I can’t tell you which shoes are the best.

Good morning!  We hope that none of our friends and community members were stuck in that awful traffic last night, and that those of you getting a day off work today are enjoying it.  Today I wanted to talk a little bit about one of the most common questions we get asked at the store, and why it is impossible to answer.

We love getting to be experts for you.  If there is one thing that runners enjoy, it is talking about running with other people who are actually interested in running (I try REALLY hard to not overwhelm my friends who couldn’t care less with my running habit).  There are lots of questions we can answer.  There are a ton of things we can help with.  There are a few things, however, that are out of our league.  Sometimes it is because it is beyond our range of expertise.  We cannot diagnosis a medical issue (we can sometimes tell you what it sounds like, but we cannot tell you for sure what it is).  We cannot promise a certain shoe or insert or product will be perfect for you, or will fix your aches, or give you a PR at your next race (although we are always happy to tell you what has worked for us and other customers!).  Most importantly of all, and what may be the most frustrating for many customers, is that there is one question we cannot answer at all.  That question – what shoe/brand is the best.

We pride ourself on stocking good shoes.  We stock shoes that we want to run in, or we think others will want to run in.  We stock shoes that we think will give you the best experience possible on you run, and will give you the best return for your money as far as durability.  We stock shoes from many different brands, in many different styles, and we can almost always help you find the shoe that is best for you.  We just can’t TELL you what that shoe is.  Let me illustrate, from my own personal experience, why that is.

Here is the ridiculous pile of shoes that live in my running closet (yes, I have a running closet.  It is necessary):

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 9.41.42 AM

My collection of shoes is excessive, and likely unnecessary.  What I want you to see, however, is the variety.  There are shoes from Brooks, Altra, Asics, Adidas, Saucony, and Nike.  There are premium cushioning shoes (those Brooks Glycerins in the front), and shoes that offer next to nothing in the cushion department (Adidas Bostons, hot pink friends on the right).  I have true neutral, zero drop shoes (Altra Torins), and light stability shoes (Brooks PureFlow).  There are also some trail shoes mixed up in there.  I actively rotate through all of these shoes for any and all of my runs, with the exception of the Brooks Cascadias that I use mainly to hike, and the Altra Lone Peaks that have sentimental value (a gift from a friend that died in a mountain biking accident).

Why so many shoes?  And what in the world does this have to do with being able to help you find your perfect shoe???  Personally, I don’t think there is a perfect shoe.  I think there are a lot of different shoes that are going to feel good on you, for a lot of different reasons.  There are days where I want to do speed work, and even though the difference is probably physically negligible for me, the mental bonus of having a super lightweight shoe is awesome.  The Brooks PureFlows feel like slippers to me, and for some reason are my favorite shoe to wear on a treadmill where I feel like I am banging down on my feet harder than normal.  My Glycerins and my Cumulus are my go to long run shoes.  All of these shoes have a very different feel to them.  The thing is, they all feel good.

When we help you to pick out shoes we look at and consider a lot of things.  Do you need stability?  Do you prefer cushion over light weight, or something in the middle?  What are you training for or are you running just for the fun of it?  What is your foot shape and what brands might best fit your foot?  Do you like shoes to be tighter or looser?  Once we know these things, we do our best to use our knowledge of our shoes to bring you out several pairs that we think you’ll love, but your feet are your feet.  We can’t always tell how you’ll feel about a shoe, and the shoe that is right for you is the shoe that you think feels great, not the shoe that is our favorite.

Now, I am not against shoe loyalty.  We have a lot of folks that have found a shoe the love, they walk in and say things like “Brooks Adrenaline – size 10,” and they end up being the fastest transactions of the day.  My one word of caution, is that over time brands do tend to change shoes ever so slightly.  If you have a shoe you love and it is time to replace it, we are more than happy to bring you out your shoe plus a few that we feel are comparable, just so you can be certain that “your shoe” is still the best feeling shoe for you.  I’ve had folks on more than one occasion express shock when they put on a different shoe and fell in love.

Our job here at Metro Run & Walk is to make sure you are able to work towards your goals with every advantage we can get you.  Sometimes that may be providing you with training advice or just selling you some gels or new socks.  Sometimes that means helping you find the shoe that makes you really WANT to get out there and work.  When it is time for shoes, remember we are here to guide you to the right place, but the shoe that is the best is the one that feels the best to you!

Stay warm out there!


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