Running by the dark inlaid window, Jim Schaft knows this much passing his rough, sturdy exterior in the dimly lit reflection. His running shoes are wearing down again. The only solutionÃ¢Â?Â¦time to get a new pair of shoes.
As Schaft’s quick run dims down to a subtle walk, he peers inquisitively at his left shoe and notices a strange object. His sock.
“Time to get a new pair of shoes I guess,” Schaft paces. “It seems every couple months I am replacing these things.”
Schaft knows what he must do, but like most runners, he dreads it. One of the hardest things possible for any runner is finding the right pair of shoes. This gut-wrenching, but somewhat liberated task compliments a tedious venture that will include, sizing, fitting and most especially, pricing.
There are hundreds of companies, which tout that they own the “best running shoe” you can buy. This fact is true. These companies do own the best shoes, but it is deciphering which of these “best shoes” will you buy. So the search begins, where to startÃ¢Â?Â¦well, first let us start with size.
Walking into most sports stores, you will find that they carry most sizes, but what if you aren’t considered, “most sizes”. Most stores will carry sizes from small child to around 12, but from there, most stores limit their selection because of cost-effectiveness.
Matt Wiley, a manager of a Dick’s Sporting Goods in Lexington, KY explains that it is not beneficial for any store to carry sizes beyond a 13.
“I usually am the bearer of bad news,” says Wiley. “Any store in most areas will not carry any sizes above 13. The only reasonÃ¢Â?Â¦there is just not enough people out there to buy them.”
Wiley says that most stores will not carry that size because the turnover in the store stalls when shoes sit. “They just don’t move.”
So where does Schaft go from here. Being a size 14, he turns to his only friend for help. The Internet.
“It really is a god-sent,” says Schaft. “Since the Internet came into play, I really have been able to pretty much find whatever size I want. They even come a little cheaper.”
Yes they do Jim. They come a lot cheaper. After doing a froogle search, a branch of Google, Inc., on a pair of Asics running shoes, the search brought about 34 different retailers and produced prices ranging from $65 to $119. The difference brought about a staggering reality to the retail market today. Almost 35% of consumers are purchasing their running shoes online versus an in-store location. A www.runnersworld.com survey done last year showed the shocking results just after the Christmas holiday. No one could be reached for comment at Runners World, but the survey did produce over 500,000 votes.
This means nothing to Schaft, but the elusive results have meant some dramatic changes in the retail outlet for consumers. Schaft, as he stated before, needs to buy a new pair of shoes every couple months. This is common for the everyday runners who usually log around 80 miles a week. Giving the circumstances, this can easily vary for most people.
There are a few key features that you should consider when purchasing a new pair of shoes. Besides price, which is usually the biggest, the list is as followed:
1.Comfort. First, you need to make sure you buy a “running shoe”. There are several brands and selections which say they are a running shoe, but commonly mistaken for as either cross-trainers or a suped up walking shoes. Once this is accomplished, go to a store and get sized. You may think you’re a certain size, but oh so often do people make the grave mistake of choosing a wrong size. Especially if you are a savvy Internet shopper, go to a store and get sized.
2.When shopping in-store, bring a pair of socks that you will use when you run. It is crucial that you do this. This could change the fit dramatically if you use various brands often.
3.Find an associate that knows about running. The salesperson is key to any questions you might have. Discuss with them your running history. Such variables as how long you’ve been running, miler per week, surface you run on, racing background and particular goals you might have.
4.If you are a new runner, don’t fall victim to the infamous advertising. Most high-priced shoes will not be of much service to a new runner if the “extras” are overdone. As a new runner, you will need cushioning and durability. Of course high quality shoes can run between $75 and $90, but bigger runners who need added support and durability might have to pay a little more.
5.You need shoes to fit and feel comfortable. Look for shoes that fit snugly (without being tight) and about a half-inch (or slightly less) room between the longest toe and the end of the shoes. Your toes should not feel cramped or squished. Your heel should not slip in the rear foot when walking or running. If one aspect of the fit is not right, don’t buy the shoe.
6.If you like a certain shoe and do not feel it is wide enough (or too wide), ask the salesperson if it’s available in more than one width. Many models are. New Balance offers all of its best running shoes in at least three widths for men and women.
7.Try on a variety of shoes. Both styles and brands. Take your time. Put your running socks on and walk around the store in the shoes. Jog around outside. If it doesn’t feel right in the store, it definitely won’t feel it once you run.
8.When you think you have it all figured it out, make sure you have a close second to compare it to. Be very tedious and scrutinize each choice. It is better to be sure than to be pretty sure.
9.Ask about a return policy. Most good running stores have a liberal policy, which allows you to return shoes that are clean and have not been worn a great deal. Just make sure you save your receipt.
10.And finally, if you are an online shopper, such as our friend Jim, be sure to go through all the steps above before you purchase your shoe online. Be sure to get sized properly and fitted for a correct style. It will save you down the line in a tedious return process.
There are always repercussions once you have chosen that correct shoe. It might be the best shoe you ever wore and could change your elusive running career. Or, it could be a complete bust and very much the victim of another wasted $80. There are no rights and there are no wrongs, but when it comes to buying the correct shoes, just do what Schaft does.
“Just wing it,” says Schaft. “Eventually you get it right.”
If you liked this article, check out,” Running Shoes: Get the Best Pair for Your Feet.”