Running has always been a huge part of my life.
I started playing soccer at a very young age, and continued to do so competitively until I was 18. I was a midfielder, and that position requires you to run back and forth down the length of the field for pretty much the entire game. It was tiring, but the endurance I built up over time made me feel strong and healthy. It wasn’t until after I ran cross country my senior year of high school that I finally came to a realization – I love running.
There’s a certain release I get from running… it’s freeing and exhilarating. Once I get in a groove, my mind starts to wander, and I finally have time to just think. Running is my form of meditation, and it allows me to let go of any stresses or worries. I would rather run outside on the city streets or in a park than inside a gym – going outside to work out and breathe in the fresh air makes me feel alive, and makes me feel good.
No matter what though, I have to be comfortable, and having the right pair of shoes is crucial when it comes to running. If you aren’t wearing the proper shoes to fit your foot shape, you’re more prone to injuries and you may end up causing damage later on down the road. Finding the proper store that is knowledgeable in fitting people is the first important step. Philadelphia Runner is my go-to store for everything running, so I reached out to Ryan, their Outreach Director, to get some more info on choosing the right shoe.
Can you tell us a little bit about your job at Philadelphia Runner? How long have you been working there?
I am the Outreach Director at Philadelphia Runner. I oversee our community outreach and plan events to keep the Philly running community active and healthy. I’ve been here for 4 years.
Has running always been a part of your life?
Not at all! I started my senior year of college because I was sick of feeling sluggish and out of shape all the time.
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What is the biggest problem you see customers complaining about when it comes to running shoes and not having the proper shoe?
There isn’t really one common issue. Runners get foot issues for all sorts of reasons and the shoes are often the culprit. Shin splints, blisters, sore knees/back are all issues that runners get when they are not in shoes that are a right fit for them.
What is the first thing you ask people when they come into your store looking for a pair of shoes?
What are you training for? This question determines so much. A person doing Cross Fit is going to be in a different shoe than a marathon runner even if they have similar types of feet.
What are the basics when it comes to finding the right shoe?
We look at a lot of things, but the most important is how your foot acts when it’s in motion. Some feet flatten, some feet stay nice and rigid, others show a lot of arch movement. Shoes are designed for various types of feet so we want to look at how your foot performs when you run and walk to determine the type of shoe that is going to fit it properly.
Are there certain types of categories when it comes to picking out a shoe?
The two broad categories are stability and neutral which is determined by the arch type, but within those categories is a huge spectrum that relies on other variables to determine the right shoe.
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How can you tell if it is a proper fit?
Does it feel good? Do your toes have space? Does the arch and ankle fit comfortably in the shoe? Those are the most important things to be mindful of.
What would you say is the most important thing to consider when searching for the proper shoe?
How do you want to feel when you run? Fit is important but you have to be happy. If you want to run fast and free, then look for something lightweight. If you pound the ground hard and you want to lace them up and forget about it, get a pair of shoes with a good layer of cushion and support. It’s about having a good time so find the pair that is going to let you do that!
What are some signs that you might be running in shoes that aren’t right for your foot?
Most aches and pains that linger are the result of a shoe that isn’t the right shoe or over training. Take some time off and if the body still doesn’t feel right, then it’s time to look for a new pair.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to start running, what would it be?
Just run. I spend more time agonizing over going on a run then I do actually running. Put on your favorite song and take that first step out the door. The rest is easy.
You heard it from a man who knows his stuff – a big thanks to Ryan and Philadelphia Runner!
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