The Importance of Proper Running Shoes

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12

I’ve been wearing Brooks Adrenaline for the past 3 years and I have always loved them.  They are comfortable, supportive and seemed to fit my feet perfectly.  That was until recently.

I was fitted for these shoes at a great running store called Fleet Feet in West Hartford, CT.  They put you on a treadmill equipped with a camera at “foot level” to record your stride.  This helps the sales person find the best shoe for you.  I tried on numerous pairs of shoes and found the Brooks Adrenaline to be the most comfortable.  They were a great fit and got me through many miles.

This past September I bought my 3rd pair of Adrenalines.  Instead of getting fitted at a running store, I just went to Dick’s Sporting Goods store and bought the most recent model thinking these were the perfect shoes for me.  My serious race training began in October and these shoes were still working really well for me.  It wasn’t until I got injured in January that I thought there might be a problem.

I continued to train in them, even though it was minimal, and I even ran my first half marathon in them.  But still, something was off.  I felt like I was walking and running on the outsides of my feet and it wasn’t comfortable.  This was something new.  So I decided to get refitted and see if I should change up my tried and trusted Adrenalines.

Yesterday, I went back to Fleet Feet (now almost an hour from my new home, but totally worth it) and told the salesperson that I wasn’t sure if I needed new shoes, but something just didn’t feel right.  He had me take my shoes off and walk down the length of the store.  When I turned around, he was literally lying on the floor looking at how I walked.  No one at Dick’s will do that, or even knows what they’re looking at in terms of your stride.  He immediately said that the Adrenaline was too much shoe for me.  He also said that it was my shoes that caused my injury…say wha?!?  Apparently, the more you run, the more your stride changes.  I no longer needed the full support of the Brooks Adrenaline and needed to go a step down to a more guidance-based shoe.  He also said that my shoes ABSOLUTELY caused my psoas injury.  Things I wish I knew 2 months ago!

Saucony Guide 5

I first tried on the Saucony Guide 5.  I really liked this shoe.  It was light and felt very comfortable.  But then I ran in them.  There was something that hit across the top of my mid-foot that felt very uncomfortable.  If I felt that just from a jog down the sidewalk, this was prime for chafing on long runs.  I wanted to like these…I wanted to love these!  But that one little piece of fabric was making me skeptical.  Plus, you should try more than one shoe, right??

Brooks Ravenna 3

On to the next pair…Brooks Ravenna 3.  Ooooh these were fabulous.  Lightweight yet still cushiony, these shoes felt super comfy.  I went outside for a jog down the sidewalk and I felt faster than I’ve ever felt before.  I was sold immediately after trying them out.  I’m still on a 2-week hiatus from running on strict orders from my physical therapist, but I can’t wait to go for a run in my Ravennas!

I’m still going to physical therapy twice a week fro my psoas tendonitis and I’m feeling better everyday.  I’m currently under strict instructions from my PT to stop running for a few weeks to let myself heal.  This is very hard to do, but I haven’t run for a week now.  Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly) I feel really good.  The PT and the rest are both working, so I’m going to stick with it for at least another week.  Pushing myself to keep training obviously wasn’t working.  Instead, I’ve started doing other cross training exercises, such as spinning to keep my cardio up!

So what to take away from this story?  Listen to your body, go and get fitted for proper running shoes, and take a rest every now and then…no matter how hard it is.  Now that the weather in the Northeast is cooperating, it’s incredibly hard to restrain myself from going out for a run, but I know it will be worth it in the long “run.”  I’m also fascinated on how the body adapts to training.  When I first started running, I needed more support, but now that I’ve been training more, I can scale down a bit.  I don’t think I will ever be a Vibram Five Fingers runner, but I’m hoping to get to a more minimalist shoe like the Brooks Pure Cadence.

My last tip is to go and find a local running store to get fitted for proper running shoes.  Then make sure to go back to get fitted every 300-500 miles you put on your shoes.  Trust me, you’re body will thank you, as this is the best way to avoid injury.  Visit for many good articles on running shoes.  This one is particularly helpful on How to Buy the Right Running Shoes.

So what shoes do you wear?  Have you found that you’ve had to change shoes over the course of your “running life”?  Leave many comments…I’d love to hear your stories!  Happy Running 🙂

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  • Totally agree on the importance of running shoes. There’s an ASCIS by my job that does the same (put you on a treadmill, study your stride, etc). When I first became serious about running, I went there. I was running in my old training sneakers which are more for an aerobics class. I first was not thrilled knowing how much running shoes cost but then I looked at it this way: my feet and legs are integral to running. And getting hurt (PT, possible surgery, not being able to run) was not worth it in comparison. So I had my gait checked, got properly fitted, and I must say it was worth every penny. I definitely think it’s worth it in the long run. I am sorry that your old sneakers were the cause of your injury – that’s terrible. I hope you recoup quickly!

  • Absolutely imperative to get fitted for the right shoes. I had my first fitting 5 years ago and for me I’m in the same brand and line of shoe that I was back then. While my stride has changed I opted to go with the less cushy shoe from the beginning (for financial reasons) and so haven’t had to make any adjustments as my stride has changed.

    I’m sorry you ended up injured from bad shoes – it happens way to often. It certainly happens a lot – I know that I didn’t know anything about shoe fittings when I first started…and I think that happens a lot.

  • I generally replace my shoes after running 400-500 miles in them, but that can vary widely depending upon how much care I took of the shoes, what type of running I did in them, and mostly upon the brand and model of the shoes.

    I wouldn’t keep your shoes more than three or four years at the most no matter how little you run. The shoes that I use tend to last about a year right now, but I rotate between (currently) 5 pairs of shoes. I am about ready to retire 3 pairs of my running shoes that were bought late last summer/early autumn.

    When I only rotated between 2 pairs in college, I was going through 5 or 6 pairs of shoes during the school year. I was also running 85 to 95 miles per week most weeks, though, and I was basically waiting too long to get rid of them since I couldn’t afford new shoes as often as I really needed them.

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