Of Running Shoes and Superheroes

Of Running Shoes and Superheroes

As a kid, I remember how important it was to pick out just the right pair of shoes. It would be that pair you would wear for the entire school year and you wanted them to be “Cool” and you wanted them to be “Fast”. Wearing those shoes the first day of a new school year came with a right of passage, to see who had become the fastest over summer break. We would dart around the playground, jet-powered shoes fully engaged, to prove we had gained some sort of superpowers over the past three months, that we were the fastest, that we were the best.

Funny how after forty-plus years, that desire to wear “Cool” shoes that make me run “Faster” is still alive and well. Entering my fourth season of running, I’ve purchased and worn quite a few pairs of shoes and recently decided it was time to try a new brand and style. These shoes were lighter, cooler and felt great while running up and down the little rubber street in the running shoe store. As I left with my new shoes in hand, I was excited, I mean really excited to try them out and discover just what Superpowers my new shoes would give me.

Shortly I was suited up, it was time to give my “magic shoes” their inaugural run. I could tell right away, things felt different. Different from the running store and different from the shoes I had been wearing for the past few seasons. Right around the one-mile mark, It happened, what seemed to be the feeling of twisting an ankle. I must have run over an acorn or something because my new shoes couldn’t be at fault, I was sure of that? I walked it off for about a half mile and finished the run at a slower than normal pace.

A few days later I was out for another short run, this time around the neighborhood and just a quarter mile down the road, that same shooting pain around my ankle. Something was up. Had I really sprained an ankle or was this new pain being introduced by my new running shoes? I decided to switch to my old shoes for the next few weeks and then decide what to do. After speaking with a few running friends, I discovered that the new brand of shoe I had recently purchase was known for being lighter but also provided less support and that the twisting of the ankle feeling was likely the result of less support in my shoe. Granted, there were runners seeking such a shoe but I was still learning the art of this sport and a shoe with more stability was probably a smarter choice in this season of my running adventure.

I wound up returning the shoes and going with the latest version of the shoe model I had been running in for a while. I chalked this up as a lesson learned when it comes to purchasing running shoes. My feet are one of my most valuable assets as a runner, taking the best care of them I can is a smart thing to do. Getting advice in selecting the right shoe for me as I started to run, got me into the right shoe, to begin with. Continuing to ask for advice by seasoned runners in staying with the right shoe had kept me running. When I ventured into the world of Superheroes and “Cooler”, “Faster” shoes on my own guidance, it led me away from smart running to experimental running and almost led to an injury.

My advice to fellow runners, be sure to get sound advice from experienced runners who can guide you on what shoe is right for your feet and running maturity. Let go of the need to wear the coolest looking, newest shoe unless you can afford the potential injury.

Run well, take care of those feet and listen to your body.

Greg Paskal
Lead Adventurer