you have someone who knows what they are doing and not when you take the time to slow down and really see how the shoes fit you.

My most recent shoe buying experience took me about an hour.

Yup, that’s right.

A hour of me testing and retesting shoes and going through several pairs before finding a shoe that fit me well.  I told you, buying shoes is a process.

Why an hour? Because I’m extremly picky about the way shoes fit me.  I have narrow feet and most regular shoes are too wide for my feet.  I need running shoes that are going to hug my feet pretty tightly.  But not too tight!

I also don’t like feeling like something is touching my foot.  Sometimes the arch in the shoes hits the arch on my foot funny or sits in a weird spot.  Those shoes are immediately out.

Sometimes the shoes have too much graphic junk on the outside and all that stitching rubs against my foot.  I don’t like that either.

Sometimes there’s a weird toe guard thing on the front of the shoe, and that hits my foot funny.

I’m not easy to please but once I find something that works, I’m the most loyal customer.  That’s why I stuck with my Brooks Adrenalines for three years.

Here are a few tips to help you with your shoe buying process.

Go To A Running Store:

I said it already but it’s worth repeating.  Go to a proper running store.

Try On As Many As It Takes:

Why? Because the chances of you going through a bunch of different pairs of shoes, sometimes retrying them, is high.  You need to make sure that the shoe fits you, you’re comfortable with it, and that it doesn’t rub you funny anywhere.

Don’t Be Pressured To Purchase Quickly:

You want a sales person who is interested in you finding the proper fit and the perfect running shoe.  You don’t want someone who is impatient or someone who just tries to sell you what you already have.  That statement is especially true if you are looking to change styles of running shoes or brands.

You will be trying on a lot of shoes and it’s going to take a lot of time.  You do not want someone who gets frustrated by this. Selling running shoes is their job, they should be used to this situation.  And you definitely don’t want to let someone pressure you into buying shoes just so you can wrap up the process.  If that happens, walk away or ask for someone else.

Don’t Settle:

Find the perfect shoe.  If it doesn’t happen that day, then walk away and come back at another time.  Putting pressure on yourself to find something “right now” is unnecessary.  You’ll find the perfect shoe, just take your time and work through the process.

Buy Shoes Later In The Day:

Your feet swell a bit while you run just from the movement and exercise.  By going shoe shopping mid-afternoon to early evening, your feet will be slightly swollen by that point because our feet tend to swell as the day goes on.  This will better mimic how they’ll be during a run and help you find a more true fit.

Now that you are armed with shoe purchasing knowledge, get out there and get some new kicks!

If you’ve purchased running shoes in the past, how has your experience been? 

6 thoughts on “Buying Running Shoes

  1. First, love your new kicks! Second, I am very much like you and am super picky. I have taken more than one pair back to the store after wearing them and finding that they don’t work for me. I am in Brooks Glycerin right now and they seem to be working, but only time will tell. I seem to have issues when the company changes the model to make it better (or so they think..LOL).

    I hope that your new shoes work out for you!!

  2. You are so right about finding the right shoe – I am so glad I took your advice on this. Hubby too has learned this lesson. I love my Muzinos and hubby wears a different brand.

  3. This is such a great post! One thing I’d add is: don’t be afraid to go back if the shoes don’t work out the way you expected. A real running store will work with you to correct anything that’s wrong- from adding inserts to making other little adjustments that really add up to big changes!

    • Definitely Alyse! Returning shoes is a must at a store! As long as the shoes weren’t taken on a muddy trail run, I think all stores should take them back if they don’t work out.

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