February 10, 2012

Shoe Dogging

I've been competitively running for just about 2 years now. In March of 2010 I started training for my first half-marathon. Since then, I've run a number of races ranging from the 5k distance to the marathon and I've run almost all of them exclusively in Nike shoes. Nike Pegasus shoes to be exact. I tried a pair of New Balance 890s for a while but they barely lasted me through one half-marathon training cycle before falling apart. I've tested out the Vibram Five Fingers, but never for a race. At the end of the day, I always come back to Nikes.

Since I've been running longer distances, I've always had an issue with blisters, calluses and black toe nails. I took this to be normal until Katie A. and I had a conversation via Twitter and she pointed out that with the right shoes, this shouldn't be happening. So I started thinking about getting new shoes. Shortly before Marine Corps, I went to Jack Rabbit to try out some new shoes. After trying on about 7 different pairs of Asics, I finally just decided to go with what I know and I ran in the new Nike Pegasus 28s for Marine Corps. I knew I wanted new shoes but I couldn't find anything I liked and just decided to go with what I knew.

Fast forward to this Wednesday which was my wonderful boyfriend's birthday. The night before, I headed out to New Jersey to spend his birthday with him. Wednesday morning, after getting breakfast at our favorite bagel place in town, The Pilot told me he had a surprise for me. "But it's your birthday," I said. Didn't matter, he had something up his sleeve. So we rolled up to Road Runner Sports, a running store near our home town and he said, "Happy Birthday, we're getting you some new running shoes." I was slightly hesitant because well, I always get my shoes from Jack Rabbit and I always run in Nikes. But I guess The Pilot really does listen to me babble on about running and I guess he really does read my blog because he knew I needed new shoes and he knew Road Runner would be the best place to go.

First, we sat down with one of their shoe experts who asked me a bunch of questions about my running habits: what I'm training for, how often I run, what my weekly mileage is, what kind of surfaces I run on, etc. He took  my measurements and put all of this information into a computer and then had me stand on this weird mat thing that generated an image of my feet onto the computer and showed where the pressure points on my shoes are. Turns out, I'm putting a lot of pressure on my left heel even when I'm just standing still. So, after looking at that, I stepped up on the treadmill and started running barefoot. Then, we looked at a tape of my running. Turns out, I'm under-pronated and have a tendency to roll my ankles in with each step I take. The diagnosis? A stability shoe...a huge difference from the neutral shoes I've been running in. The next step was to fit me for some custom insoles.

After spending close to 45 minutes discussing all of these things, then, it was time to go look at shoes. My trusty shoe guy brought out a stability shoe from just about every brand out there: Brooks, Nike, Asics, Mizuno, Saucony, etc. I really appreciated this because I feel like every time I go to Jack Rabbit, they really try to push me on the Asics, which just don't feel right for me. I tried each of the different shoes with my new custom fit insoles. I really liked the Brooks, Mizunos and Sauconys so after I had narrowed it down to those 3, I tried them with and without the insoles and after a few runs on the treadmill in each, finally made the decision to go with the Saucony ProGrid Guide 5s. I love these shoes. The best part about them? Road Runner gives you 90 days to try out your shoes and insoles and return them if you don't like them.

Last night, I had a 4 mile marathon goal pace run on deck. I didn't want to test out the new shoes on an interval run just yet so I took the insoles out and put them in my Nikes to see just how much of a difference they make. I've never been one to really trust insoles but let me tell you, my Nikes, which have some 270+ miles on them, which I've run at least 2 half-marathons and a full marathon in (I know, I know!) felt like brand new shoes. So I'm sold on the insoles. But after the short treadmill runs I did with my new Sauconys yesterday, I know I won't be disappointed when I take these babies out for an easy 6 tomorrow.

I was amazed at all of the information Road Runner gave me and I really appreciated trying on so many different pairs of shoes without any bias from the store. I always thought I was a neutral runner but after really sitting down and analyzing my form and looking at so many different factors, it turns out I really do need more of a stability shoe. So this year's birthday present from the boyfriend? A+. I can't wait to break these babies in for Madrid!

*Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this review. The opinions reflected in this post are solely mine.*

Have you gotten new running shoes lately?
Are you a brand loyalist when it comes to running shoes?
Have you ever had your gait properly analyzed like this before? 


  1. Amazing! I was an Asics girl for years. Then switched to Brooks. Then to Mizunos, and now I'm on Nikes. I never liked Nikes because they didn't fit me properly, but for some reason, this pair feels amazing. Glad you're liking your new insoles! :)

  2. this sounds like an awesome day! the guide is one of the many many shoes in my closest and i love it because it's so nice and squishy.

  3. Really liked this post! I'm in desperate need of a new pair of shoes, and also have been wanting to use insoles for a while. I love how they analyzed your stride so in-depth! I seriously went to their website to see if one is around here. Closest one is 3 and 1/2 hours away. Blast.

    Enjoy your shoes!

  4. I run in Sauconey from the beginning and currently have the ProGrid Guide 4 and LOVE this shoe. I never had blisters or black toenails due to the large and comfy toe room. Hope you like them as much as I do :)

  5. Yes with the proper shoes you shouldnt be getting black toenails and stuff. I have never had one!

    However I am not sold on the whole stability shoe thing. When I first started running I was custom fit at a NYC running store. They put me in a stability shoe. I ran in it for over a year. Same shoe, different pairs!!

    After I was injured and coming back to running in the summer of 2010, I decided to switch it up. I went to another NYC running store and they told me that no way did I need that much support. I got a lighter Brooks shoe and fell in love with the brand. With my coaches encouragement I started to run in racing shoes too to great success. Never had any problems although I always build up slowly in lighter shoes.

    Are stability shoes good for some? Maybe. I hope you find that they work out for you :D

  6. So glad you got to do this. Every distance runner really needs to be fitted by a pro for the right shoes. I meant to go today to get a new pair, but I didn't have 45min-1 hr to spend at the store, so tomorrow I go... Again, so happy you got the right shoe. What a great man you have!

  7. I love new shoes:) I've always worn Brooks Adrenaline, but I did get re-fitted a few months ago and after a gait analysis, I am working with the Mizuno Nirvanas. So far, so good!

  8. I've had Asics, Saucony, and most recently Brooks. Nikes are just about the only thing that don't work for me, and it makes me so sad because they're always the cutest!

  9. I used to be an Asics loyalist, but after having my run analyzed, I've been wearing Brooks. Due up for a new pair and new analysis after having a baby. Curious to see how / if my feet have changed!

  10. I'm not serious runner and usually look around for five dollar secondhand pairs. Given this information... I'm really curious how much this whole set up costs...?

  11. hi Christy,

    My name is Nathan and I, too, am a 24 year old living out the pursuit of 25 things before turning 25. I started this tradition on my birthday two years ago and just started my third annual list this week. I'd love to collaborate with you, help cross something off the list, and potentially even meet you. Check out some of my lists, and continue living the dream. Hope to connect soon.


  12. Did you happen to try any Newton running shoes? They feel weird at first, but once I got use to them, there is no way I'd ever go back to anything else!! Just a suggestion for next time, if you're interested! They are super fabulous!! So glad you got some good shoes that hopefully won't create those icky black toe nails anymore, those are the pits!


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