So Confused About My Shoes

Today I was planning on doing 8 miles as my “long” run. I say “long” in quotations because I was originally going to do more than that before the shin splint issue, plus I used to run 8 miles as a mid-week run at times. But I did have a modicum of intelligence and knew I couldn’t/shouldn’t jump right back in with a 30 mile week.

I got in about a mile before realizing it was warmer out than I had initially thought and I didn’t want to wear my jacket. I tied it around my waist but decided to do a 3 mile loop back to my house to dump the jacket.

At my house, I did a quick self-scan to see how I was feeling. There was definite tightness in my legs, but not necessarily PAIN… so I decided to go back out. I did another 4.2 miles, making my whole total for the day 7.2. Not quite the 8 I had anticipated, but I’m okay with this total.

Upon conclusion my calves were super-tight. I’ve stretched and rolled them out, I’m feeling a lot better now, but I’m 99.9% sure I can tie this all back to my shoes. And this is where my major confusion comes in…

Over the past several months I have not been running in Brooks Adrenalines much. I have been wearing New Balance 769s and even more recently I’ve tested the waters with Nike LunarGlides. The local running store that fit me in the Adrenalines said that my shin splint issues are probably due to the fact that I’ve lowered my stability level some.

My gut feeling is that I got shin splints from doing too much. I got a little over excited about every run feeling so fantastic. I ran faster than I probably should have and I ran further than I should have at times.

I’ve had shoe fittings from 3 different sources over the past 2 years, 2 of which put me in neutral shoes. But my favorite running shop put me in stability. The owner recommended that I get back in a higher level of stability again now that I can ease back into running. The first time they put me in NB shoes, they had me use a Superfeet insert to get the shoe to the same stability level as the Brooks. I ran with the insert a couple times, hated it and took it out. But thinking I’d heed their advice now, I put the insert into my 769s to run today.

Ugh… I HATED it, with even more fire and fury than the first time I tried them. It made every footfall feel heavy, like there was no recoil or spring in my foot. The best way I can describe the feeling is if the ground was metal and the shoe was a magnet, attracted to the ground and difficult to pull up again.

So I’m not sure what I should do.
– I’ve never LOVED my Adrenalines… never had that AHA! moment when putting on a pair of them. Plus the pair that I have now has about 350 miles on them anyway, so they’re getting past their prime.
– My NB 769s (that I got free from my NB trip) have about 220 miles on them.
– The Nike LunarGlides have about 30-50 miles on them, so they’re pretty new.
– Runner’s World recent shoe guide specifically mentions that neutral shoes are good for people with a mid-to-forefoot strike, which I have.

Do I get neutral shoes? Do I stick to Adrenalines because the only real issues I had with them is that 4 of my toenails turned black (even though my toes weren’t slamming against the top of the shoe and this is something that is finally healing now that I’ve had a hiatus from them)? Do I use the LunarGlide cause they’re relatively new and have a mild amount of stability? Do I just give up and go barefoot? šŸ˜‰

25 comments

  1. Think about trying a less is more approach. There’s a reason people are looking at running shoes in a different light these days, they are tired of getting hurt. Have a read through Born To Run if you’re interested. Or check out some of the barefoot/minimalist sites o the web. Regardless, I hope you start to feel better.

    • Rob: It’s interesting that you bring up Born to Run, because that’s exactly the reason I started to seriously consider a more minimal approach. The stories and research in that are very compelling.

      • I concur! My Vibram Five Fingers and the Born to Run theory that I learned while researching them are what brought me to purchase the LunarGlides and to concentrate on listening to my body and placing a lot of focus on my form.

          • Walking around on man-made surfaces… OW (on the ball of my feet). On the trail, any distance, WITH socks… I love them and do not feel any additional strain. I found out that socks would be required the hard way = blisters. The pace is a bit slower in the Five Fingers but they really allow me to fully enjoy the real reason why I run on the trails… to connect with nature and to go squish in the mud (my favorite part of wearing them). I have also gained stronger feet and ankles as a result. Would I ever consider racing in them? Only if it was a special Five Finger race were all competitors were outfitted in them. Oh! That sounds like an awesome idea. hmmm…

  2. Hi Jill, I have had a similar experience with shoes (although, not insert or orthotics). I have visited my local running store and the folks there are super… they really are. The first time I went in they had me do the little treadmill/camera thing and suggested Saucony ProGuides. I tried them and was disappointed, but kept on running in them thinking that if the specialty running store had prescribed a stability shoe for my overpronation, then I should wear them. Next, I began doing a lot of trail running. So I stopped into the same store and they happened to gift me a pair of NB 910’s as demo shoes (free!) for me to try. I was elated and found them to be so nice that I never looked back to the uncomfortable Sauconys. I love the low profile-ness that allows me to feel like I am in contact with the ground I’m running on and I found the minimalistic cushioning to be just fine (as you’re not supposed to pound the pavement when you run). When it came time to search for new shoes again, I almost cried! I went back to the same store and the sales staff did their little treadmill/camera thing again. This past time they “prescribed” Asic Gels GT2150. I ran in them once, immediately returned them for a full refund and bought a pair of LunarGlides from FinishLine.com. (Even though the lovely sales people at the local specialty store told me that the LunarGlide would not provide enough support for me). Well, I gotta say… running on the LunarGlides is amazing! I love the just-right support, light feel and roominess. They are perfect for tempo, speed work, fartleks, racing… whatever I throw at them. In conclusion, listen to your feet and legs. They don’t lie. I don’t think that the sales guys and gals are trying to rip us off or anything… they just don’t run on our legs and feet. Run on! Run strong! Run long!

