When I first started running in 2011 I did the smart thing and went to the local running store to have THEM tell me what shoe I needed to be wearing. I have very wide feet for a woman, and mostly flat with a good bit of pronation so I get to wear control/support shoes.
Unfortunately, visually speaking, these are the "boring" shoes in the world of running, regardless of brand. I wanted a exciting vibrant Ferrari and wound up with a boring plain Volvo. Thus I have always had shoe envy, checking out runners' shoes at all the races and hoping I wouldn't see the flashes of pity on their faces at my decided lack of vibrancy.
What I wanted :
What I got :
It's OK to feel pity for my boring shoes. At least, since I wear a men's size for the width, I was not also forced into the indignity of having to wear a plain Jane shoe with PINK on it. I would have given up right then & there if I had to wear a girly shoe.
Regardless of brand - I've worn both the Brooks Adrenaline and the Mizuno Inspire - my shoes only last about 250 miles before I start having foot and/or knee pain. At the end of my run Thursday night, a nice short 2.3 miles, my right knee really started to hurt the last half mile. Not an occasional twinge hurt but sharp pain that stayed for a few seconds before fading & then returning and I swore I could feel my knee swelling while finishing the run (fortunately it did not actually swell). So when I entered my miles in afterward I checked my data page and - surprise, surprise - the night's run put me at 252.5 miles.
I hit the Shoe Wall. I have another HM on the 17th and the full on April 7th. I needed to get new shoes ASAP.
Friday I started looking on-line for options...could I order my shoes on-line & have them shipped here to France? Basically...no. Unless I wanted to order shoes from eBay and have them shipped from Hong Kong with a no return, no refund policy.
So I looked to see if I could find them here. Nope again, sort of. The nearest store for my Brooks, according to their website, is 90 minutes away from me. I was not yet desperate enough to want to drive that far for an insanely expensive pair of shoes...because even though the shoes are the same as in the US there is an incredible mark-up here.
So I checked out the Decathlon store during lunch. It's kind of like a Sport's Authority or Dick's Sporting Goods. They have a big shoe selection but nothing really to help you find the right shoe for you. And I don't trust the salespeople to be as knowledgeable about the differences in shoes so much in that kind of store as in a true running store (I had that bias in the US too so it is not a cultural thing).
I did find the name of a running store here in Compiegne and noted the address. No website so I couldn't check out their brands, but the Decathlon carried a lot of Asics and a brand called Kalenji. I checked out those websites to find the names of the specific styles for my feet. I was not at all thrilled at the thought of switching brands 1 week before my next HM and a month before the full. But I needed new shoes ASAP. I figured out a few key phrases in French and set out on my new shoe buying adventure after lunch today.
As an aside the Asics website has a crap shoe selection guide. But their shoes look
Anyway, after my normal directional adventures (the inventor of GPS should be sainted right alongside the inventor of cruise control!) I found the store, found a parking space (no easy feat itself) and went in.
They carried BOTH of my shoes, the Brooks and the Mizuno!
AND - bonus - I was able to communicate enough to get the right size and buy them. Although we did have a few moments of confusion because he kept wanting to put me in the women's version and I kept asking for the men's. I think he thought I was getting the words mixed up.
And - super bonus - my days of shoe envy are numbered. Check out my new rides :
Not quite a Ferrari yet, more like a Ford Mustang, but I've got color now!