Daily Archives: October 30, 2010

Fitness, err, Saturday: All About the Shoes Part III

Well. Writing a Fitness Friday post on a Saturday is not the same thing at all ;) Truth of the matter is, I didn’t get home from work until 10:30 last night and the idea of writing a blog post after a full night’s rest sounded a lot more appealing!

So after 9 hours of glorious slumber, a belly full of oatmeal, and a whole day off ahead of me, I think I’m in a much better frame of mind to write. Let’s get to it!

Today’s post is the third and final post in my Running Shoe Series. I highly suggest you catch up on Part I and Part II if you missed them. We covered a lot of ground on how to pick the right running shoes for you.

In this post, I’ll be answering your questions about running shoes and delving into the great barefoot debate. Ohmy.

I’ve always wondered this….now…perfect time to ask! LOL
I’m still wearing running shoes (GT-2150 Asics) for everything. Honestly, I don’t even run anymore. LOL I know, I know…but they’re so darn comfortable, and I know that. No dropping $100 on shoes and finding they suck. :)
So…question….you go to a running store to be fitted for running shoes…but….where do you go/how do you know what cross-training shoes to get?
And, is a good cross-trainer enough for someone like me who has exercise ADD? Some days it’s walking the pup outside, some days its all gym cardio, and MOST days its weight-lifting.

In an ideal world, we’d have different shoes for running, walking, hiking, cycling, and the gym. Of course, few of us have the money to throw down on all of those things.

It’s important to know that running shoes are designed with forward motion in mind. They are best for running and walking. It’s also worth mentioning that sometimes your gait changes between running and walking, and sometimes you require a different shoe for both. I am a perfect example of this, as I get pains in the bottom of my feet when I go for long walks in my running shoes, but could run 10 miles in them and feel fine.

Cross-trainers are built for lateral motion. The side-to-side movement that you do in exercise classes or weight lifting. They have a wider outsole to support this. It’s easier for most people to wear running shoes to the gym in case they want to step on the treadmill or stair climber for a little bit. But it’s also a great way to wear out the cushioning in running shoes without even running in them.

With this in mind, I always recommend wearing old running shoes to the gym, and wearing only your newest running shoes on your actual runs. Just make sure you label which is which if they’re the same make. Trust me, it sucks getting them confused :P

As for where to get fitted for shoes – I can’t tell you that! Every town and city is different. The national chains we have in Canada aren’t everywhere else and every place has the mom and pop sports stores. Start googling and calling places and hopefully you’ll get pointed in the right direction.

Lily @ Lily’s Health Pad
Oddly enough, I am not a pronator, yet I was fitted many years ago at a swanky running shop and it was suggested I wear the Asics 2100 series. I’ve been wearing them ever since and have found I love them.

However, according to your last post…I think I’m a supinator! (Land on my outer heel and roll onto my outer forefoot) I tried running with shoes and without shoes…supinator either way.

Uh…I guess I’m wearing the wrong shoe??

This is where I say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! I sometimes get customers in the running store who have had a lot of success with a shoe that I wouldn’t have necessarily chosen for them. I look at the wear patterns and they’re all wrong. But I get nervous putting them in something different, because changing it up could end up causing more harm than good! You’ll know if you’re in the wrong shoe, despite what all the “rules” out there tell you you should be in.


Could you help me? If so, many thanks!!

I have a wide foot and pronate quite a bit….what should I be getting?

(I have been buying men’s Brooks the last few years(to accomodate wide foot) but wonder if there is abetter option for me?

I am overweight and using shoe for jogging and walking.(have had in the past plantar fasciitis, and other feet problems as I have gotten closer to middle age!)

Thanks Susan!!!


Just realize I am not sure if I pronate or supinate…..I do one of them lot.
My shoes are worn away more on the OUTSIDE edges of foot,not inner….so which is that? Thanks again!

First, running on the outside of your foot is called supination. That puts you in the cushion category for shoes. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to correct running on the outside of your foot. Even worse, not a lot of cushioned shoes come in wider sizes!

Brooks shoes actually tend to run a little more fitted, so I probably wouldn’t put you in something like that. New Balance are one the widest shoes out there. And people who are a little overweight sometimes need extra cushion in their shoe, so my first recommendation would be the 1064 (or anything in the 1060 series).

Adidas shoes can also run a little on the wide side. The adiStar Ride series are the ones with the more cushioning.

Shoes like Brooks and Mizuno actually do gender-based shoe construction, so I wouldn’t recommend going to the men’s side on those. If you still can’t find a women’s shoe that is wide enough for your foot, try something like an Asics or Saucony. The biggest difference with those is the wider toe box in the men’s shoe, which is exactly what you’re looking for!


Alina (Duty Free Foodie)

What are your thoughts on the Nike Free? I think I am a bit of a pronator, but I am trying to use the Free as a gateway shoe to perhaps try barefoot running in the future.

Nike Free shoes are incredibly lightweight with just a pinch of support and cushioning meant to slightly mimic the feeling of running with no shoes on. Let me put it this way, if barefoot running is something that interests you, these would be a good place to start (as opposed to Vibram FiveFingers or just throwing your shoes out all together). I don’t recommend them if you’re a heavy pronator or need orthotics. And definitely don’t log too many miles in them. Start with a mile at a time and keep them for your short runs.

Brie @ Brie Fit
I want to know where you stand on the barefoot/minimalist shoe trend! Are you going to trade your current shoes for a pair of VFFs or Nike Frees any time soon? I’ve had sooo many foot and lower leg issues, I’m wondering if I should give it a shot or if I’m setting myself up for disaster. Discuss!

Brie, you already put my answer in your question! :P

Barefoot running is just that, a trend.

I do think there is something to it. Some of the world’s best runners never wore shoes. Running shoes can actually change your gait to hitting more heavily on the outside of your heel, when ideally you’d want to hit closer to your forefoot. In a perfect world, we’d all have the perfect barefoot gait and could run around the mountains injury free.

But let’s get real. Most of us are recreational runners who only started endurance running as teenagers or adults. Most of us grew up wearing shoes and not gallivanting around barefoot. Most of us live in suburban/urban areas where our paths are made of pavement or littered trails.

Yes, the best cushioning for running already resides in your feet. Something shoemakers have been trying to mimic for years.

And in a perfect world, I wouldn’t get droves of clients who can’t push 5 lbs above their heads because they’re so weak from sitting at desks all day.

My point is, we live in a modern world where the human body is not used like it once was. We’re an ever-evolving species. Instead of trying to mimic the way history tells us we’re supposed to move, we should just move the way we’re built to now.

It’s also important to remember that each body truly is different. Just because one person has success ditching their shoes, doesn’t mean it will work for your body’s individual needs. No long-term studies have been done on the effects of barefoot running. So you may save money on shoes now, but what kind of money will you have to spend on rehabilitation later?

If it is still something that interests you, I suggest you start very small. Something like the Nike Free pictured above, doing very short runs to begin with. Never go barefoot for a long run unless you’ve already been training without shoes for a couple of years.

As for me, I’ve never had any problems with running shoes. I like the extra protection they give me. I’m not that competitive and like running for the fun of it. I don’t really care if ditching my shoes will make me better, I’m happy with the way I run now.


Question of the Day: Where do you stand on the barefoot running debate? Have you tried it yet?