I’ve been a dedicated customer of Pearl Izumi runners for some time now. A clerk at a running store suggested I might like the way they feel, and I didn’t like them, I loved them. I usually buy two pairs at a time and keep one in the basement ready to be taken out once I’ve finished abusing the first pair.
A recent column by fellow LA Times columnist Roy Wallack discusses how “Distinct running shoes take off.” The column evaluates four wildly different types of shoes for different types of running. Roy gives his personal evaluation of these products, including his likes, dislikes, and price.
This got me thinking that new runners don’t pay enough attention to this sort of thing. See, when it comes to running, shoes are damn important.
Here are a couple of “don’t dos” when it comes to running shoes:
- Don’t just decide to take up running with whatever “running” shoes you have laying about the house.
- Don’t get them at a “shoe store,” a sporting goods store, or a department store.
- Don’t be cheap.
You need to go to a store that focuses on running. You need professional help.
Roy’s column exemplifies how there are different runners for different styles of running, different objectives, and also different biomechanical and physiological aspects of the running public. A person who fits shoes at a sporting good store is quite likely not that well trained to make sure you are getting the right shoe.
Go to a running store and talk to a pro. It’s also a good idea to take in a pair of old runners to show them so they can see the wear pattern you’ve created. They will ask you about the type of running you’re going to engage in, how experienced you are, and distances and intensity of your runs. They’ll check out your gait and basically spend the time to ensure that you are getting the right pair of shoes for you.
I also advise going on a weekday during office hours so that you can get a salesperson’s undivided attention. I’ve been to quite a few different running stores — I’ve actually given presentations at a lot of them — and in my experience these people are real pros and dedicated runners who take their jobs seriously.
Once you figure out a pair of shoes that you’re married to, as I have, you don’t necessarily need to keep going back to the same store. Money can sometimes be saved by getting new pairs at outlet malls or online.
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