Thursday, January 31, 2008

Splurge on Sneakers

If you...

...bought your last pair of sneaks because they were cute...(Hel-lo? Puma was having a sale?!)...
...haven't replaced your sneakers in 3 years...
...buy all your shoes at DSW or Kohl's according to what's on sale...

...I'm worried about you.

Buying sneakers is not the time to be cheap. I know it is tempting to roll into an outlet store and pick out something inexpensive and trendy. But logging miles in shoes that are a poor fit for your feet (or pounding away on worn out sneaks) is an invitation for aches, pains, and even injuries that are otherwise preventable. Every few months I start to feel tight in my lower back and hips, and I know it's time for a new pair of shoes. 

One tip to keep in mind is that sneakers need to be replaced every 300-500 miles. Yes, they go bad. Mileage is probably not a realistic way to gauge when we're up for sneaker renewal since many people are using gym equipment like the Elliptical machine and probably all of us, except for runners, aren't journaling exercise results. A rough estimate is to replace shoes every 3 months for those who are very active (exercise 5-7 days/week) and every 6 months for those who are less active (exercise 2-3 days/week). To preserve the life of your shoe, try to limit the time you wear your workout sneaks to when you are exercising.  

My best advice: Consult the experts when you buy shoes. Two stores that come to mind are Philadelphia Runner and Bryn Mawr Running Company. Staff members here will consider your arch type, your gait, and the tread on your previous shoes to individualize the pair that is right for you. You might pay $20 more for your shoes, but these companies will have the knowledge to put you in sneakers that are aesthetically appealing and preserve your health.

3 comments:

momster said...

I wish I could buy the shoes at Kohl's or DSW that I pay premium prices for at running stores because I do shop at those places and the prices are great but of course the "better-for-your-feet" shoes are never there. My theory is that manufacturers don't overrun the "serious" shoes to sell to discounters because they don't need to. The expensive shoes sell best in specialty stores with staff that makes sure they fit not just your feet but your lifestyle. And there's that injury-prevention thing too. That doesn't mean I won't keep looking in Kohl's for my Gel Cumulus Asics...but no luck to date.

On another note, I just finished Mindless Eating which I think should be must reading for everybody. The last Appendix alone blew me away with the solid advice and practical approach to managing our eating. Entitled "Defusing your diet danger zones" it was 10 pages of practical help worth the price of the book. Thank you for reviewing this important book.

DanD said...

It is true about sneakers. I can always feel when my body is telling me "yo - get some new sneaks - these old ones are tired, and fading - get some new ones, & make them look sharp and fabulous!" - hmmm, well, you get the idea.

Abramorous said...

yeah, i actually had a really bad experience this in college. my freshman year, i ran varsity track, sprinting, even though i had never run in high school (go division III schools where anyone can walk onto the team). so i had no idea that sprinting two hours per day 6 days per week in basketball shoes (which weigh a good twice what running shoes weigh) was a bad idea, and within three weeks i had shin splints that made it hurt to walk to class. when someone on the team learned that i was running in basketball shoes, she made this really hideous gasping noise.

anyway, a question: let's say a hypothetical person has a pair of running shoes and only puts on a few miles every couple weeks. do the shoes go bad in time, even though they may only accumulated 100 miles or less?