What a Difference a Shoe Makes
Thursday, November 08, 2012
I said this yesterday, but I'm going to say it again, what a difference a shoe makes! I've been shopping around for a new pair for months (read: f o r e v e r). I've read top 10 lists, visited specialists shops, looked for sales, tried more pairs on, read blogs, articles, amazon reviews. All it did was give me endless options. The Internet is a great resource for information, there is just so bloody much of it! It is impossible to narrow anything down.
People either favour brands because they trust them, or they provide something unique - New Balance, for example, makes trainers that are good for wide feet. Asics Gels are popular among people with knee problems. Bloch trainers are ideal for Zumba. Those five-fingered foot things are good for running, walking and doing lunges & squats in the park (thanks Mark Sisson!).
At the same time, you have die-hard running shoes fans - people who wear them for the gym as well as dancing, circuits, and the aforementioned running. They would never wear anything else. This includes one of my Zumba instructors - but then she is young and fit with no problems. She could probably dance barefoot and by fine. I even read an article written by a foot doctor who claimed one trainer can fit all and all the rest is marketing. This sounded dubious to me but what do I know? I only know what fits and what feels right for me. Except, how can I try on all the shoes in the world and find the ideal one?
After returning to a popular sports shop twice and interrogating the salesperson extensively, I finally (reluctantly) handed over my money and bought my shoes. Even though they were really cute, I had to stop myself from immediately returning them. I'm not exactly sure why. In the past, I've bought expensive shoes I've only worn a few times, because they looked pretty, only to find I couldn't wear them unless I was sitting down all night. So why the buyer's remorse? Granted, I usually don't pay much for trainers. I pick up whatever I find on sale and wear them occasionally for errand running. But this was Serious Business - or it felt like it. My knees were counting on it.
Yesterday I debuted my new shoes. I carried them in my backpack and wore my old ones to walk to the gym. I know, more insanity right? I'm usually the type of person to break something in immediately. I didn't even know if I would like them but already I was 'saving' them.
My trainer was the first to notice. 'Nice shoes', he called out. I suddenly felt conspicuous. OMG, did they look really ostentatious? Did they not match my outfit? Was trainer pulling my leg? It turns out he wasn't. 'Do they make those in my size?' he enquired. I doubted it, since he was a size 11.5 and these only came in girly colours. He asked me to take them off so he could feel the memory foam and then showed me a older model he was wearing. He said they were the most comfortable shoe he had ever worn and even with all the classes he taught, they held up. Well worth the money. Still I wasn't convinced, even though right in front of me was a walking/talking advertisement.
I think trainer purposely put me through my paces to test out my shoes. He kept asking me, 'How does they feel, how do they feel?' I would have answered him if I had any leftover breath for talking. As it was, I gasped away most of the class. But, for the first time ever, I had no pain whatsoever in my joints. Trust me, I am skeptical enough for all of us. Whatever arch support/memory foam genius technology my shoes are selling, it wasn't all marketing - and enough to keep my knees happy.
After my workout, I changed out of my shoes and back to my old trainers for the long walk home. That's when I felt the first twinge of the day. First, low in the arch, then in the right ankle bone and finally it worked its way up my knee where it remained. So there must be something to this shoe business, right?
Now I'm looking for a new pair I can walk around in. Oh and while I'm at it, I'm in the market for Zumba shoes and those toe-thingies. I'm such an all or nothing girl.
So, fellow Sparkers, are you a loyal brand user or do you try a variety of products until you find something that suits you?