My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

My quest for proper running shoes

on April 20, 2014

Most of my adult life, it has been very difficult to find shoes that fit properly because I have very wide feet.

If I wanted dress shoes, I had to wear flats because heels were too difficult to walk in, even small ones.  And I usually had to buy a bigger size than I really needed because I needed the extra width.

I could never find boots that fit, not even in the winter.

When I bought sneakers, I had to buy men’s because women’s were never wide enough.  At my heaviest, I wore a 6E width sneaker.  And only 1 company made them that wide (at least that I could find).  And they only came in black or white.  I was a little jealous of people who could buy cool looking sneakers in fancy colours and designs.  All I could get were black or white.

When I started losing weight, I was surprised to find that my feet were shrinking too.  It wasn’t too long before my 6E width shoes were too big.  Now I was down to a 4E width.  I was making progress.  I still couldn’t buy the cool looking sneakers, but I was getting there.

About this time last year, I was in desperate need of new shoes.  I went to the store, but was a little overwhelmed by the choices.  I had started running, and knew that I would need shoes for that.  The ones I had were NOT made for running.  I learned that the hard way.  I also needed shoes for my every day workouts.  I didn’t know if I needed 2 pairs or if 1 would do both.  And I didn’t even know what size I wore anymore.  The clerks at the stores I went to were not helpful.

Tyler had recently bought new shoes, so he said he would go with me to the store.  He helped me find some shoes that fit and would work for what I needed them for.  They were great!  They were so much lighter than my old shoes, they felt like slippers on my feet.  I called them my magic shoes.  They were the first pair of fancy sneakers I ever owned.  I was so happy.

After having these “magic shoes” for about 3 months, a hole developed in one of them.  I tried taking them back to the store, but was told they could not take them back.  After speaking with customer service, I was finally able to exchange them for another pair.

Around this same time, I strained the arch on my right foot.  It was stupid.  I tried pushing myself too fast too soon.  Lesson learned.  After a few weeks and getting custom orthotics, I was on the road to recovery.

Winter approached and I started shopping for boots, unsure if I would even find any to fit.  To my great surprise, I found some really nice ones.  They would be the first winter boots I owned since I was a little kid.  I was a little giddy about it.

As winter wore on, I noticed my sneakers were starting to hurt my feet a little.  Not all the time though.  When I started running on the track, I noticed that my toes started to cramp up at about 2 miles.  I figured it was time for new shoes again.

Ideally, the place to get running shoes is at a running store.  But my town doesn’t have one.  The closest one is about half hour away in the next town, which is not that far, except that I don’t drive.  So I went to the stores we do have.

Again, I felt overwhelmed by the choices.  I wanted to make sure I got proper running shoes.  I tried on probably 15 different shoes.  None felt right.  My foot is wide at the toes, but short in length.  Women’s sneakers didn’t seem quite wide enough; men’s shoes were too long.  I went to another store.  They didn’t have as many choices as the first one.  I resigned myself to buying the same shoes I was replacing, just this year’s version.  They seemed okay.

Walking in them seemed fine.  I ran around the track in them.  They were a little tight, but I figured that was normal since they were new.  After a few runs, I decided these shoes were not right for me.  While okay for walking, I really needed them for running.  When I ran in them, my toes felt cramped.  And part way through my run, it felt like my toes were falling asleep!  Not good.

As I had only purchased them the week before, and only wore them indoors, I took them back to the store.  They refused to take them back.  I was livid.  The lady I dealt with was rude.  When I got home, I called their customer service department and complained.  About the fact that they wouldn’t take the shoes back.  And about her.  Customer service wouldn’t do anything about it either.  That is the LAST time I shop in that store.  I contacted the manufacturer.  They wouldn’t do anything either.  I’m angry.  Partly at them and partly at myself.  I shouldn’t have bought them in the first place.

Anyway, about  a week later, I got a phone call from the store manager.  He left a message on my voice mail.  I haven’t had a chance to call him back yet.  That should be an interesting conversation when I do.

My husband was going out of town for a meeting.  Sometimes I go with him, sometimes I don’t.  I hadn’t gone the last few times he went.  But I decided to go with him this time because where he was going had a running store.  I was praying I would be able to find shoes there.

I arranged to meet with a friend who happen to live there.  And there happen to be a running store near her home.  She had never been in one before, so she was curious as to what they had there.  The lady at the store was very nice.  And she seemed to know what she was talking about.  After watching me walk, she recommended a neutral shoe.  I tried a couple different sizes on.  They fit nicely, my toes did not feel cramped at all.  The size I needed she didn’t have in stock, but she checked other stores in the city and found one that had them, and she asked them to hold them for me.  I was really excited!!

I decided to test them out at the track the next morning.  They felt good!  My toes never felt cramped.  I was even more excited!!  I tested them a few more times and decided they were perfect.

Finally I had proper running shoes!

For those wondering, they are by New Balance.  They are not crazy colours, but I’m okay with that.  The important thing is they are comfortable and my toes are no longer cramped.  I’m considering getting some crazy shoe laces for them.

And now I’m considering getting a couple more pairs as regular workout shoes and backups. Because you never know when you’ll need another pair.

My old shoes have been downgraded to everyday sneakers.  They still have some wear left in them.  They are just not good for running.  At least not for me.

That’s the thing.  Everyone’s feet are different.  What works for one person, won’t necessarily work for someone else.

And that’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned.

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2 responses to “My quest for proper running shoes

  1. This is a really great and very inspiring post! I definitely hear you about running across bridges, and I’ve never even run across one that went up that high across nothing but water! Keep up the good work – your determination to overcome your fears and challenges will help you succeed at whatever type of distance you aspire to run in the future.

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