View Full Version : Runners? A question about shoes?

03-04-2010, 11:28 PM
I am on week 4 of the Couch to 5K program, with the goal of running in my first 5K on June 5th. I have been running in my regular tennis shoes that I also use for aerobics and that sort of thing, but I think that I might want to get a good pair of running shoes.

We have a bunch of running stores around here, but never having bought a pair, I don't have a clue where to start. What should I look for in a store? Is there a chain that you would recommend? About how much can I expect to pay for a decent pair of running shoes? Is there a break in period?

Anything else that I should know?

03-05-2010, 01:00 AM
A good pair of running shoes (and many times a stiffer insole) are the most important part of a runner's equipment. Once you do find a running store you like and are happy with stick with them. My store of choice is a Fleet Feet. According to their site they have one Virginia store in Roanoke. When I lived in Florida the store I went to was a stand alone store and not part of a chain. I found them because they sponsored a lot of local races.

If you have a local race organizer or publication that lists a lot of the 5Ks you may be able to find a store that is active in the local running community. Here in Ohio almost every race is organized by one of the local promoters. In FL it was the opposite, almost every race was stand alone. If you go to Active.com and follow the links to the race websites you will find out if they seem to be run by the same promoter or individually.

If you look at enough of them you will most likely see a running store or two to go and try.

As for the shoes most are in the $90 - $100 range. The highest pair I have seen is about $125. The break in period will very depending on the stiffness of the shoe. I wear a very neural shoe and usually purchase an updated version of the same shoe. I break them in by putting them on and running 3 or 4 miles twice and then they are ready for whatever I throw at them. When you are trying a new model or a stiffer model they may need some around the house wear first.

03-05-2010, 06:46 AM
Check to see who does a gait analysis. They should get different shoes for you to try and watch you walk and run on a treadmill. There are a few other exercises they may watch you do, all in determining how your legs, feet, ankles, etc. move. I am oversimplifying, but hopefully you get the idea.

Watch for stores who push a brand. I have seen some that really push Brooks for example. I have no problem with Brooks, but they do not work for everyone. If they are overly fixated with a brand, then they are more interested in pleasing sales reps then they are in finding the right shoe for you. Brooks by the way puts way too much in the heels of their shoes for me, as does Mizuno. This works very well for some people though.

If the store excludes certain brands, I may be concerned too.

Make sure the shoe fits and feels great. If it does not feel well in the store, it will not when running. Do not let someone convince you to buy a pair of shoes that do not feel perfect.

Go at the end of the day, especially if you spend time on your feet during the day. Feet swell some during the day. This will help prevent ending up with shoes that are too tight.

Have fun and good luck.

03-05-2010, 03:22 PM
Ooo, Centreville, I'm up in Alexandria, but often drive to Falls Church for running shoes. In the DC Area (and I dont mean to have this sound like advertising) there are several options. These are just the ones I've gone to.

1-RoadRunner Sports - Falls Church VA. This is probably my favorite, very nice people, knowledgeable. If they dont have something in stock they usually have it shipped to me within a couple days. They even went out of their way to get me a set of Mizuno Wave Elixir 4's a few weeks before the Disney Marathon by having a California store ship them out here. I know they have both a treadmill for gait analysis as well as a pressure plate. I also happen to like their brand of clothing, some of their stuff is quite innovative. Its a fairly large store as well.

2-Potomac River Running - Falls Church VA (formerly Metro Run and Walk). Another nice store, very nice people. Not sure too much on what the backstory is with them changing names. They carry most major brands and have a pretty good selection of shoes. They have a treadmill for gait analysis. I used to live like right there so it was a very convenient store.

3-Potomac River Running - Reston VA. This was my first experience with running stores (I'm from upstate NY and there really werent any there). This is where I got my first Gait analysis after 5 years of running. First time I saw brands like brooks, Mizuno, Saucony. Was like night and day in terms of shoe quality and fit. Extremely nice VERY knowledgeable people, smaller store physically, but very efficiently stocked. Usually has a good selection of the higher end stuff. Everytime I have to goto Reston for a work meeting I end up spending WAY too much time (and money) in this store.

Pacers - Alexandria VA - dont shop here too often simply because its in old town, which is kind of out of my way. I like the store, they have a very good selection and pretty well stocked, especially for their size. I didnt get to talk to too many of the people myself but I have friends who rave about it.

03-05-2010, 03:36 PM
Shoe prices generally range from 60 on the low end to about 110 on the high end. You can really get lucky buying last years model of a shoe. I agree dont just go for one brand, you want a store thats going to try you in several different types of shoes. A gait analysis usually works like this:

1-they're going to come out with a neutral set of shoes. They'll have you try them on and run on the treadmill.
2-They'll watch for how you run in those shoes
3-They'll then decide which category of shoes might work well for you. They'll then go into the back and should bring out several different brands/styles of shoes in that category
4-you'll try them on with the store person watching you on the treadmill
5-after that you two should basically have a discussion about what they saw and how you felt and price, etc.

03-05-2010, 04:57 PM
fleet feet! I have nike vomeros that were 125 but now I get them off the internet for a lot cheaper. good luck!

03-06-2010, 07:18 AM
There is a fleet feet in DC, I've been there, just never actually bought anything.

03-06-2010, 07:21 PM
Hi. This is Helen Russell, co-owner of Metro Run & Walk in Springfield VA. This discussion surfaced in my google alerts today and I wanted to answer the question about the former Metro Run & Walk in Falls Church now being Potomac River Running. Metro Run & Walk had 3 local stores (Springfield, Falls Church, and Rockville). In February 2009, my husband and I purchased the Springfield store from long-time owner Lea Gallardo. In June 2009, we were offered the opportunity to purchase the Falls Church and Rockville stores and declined, choosing instead to concentrate on building one really great store where we would personally be working with customers. Subsequently those two stores were purchased and rebranded by Potomac River Running.

All of the speciality running stores have many things in common and some things that make us each unique. What is most important is that you get (1) great service by trained, knowledgable staff (2) have a gait analysis to ensure that you end up in the correct shoe for you taking into account (a) pronation characteristics (b) shape of your foot (c) size of your foot (d) comfort as determined by you and (3) you are using good form while running. A knowledgable salesperson should be able to discuss the characteristics of good form.

Happy running!

03-07-2010, 07:27 AM
Thanks for the backstory :). Very much appreciated. I'm living in Kingstown now, so Springfield is very convenient for me. I'll probably stop in today :).

03-07-2010, 08:04 AM
Living in Kingstowne, you should know about the Kingstowne Striders -- a running and walking group of about 50-60 people living in Kingstowne. The group meets every Saturday and Sunday morning for scheduled runs and walks. Very nice group of people of all abilities and speeds. For more information, check their website. I can't include the link here, but if you google "Kingstowne Striders" they are #1 on the results.

03-07-2010, 08:05 AM
Wow, yea moved here a few months ago, never even knew that group existed :). Maybe I can make this mornings run/walk. :p

03-07-2010, 08:18 AM
Missed it by 6 minutes. Boo :p I'll get in touch with them and run next weekend :)