Thursday, 4 September 2014

A million pairs of running shoes and not a pair to wear

Today I bought my third pair of new running shoes in 5 weeks.

I loved the pair of Saucony Guide 6 that I started out with, but as I upped the mileage, I started to get blisters on the big toe joint. I've got really wide feet which apparently aren't particularly well-catered for by Saucony. I'm also a bit of an overpronator and the chap in the running shop told me that the extra movement of the foot can cause the big toe joint to rub more on the spot where the insole meets the side of the shoe. Sounds feasible, but what do I know?

One of the reasons I really loved Guide 6 was that it was really comfortable on the top of my foot. I've got a high arch and instep and a lot of weird sensitivity following the birth of my son nearly 3 years ago. The top of that shoe just felt like a duvet on the top of my foot. The tongue is wide and not too fat and just seems to fit perfectly. And I'm gutted, because I can't seem to find the same comfort in any other shoe.

I really had to change them. I'd had them for 7 months and I needed to get a new pair worn in properly before the Berlin Marathon. When I went to get a new pair, I did the whole gait analysis thing and we tried some shoes with a bit more stability. I ended up with a pair of New Balance which had loads of toe room, but not very much room on the top of the foot. They were really comfortable on the sole, but I should have backed off when there was hardly any lace left to tie. The tongue wasn't wide enough to protect the top of my foot from the top lace holes.

I didn't really like them from the start, so the last time I was in London, I made an impulse buy in London when someone showed me the Saucony Triumph ... why did I buy them? Because they didn't have the stitching on the toe box that I thought had been causing my blisters. But that wasn't what had been causing my blisters. And so even though the top of the shoe was once more lovely and comfortable, my over-pronating foot was rolling around in them like nobody's business and those nasty blisters were back with a vengeance.

The New Balance have seen me through some long runs recently. I've adapted the lacing on the right foot to take the pressure off the top of my foot. Which of course then meant my heel was wobbling about all over the place. By the time I took my shoe off at 30km, I had a blister the size of a tomato. That was 2 weeks ago and it's still healing. And the top of my foot was getting more and more sensitive.

So today, I went out and got the third pair of new trainers in 5 weeks. And I really don't know if I'm convinced. This is a high stability Asics Gel 11. Apparently it's fab for wide-footed over-pronators ... but no-one's said anything about sensitive top of footers .... I'm wearing them in as we speak. And they feel really hot. I hate having hot feet. And they feel rather heavy too. I gave them a few minutes run on the treadmill after I'd bought them and somehow I'm now sounding really heavy-footed. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty chunky, so I'm never going to sound like grasshopper when I land, but somehow there seemed to be more of a thud.

I've always been barefoot during the day as much as I possibly can be no matter what the weather and I'm worried that such a high stability shoe is going to somehow cripple my feet. I'd much prefer to work on fixing the over-pronation through exercise and then try out the barefoot running shoes. My foot naturally seems to want to go for a mid-foot strike, but these Asics seem to be pushing me back on my heel.

Hopefully I'll get used to them quickly, but just in case, I think I might try out a pair of Saucony Guide 7. If I order them from the US, I think I might even be able to get a wide fit! That could be my dream shoe.

Who knew finding the right shoe would be quite such expensive hard work?!?!?!

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