Raise your hand if you remember the athletic shoe ad campaign with Michael Jordan and Mars Blackmon (played by Spike Lee).
In one ad, Mars begs Michael Jordan to reveal the secret of his basketball magic. After Jordan repeatedly rebuffs him, Mars concludes, “It’s gotta be the shoes!”
Take 30 seconds to refresh your memory.
Of course, Jordan was right to insist that his shoes had nothing to do with his on-court success.
But Mars wasn’t wrong, either.
The great thing about running is you don’t need to buy expensive gear or clothing to be a runner. Not as a beginner. Not as a world record holder. You’re good to go with a pair of shorts, a shirt, socks, and shoes.
But not just any ol’ pair of shoes from the back of the closet. Shoes are the most important piece of equipment a runner owns. Investing in the right shoes for your feet can improve your performance and prevent injury.
I learned this the hard way when I began training for my first half marathon. After an otherwise ordinary 6-mile run, I experienced severe knee pain. The culprit wasn’t my running form; it was my running shoes.
In the past, I’d always gone to national athletic shoe stores, the kind you find at any shopping mall. This time I decided to try a local store that specialized in running shoes. A store owned and staffed by runners who are knowledgeable and passionate about running.
With their patient guidance, I tried on every neutral gait running shoe in the store. I walked in them. I ran in them. I jumped up and down in them. When I finally found my perfect shoe, it felt like I’d found my sole mate (pun intended). In these new running shoes, running suddenly felt like flying.
3 Essential Facts about Running Shoes
I came away from that shoe-buying experience with more than a pair of shoes. I also received an education. Here’s what I learned.
- Every beginner runner or established runner should have a proper, in-store running shoe consultation. Proper shoes that match your running style are essential to preventing common running injuries such as black toe nails, sore arches, plantar fasciitis, and knee pain.
- Running shoes have a life span and do not last forever. They’ll last about 400 miles before the cushion begins to wear too thin and you become vulnerable to injury. Some people start shopping for new shoes after 300 miles.
- Your running shoe needs to have enough room for your feet and toes to move. According to Runner’s World on buying the right running shoes, “You should be able to pinch a quarter inch of upper material along the widest part of your foot.”
There’s one more thing I learned: The value of supporting locally-owned stores. My local running store offered excellent consultation in a friendly, no-pressure environment. For no more money than I’d have paid at a national chain.
I resumed my training with no more knee pain.
It’s gotta be the shoes.
Not only do we support a good pair of running shoes, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Jeff Galloway Running Groups are dedicated to running injury free. We start in 2 weeks with a couch to 5k Getting Started training program and a half marathon training program. Cross finish lines with us using the Galloway Run/Walk/Run™ method. Specialty clinics are included in the program with a featured shoe clinic at a local running store on Saturday, March 16.
For more information, contact us.
What about you? What’s your favorite local running store in the Twin Cities area or elsewhere?