Putting My “Feet First”

I have gone through my share of running shoes.
When I first toiled with the idea of “running”, I literally started in a pair of $20 sneakers from Target.
Now while they were super cute, they definitely weren’t cut out for what I was attempting.

I decided to kick things up a notch and got rid of those in exchange for what I thought would be appropriate: the cheapest pair of Nike sneakers at my local sports store.

How did I choose them?
1. They were on sale.
2. They had a size 11.
3. They weren’t hideous.

You know, I don’t even recall actually trying them on. I’m always excited to find shoes in my size (it’s hard having skiis), so back then, before I knew any better, I would just buy.

Now I must say, I did complete my first 5k in these. I did change from walking to running in these. I did earn my first medal in these. But…. it wasn’t easy. In fact I got my first stress fracture from wearing these shoes, and spent a few months off my feet while it healed.

After the Nikes came a pair of New Balance, which again, I do not recall trying on, in fact these were on clearance.
After that was a pair of Reeboks purchased through Amazon.
Then came the whole barefoot/minimalist running movement, so I decided to try my hand at a pair of Nike Free 5.0s which I bought off eBay.
And when I finally completed my first 15k in these, and had blisters on the pads of my feet that lasted almost a month (worst. pain. ever.), I finally decided (and with a little push from a friend) that I would finally take myself over to a real running store and get fitted for a proper shoe.

At the same time, I received a tweet from Feet First on Twitter asking me if I’d like to come in to the shop for a shoe fitting. Well, of course! So on a rainy Sunday I found myself flip flopping my wet feet into the store to see what they had to offer.

When you first walk in, it’s a bit overwhelming. It’s not like other shoes stores where you browse different styles then try on what YOU deem fit. As soon as you arrive you’re greeted by one of their VERY knowledgeable employees who basically ask you about your goals, your history, and if you currently have any pain or discomfort while exercising. I was then asked to take off my shoes and walk across the store. As I walked (and by the way- knowing someone is staring you down as you walk is intimidating! Just walk normally!), I tried to be as natural as possible so they could take notice of my gait. After my little stroll down the catwalk, I plopped myself down and relaxed as he brought me a tower of shoe boxes for me to rummage through. Apparently I’m an underpronator, which means with each step, my ankle and side of my foot rolls outward- falling on my small toes as a run. The shoes he brought me to try on help to correct this, and I could instantly feel the difference with the first pair I tried on. Most of the shoes he brought me were actually men’s. Like I said- I have skiis for feet and typically wear an 11-11.5. (I’m a 9.5 in men’s, in case you were wondering!). As I tried on shoe after shoe, I felt important.  The employees at Feet First never make you feel rushed or criticize you for your (my) indecisiveness. They are extremely patient and want you to find what’s going to make YOU the best runner out there. As a plus sized athlete, I never felt like I wasn’t taken seriously. This is a difficult thing sometimes because there ARE people out there that will make you feel like less of a athlete because of your body size. Not here. I felt like a seasoned runner the entire time.

In the end, I fell completely head over heels in love with these:

This will be my first time running in a pair of Asics, but between the extremely cushiony heel, lots of space in the toe box, and the ankle support for correction, these seem like they will be the perfect shoe for me!
I took them out for a spin last week and although they need breaking in, I already feel faster, shins were feeling fine, and calves weren’t fatigued. I think we have a winner, people!
If you’re looking to find YOUR perfect shoe, head down to Feet First and meet with the amazing people that work there. With locations on both sides of the bay (South Tampa and St. Pete), there’s one close enough. You’ll be glad you did!
Steph
**The opinions written are solely my own. I was not monetarily compensated for any of the content in this posting.

2 thoughts on “Putting My “Feet First”

  1. I REALLY need to do this. While I've had some really nice running shoes, the more miles I put on them, the more I think I may need something a little more specific for my needs. Thanks for this post, it was a great reminder.

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