Friday, November 16, 2007

Shoe Buying

With my recent bouts of Achilles’ tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, I decided to reassess my shoe situation and discovered I was long due for replacements. Even though these issues started when I was relatively inactive, I can’t help but think I will overcome them much more quickly if I bought the necessary footwear. Unfortunately, for me that means hundreds of dollars. It used to not be this way. I used to favor discount stores where I can get a pair of shoes for 40 dollars even 20 if there were a big sale, but I’ve had some bad luck with choosing the wrong shoes and getting blisters. With the inability to return shoes that looked worn, I had to spend another 40 dollars on a different pair. Not to mention the extra time it took to do that. So I’ve been going to stores where there would be someone knowledgeable to help me make decisions that I wouldn’t later regret.

The first replacements were my running shoes. For my running shoes, I decided to go to a specialty running store for the first time. Someone suggested Fleet Feet. And I must tell you, the service there was EXCELLENT. It was well worth spending regular price. The attendant created a chart for me to keep track of my shoes, size, and problems so that they can further improve their services in the future. In addition, he was crazy knowledgeable of everything I needed to know to make a good decision on my shoes. I also was allowed to run outside in them before purchasing. On top of that, I’m allowed to return within 30 days, even if I use them. That’s CRAZY!

After an obscene amount of occupying the attendant’s time with my dumb questions, I bought a pair of 7-1/2 Saucony Progrid Omni 6 Moderate Medium for one hundred dollars.

Per the attendant’s suggestion, I also bought expensive insoles made by Superfeet, so that was another 40 dollars. But those have a 60 day satisfaction guarantee, so I can return them if I want.

The second replacements were for my cross trainers. I had been using a pair of RYKA Intensity XT, which were okay.

I liked how RYKA specialized in woman’s athletic shoes and the fit is supposed to be ideal for women (thin heel and wide foot bed). Additionally, they didn’t give me blisters. However, they weren’t very good court shoes. I not only use cross trainers for aerobics and weight training, but I also used them for badminton, which required me to make quick stops. This was not the case with these shoes, where I would end up sliding halfway across the court when I had actually wanted to start heading back to the other side. Even Ly noticed this and told me to stop (as if I could). So when it came time to replace them, I decided to try another shoe. I went to Lady Foot Locker. (Can you tell that I have a weakness for woman-specific apparel?) The service there was not nearly as spectacular as at Fleet Feet. Actually, I found them to be barely knowledgeable and maybe even a little mis-informative. The attendant there suggested the Nike Shox Ballo.
They were a pair of gaudy, ugly shoes. And it wasn’t the weird heel that threw me off, but the silvery appearance of the shoe that yells, “look at me!” The attendant said that she had a pair of them and that she loved them, looking at her I can see why. She was very nice, but she screamed of teenager and I can distinctly hear the sound of “Ghetto Superstar” as her theme music.

I asked her what the difference would be between another pair of Nike Shox that was less flashy. She explained that they wouldn’t be as comfortable or supportive, because they cost less. I looked at the price and pointed out that they cost the same. She shrugged.

I ended up buy those shoes anyways, because I have a tendency to buy anything if the attendant was nice enough, but as I examined them at home, I decided that she didn’t know what she was talking about and that I WOULD exchanged them for a less flashy pair. I also decided to give them a test drive at home, while I still have them because I was still planning to buy Nike Shox, just less glamorous. So the next day, I did aerobics in them at home and I discovered that they felt uncomfortable. I took off the shoes and discovered that my feet were red on the sides. The shoes were too tight. Memories of blisters from cheap shoes came flooding back to me, so I whipped the bottom with a baby whip and I exchanged them for a totally different pair. A different lady helped me. Not so teenager-y or Ghetto Superstar-y, but not so friendly either. She kept tight-lipped with offering me any suggestions at all, and I wondered if she did so for ethical reasons, because she probably wasn’t trained to know.

I went with a pair of white New Balance 504. My sister buys this brand, because she tells me they’re made a little wider. And at 80 dollars, they were 20 dollars cheaper than the Nikes. So far I like them. I especially like how brilliantly white they are and how the reflectors twinkle up at me. I wore them to aerobics class with my white baby tee and black stretch pants, and I must tell you, I looked awesome!

1 comment:

Living to Feel Good said...

We have a running store in our neighborhood, that has knowledgable people. I pay the extra for the right shoe too because I have a high arch that needs the support. The first time I went they had me walk back and forth, and walk on the paper that makes an imprint of your foot to see where your pressure points are. The shoe he recommended has been the best shoe I have ever worn, and so comfortable. I just buy the same one over and over. They are by Asics or whatever that brand is called. I think it's worth the extra money. And my store lets your run in them, and return even used after 30 days. So nice isn't it? Did you run in yours before you bought them? I just bought them and figured I could return if I didn't like.

I fear no one’s opinion! I am knowledgeable, focused, and efficient. I make this priority and build from experience. I do this for my children and myself. Supported by love, I will persevere.