Buying Running Shoes
I like to run or jog, depending on how fast I feel like going on a given day. However, I am also really fond of walking and want to do that until I get old and gray, so I don’t feel like damaging my knees excessively now. Besides avoiding concrete as much as possible, the key for me to be sure my knees stay healthy is to be sure I use good running shoes. How do I know what makes a good running shoe? I’m glad you asked.
Yes, I know it is tempting to spend $40 on a new pair of shoes and pat yourself on the back for saving $60. Great. After twenty years of buying four pairs of running shoes a year, you’ve saved $4,800. Truthfully, that’s not bad, heck it’s a very tempting number to aspire to save. How much does knee replacement surgery cost? Probably around $35,000, though your insurance will cover most of that, right? You have good insurance and low co-pays, right? Plus, insurance has to cover most of the costs of physical therapy, doesn’t it? Even if you answer an unqualified yes to those three questions, the pain and the limp before surgery and the soreness when the weather changes after surgery could just be your extra savings benefits.
How do you know you’re getting a good running shoe? Go to a special running shoe store. (For example, in Kansas City, it’s definitely Garry Gribble’s. St. Louis has Fleet Feet. The Los Angeles area has A Snail’s Pace.) The good stores are staffed by other runners and provide advice on what kind of shoe is best for your running style based on watching you run, looking at the wear pattern of your current running shoes and other proprietary systems. Once they make a determination, they’ll get you a shoe that fits well, fits your stride and compensates if you pronate or supinate and that just makes running easier and easier on your knees.
Running shoes have a limited life. For myself, I go by feel, which means that as soon as I start to feel shin soreness after a good run, it’s time to start looking for a new pair of shoes. It’s kind of the sign that I’ve figured out for myself. If you feel any pain in the legs, look at new shoes. However, to be sure, and to be sure that it isn’t your form or the surface you’re running on, the better way to do it is to keep a running diary. Per Runners World, you can reasonably expect 350 miles from your shoes. If you do three miles a day, five days a week, you’re looking at shoes every six months. (Click on the link because it’s a great primer on shoes as well and goes into much better detail on the possible life of your shoes.) (As an additional aside, if you are calculating costs along with me in your head, you’ve probably just figured out that you would only save $2,400 over twenty years by buying cheaper shoes. Thanks for paying attention.)
As a runner, I’ve learned these lessons long ago. I wanted to be sure to share them with you because a guy that has trouble walking doesn’t look as good as he could. Isn’t that why you run in the first place?
About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."