I didn’t think the day would come, but I finally bought my first pair of “real” running shoes. After getting out of my comfort zone with a few a 5K’s, I have found myself signing up for 10K trail runs, quarter marathons (twice), a 15K and an upcoming Spartan Super. Not sure what happened, but I have been enjoying the challenge of these longer distance runs. Knowing my Reebok Nanos weren’t cutting it anymore, I needed to find some shoes that were more specific for these longer distance events.

Luckily some members at CrossFit HAP enjoy these types of events as well and had some advice for me on where to start. I could have started with google, but I was afraid I’d get stuck in a deep, dark rabbit hole where fads rule and knowledge is bare. Two things that I heard the most were Runner’s World and RunOn in McKinney. I found an article titled Best Running Shoes on Runner’s World which had a ton of information. I dug in to that until I could make it into RunOn on the weekend. RunOn in McKinney was definitely a needle in a haystack!

Welcome In, You N00B

I’ve only been into a running store for random packet pickups, so I was a tad nervous. Was I going to be called out as a n00b and laughed out the door? Luckily, that wasn’t the case. The lady who meet me was extremely helpful, knowledgeable and allowed me to ask all my dumb questions. I started the conversation by telling her what I said in the first paragraph, then we talked about their process for finding shoes. After I told her all that sounds awesome, let’s do it, she placed me on their FitStation. Apparently my feet are neutral (new to me), size 10 feet (I knew that), I have a slight heel rotation on the right foot (3 ankle surgeries), a high left arch and a medium right arch. The difference in my arches could be from physiology differences post ankle surgery or I could have always been that way. 

I asked about the differences in arches for shoes and she said start with the shoes as they are. As I run more, if I happen to have foot pain on one and not another, I may need to have different inserts. Since I’m neutral, she didn’t think I would have a big issue with the different height arches.

Trying On Shoes

The shoe trying process was different for me. She brought three pairs and I tried one of each, but two different models at one time. This was so I could feel the difference in the shoes more directly, which in the long run I definitely felt between the two models I was trying. I don’t remember the exact models, but the three brands were Adidas, Saucony and On. They had a treadmill I could run on. I would’ve liked to run outside as well, but it was pretty wet from rain. After some moving and shaking in the shoes, I picked the Adidas over the Saucony’s, but it was a close call (I struggled here). Then the Adidas over the On’s, though I thought the On’s looked different and fun. I then ran in the Adidas as a pair on the treadmill and felt happy I had made the correct selection. 

Interesting learn for me was on sizing for running shoes. Two pairs were 11’s and one was 10.5. She said since I was running longer distances, I would have significant foot swelling. Because of this, I needed to wear a bit bigger shoes to have room for the swelling. Mind Blown!

Lets Talk Price

I didn’t ask about prices before I thought I had a winning shoe in my sites. I didn’t want the price to get in the way of me picking what I thought was the best shoe. Of course, the Adidas Solar Boost was the most expensive of the three, sitting right at $160. The Saucony’s were $120 and the On’s were $130. Thinking back, I should have tried the Saucony as a pair just to be sure. I was originally pretty torn between Adidas and Saucony’s, I might have saved some money. 

In the long run, I bought the shoes right then and there. My original reason to go into the store was for knowledge and to start the process of learning about running shoes. The saleslady was just so nice, so knowledgeable, and took a lot of time working with me that it was more than worth making sure they got my money for the sale. It could of been easy to know what shoe was best and go buy it online. In fact, I found the same shoe on Amazon for $40 cheaper. But I know I wouldn’t of gotten to that shoe trying to do all my own research. I might have gotten lucky with my own research and online purchase, but that’s why subject matter experts and brick and mortars exist. So thank you RunOn Mckinney for the help. I look forward to updating everyone on how my 15K Hot Chocolate run goes on February 8th in Dallas. Oh, and then the Spartan Super once we make our way to May.

First long run in the Solar Boost’s. Went good, barely thought about the shoes.