Running Shoes - Yes, We Need Them
by Harold Shaw
Over the past few years, I have bought far too many pairs of running shoes (about 20-25 pairs a year since 2012) - hoping or is that dreaming about the "right" shoes that will magically allow me to become the runner that I have always wanted to be.
A typical runner’s dream, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, as I have learned the expensive and hard way, there is no such thing as a pair of magical running shoes that are going to make you or I, a better runner. If you buy into that line of thinking you will spend a LOT of money searching for that magical shoe.
Besides, just like everyone else my body changes a little each year and what would have worked for me as a younger person, doesn’t work for me now. Those Asics Excalibur GT’s that I loved in the ‘80s would kill my feet now and so many other shoes that I have loved over the years would not work at all for me in the body that I have now.
This is something I think that we tend to overlook when we look at running shoes, how much our bodies do change as we get older. The reality is that it really doesn’t matter what our age is, our bodies are always changing whether we 25, 43, 62 or 75 and the type/style of running shoes we need constantly change as well.
What have I learned
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So think twice and then think again about what you are reading, watching or being told.
Over the years, I have learned that there are no magical running shoes (although some claim otherwise as the current controversy over the Nike Vapor Fly line shows) and that the best ways to improve as a runner are to focus more on:
Although I gotta admit that the wrong running shoes really do screw things up royally from time-to-time! The litany of injuries I have had over the years are a testament to bad shoe choices, training mistakes and just being stoopid.
Then you have the fun issue of when the brands update that style/model that you love and the new version is a different shoe than the one you loved. It sucks big time and happens all too often. Then we have to go out and start looking for a new running shoe all over again - it has happened to almost all of us who have been running for a while and yeah, it does suck.
The reality is that...
All runners are different, we have different likes, needs and wants from our running shoes and in today's world, most brands have a shoe that will satisfy that need.
The primary purpose of running shoes, in my opinion, is to protect our feet from the ground, tar, concrete, trail or whatever you are running on, which in turn allows us to run more safely or comfortably than without them (no I do not believe in running barefoot other than for drills - it doesn't work for most of us, especially in Maine in the Wintah).
While I believe that proper running shoes can make a difference (good or bad) for a runner, at the same time I strongly believe that I (and other runners) put too much emphasis on the importance of their running shoes and how much of a difference they actually make.
The biggest lesson I have learned over the past few years is that my running shoes are a lot less important to my running than what I am doing as a runner, but even so, I am ever hopeful that someday, I will find that running shoe that works for me and hope against hope that its updates continue to work for me.
Hmmm let me see what Running Warehouse has on sale this week. :-)
Yeah, I know I am an incorrigible running shoe geek. Hehehee
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