Like any girl knows, buying new shoes is a major mood lifter. I’m not sure if it’s the smell or the fresh, clean look of them, but new shoes just feel good. Although buying new running shoes may not give quite the same rush as a new pair of boots, wedges, or heels…. it is still exciting! When I get them, it gives me an extra reason to get out of bed and run. I do have to say that many of the running shoe companies have stepped up their game in the design department. They have been coming out with better looking colors and designs, without sacrificing performance and comfort. For years my husband, who works out but does not run, has tried to get me to buy better looking running shoes. I am pretty sure we could open up a small men’s shoes store with all of his athletic shoes. (I won’t mention his 25 pairs of Air Jordans, some he refuses to even wear.) As I have explained to him many times…runners do not buy their shoes for looks, we buy them for comfort and performance. For the last 20 years the vast majority of the shoes I have run in have been Saucony. From time to time I also have run in Brooks. As far as shoes to wear around on a Saturday with the kids, I have to say I love my Nike Frees. They are soft, comfortable, and the colors are fantastic and fun. In fact, every single one of my children have a pair as well. I am a huge fan, but I save those for when I am not running. (Maybe it’s an excuse to have more shoes, but I like to separate my running shoes from my other athletic shoes and only wear them when I run!)
Years ago I wore the Saucony Grid Webb, which later became the Grid Triumph. I probably went through 20 pairs. Over the last 5 years however, the Saucony Ride has been my number one shoe. It is a neutral, cushion running shoe. The most recent version is the Ride 6 and it is by far the best looking one that they have made! The colors and the design are great, I was so excited when I saw the new look! I have fairly big, wide feet and the Ride gives plenty of room in the toe box. It is important to have a little room in your running shoes because your feet can swell when you run. If you need more support than a neutral runner, the Saucony Guide would be a great one to try. During the training for my first marathon, I began getting horrible shin splints. If you have ever had them, you understand how painful they are. I went to Sport Seasons and got measured and realized that I was wearing my shoes a half size too small. From the first pair of shoes in the bigger size, I haven’t had one issue! Now, after three pregnancies and an uncountable number of miles, I have gone up another half size! (Surely now they are done growing, I’m 36!) Any rubbing from your shoes can cause a laundry list of very inconvenient problems.
From time to time I have switched to another running shoe, or purchased two pairs together and alternated between them. The Brooks Ghost and the Brooks Glycerin are both excellent cushion, neutral running shoes. They are a great alternative to the Saucony Ride and are similar in weight and fit. I do think it is good to change your shoe up from time to time. Remember also that every time a company revises a running shoe it is always important to try them on because even a small change in the shoe design can affect the fit. Wearing the wrong shoe can lead to pain and possible injuries. However, finding the right ones can make your runs faster, pain free, and much more enjoyable!
Another important necessity for running is choosing the right socks. I would say for me that the two best brands have been Swiftwick and Feetures!, which are very similar. Each brand has different styles so you have to experiment to find what works for you. Most importantly is that they are moisture wicking, to prevent any rubbing and blisters. Most styles provide compression as well. Both brands are worth the extra money. Once you invest in better socks, you will never be able to wear anything less! A great way to prevent losing one in the laundry is to safety pin them together before you put them in the washer. Losing one of them is so frustrating! If running or any kind of exercise plan is on your mind this spring, start off on the right foot (literally) with a shoe (and a sock) that works for you!