Running Shoes

Way too many running shoes!

I just counted. I currently, in my house at this very moment, have 6 pairs of running shoes! And I recently threw away a couple of pairs. And I have a pair at my aunt’s house in California. This is ridiculous. How did it happen? I do not even consider myself a runner, I just run because it is the third activity I must do to get through a triathlon. And even then, if it is a half Ironman or greater, I am going to walk a large portion of the so-called “run.” So how does one end up with 6 pairs?

Well, I guess it is a whole variety of things. In part I am learning what works best for me. In part I get injured and decide I need a new shoe. Or I listen to a podiatrist and end up with shoes I hate. Or who knows what. Maybe I subconsciously just think that running surely should be as expensive as the cycling part of triathlon?

So, shall I analyze how I ended up with the shoes that I have? The oldest pair are Brooks Ariel’s (a humongous, very supportive shoe) that I have put icespikes into so that I can run in the ice and snow. I use these just a handful of times per year, but they are great when needed. Then, in my quest to find the right shoe (and maybe here I must mention that I do not live in a town with a great running store where I can try a whole variety of shoes out on a treadmill to get a better sense of what works. Nope. I live in a small town with one store that sells good running shoes, but they only sell a few brands. And there are just so many to choose from) I ordered a pair of Newtons. The new, fancy shoe, I had heard about. Newton’s have a raised portion under the sole that is supposed to help runners stay on the ball of their foot. I loved my first pair! Loved them so much I wore them out and got rid of them after my second half-ironman. When I went to get a new pair to replace those, I got the exact same shoe, and then also decided I should try a different version of the Newton, and got one of their trail running shoes as well. So I had 3 pairs of Newton’s.

But then, part way through training last summer, I got a stress fracture on my 4th metatarsal. This is the bone in the middle of the foot on the outer portion. There was no great explanation for why this happened, but I figured it was probably that extra pressure from the raised portion of the Newton’s on the ball of my foot. But I wanted to keep running; so I decided if I got a more supportive shoe I could keep on running. That is when I bought another pair of Brooks Ariel’s. But they were miserably heavy and big, and my foot still hurt. I now use that shoe as a wonderful every-day tennis shoe, but not to run in (unless I have to or have no better option).

Still searching for another great shoe, and convinced the Newton’s had hurt my foot, I found an online running shoe company that offered free return shipping. They had a quiz – answer all these questions and it would tell me what shoe to wear. Recognizing this was no ideal way to get a running shoe, I was desperate and tried it. I ended up ordering some basic running shoe. I do not remember the brand, it isn’t one I will buy again, but it got me through the rest of my Ironman training.

After my Ironman, my foot was still hurting a bit, so I was still searching for the perfect shoe. I found a pair of Altra’s on sale and bought them on a whim. I had been searching for lots of support upon recommendation of the podiatrist, and this shoe was the opposite, but something about it felt good, so I bought that shoe. So far I have loved it.

And so it happened. Too many running shoes. Some day I will find the perfect shoe or two and narrow it down to those pairs. I hope. But if I keep injuring myself running, I will probably keep blaming the shoes. In the meantime, this year I hope to wear out some of the shoes I have as I gear up to train for my next Ironman!