    • I think that’s a very wise statement, about how others can only try their best but they’re not running on our legs. I’ve actually been a little hesitant to run in my LunarGlides too much because of the “warnings” about them not being enough support. But I appreciate hearing your experience with them, it sounds positive!

      • Supports:
        As for support…see any supports here? http://z.about.com/d/dc/1/0/m/R/aqueduct.jpg

        Supporting an arch makes it weaker, not stronger.

        Sales:
        Sales folks are still selling stuff, and they are only selling what they are taught. Follow the formula, prescribe the right type of shoe. The problem is, who wrote the formula? People who are looking out for you, or people who are looking to make money?

        If you keep getting hurt, there’s no miracle shoe that’s going to cure your ailments. Perhaps relying on your own body is the best approach?

        My suggestion, less is truly more:
        http://shodless.com/how-to-start-running-barefoot/beginning/

        It may come across as zealotry, but at the end of the day, I’m not selling anything, just encouraging the questing of preconceived notions.

        Again, best of fortune healing up.

        • I agree, the segments in Born to Run about arch support are compelling. And I wasn’t mentioning “arch” support specifically… I was more meaning general terms of support and stability, things I’ve been told I “need” in the past! šŸ™‚

  3. My suggestion is no inserts – you should be able to do everything your foot needs in a pair of shoes, and not have to add to it. If you’re getting different advice from the running store you may be able to shoot a video or some photos of yourself running, and we’ll be able to give you a big group consensus on your pronation level!

    • Oh yeah, I agree about no inserts. That’s probably why I took them out after a couple runs last January… and then hated them again today. In fact, they went straight into the trash after today’s run because I was so angry at them. Maybe a bit dramatic… but that’s how I felt!

      I love the idea of video/group consensus on pronation. I think that could be fun for all kinds of things… You may have just opened everyone up for more video footage of me! šŸ˜‰

  4. well…having had MANY issues with my feet, and having crazy feet….I have found what works for ME! Not everyone will agree but I am running pain free! And that is huge for me!

    I do run in orthotics! Not superfeet but orthotics that my sports podiatrist made for my feet. They are for running. With that said, I now only run in Nuetral shoes because I don’t need anything else. Now, I agree, you should be able to run with nothing-but if your feet are anything like mine-running was PAINFUL! I’ve had so many injuries and have had prolotheraphy done on my left foot because of the lack of tendon and ligament strength in my feet.

    I am a bit of a midfoot, forefoot striker. I’ve wanted to try Newtons-but alas I wear a womens size 12, a skinny size 12, and they don’t make Newtons in womens 12….so I have had to adapt to what I have available and what works the best for me in the conditions that i live in and run in!

    So I run in orthotics with Asics Gel Nimbus. I have embraced alternative medicine and am a huge fan of prolotheraphy to improve the tendons and ligaments in my feet-it has been a miracle for me!

    You should have your gait analyzed-I would recommend seeing a podiatrist,one that is a sports related podiatrist! They do feet! that is their thing!!

    • Okay, you’re right… some people truly do need some kind of insert/orthotic. And I’m really glad you’ve found what works for you. Prolotherapy sounds interesting. I did a search but didn’t find any Las Vegas providers, but that was just a very fast query. I like alternative treatments as well and learning more about those types of options. If I feel like I’m not getting any improvement or relief, I will need to look into something further and I hadn’t thought of seeing a podiatrist. Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll have to keep that tucked in the back of my mind (or saved on the blog in comments!) if troubles continue.

  5. I have no advice, other than to say that I **REALLY** did not like the Superfeet stability inserts. They gave me terrible back pain, which I never really get.

  6. Hi Jill (and readers),

    I have an idea regarding “So Confused About Shoes.” Unless one has been sleeping for the past 12-18 months, there is a huge trend in the market toward the theory of “less is best.” Natural motion or minimalism is a concept which directly challenges the existing running industry paradygms of motion control, stability and extreme cushioning. It is slowly being represtned by many companies in many ways; Nike Free, Newton Gravity, Vibram Five Fingers and BIOM by ECCO are just a few of the concepts out there.

    BIOM is unique in that it is the ONLY running shoe made by a direct inject process (directly attaching the midsole to the upper without the use of cement) and uses a PU midsole instead of EVA. This makes for a shoe which will offer at least 50% more miles than existing running shoes. In addition, BIOM has many other minimalist features and benefits; it is built on an anatomical last, has a very low profile, has extreme flexibility & torsion, utilizes a very rounded heel, is made in a yak leather version and has no posting/stability/motion control technology but instead offers natural support to the foot’s muscles and ligaments. BIOM is NOT for everyone as the current BIOM A and BIOM B models are built for fairly effectient runners. It is not as minimal as Vibram Five Fingers. But, it is an innovative new running concept being made by a small European manufacturer who does not outsource production and specializes in footwear making.

    BIOM is currently being carried in 50 premiere running specialty stores across the US like Luke’s Locker & RunTex in TX, Boulder Running Company in CO, Movin Shoes in CA and many Fleet Feet stores.

    See what Runner’s World has to say about their newest BIOM C product launch on the attached link. http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-240-367–13314-0,00.html

    David

    • I remember when I first started to hear rumblings about the Biom. I signed up on Ecco’s site in hopes of being selected as a pre-release tester… No such luck! They definitely sound interesting! And expensive!

  7. Jill… I am nearly as confused as you. I was also advised to use stability shoes and chose the Adrenalines. A year or so later, I decided to do the testing etc. at the running store and they told me neutral. I ran in the Mizuno Waverunners for a few weeks and took them back and exchanged them for Adrenalines. I have never had real problems with them (no black toenails), so I have stayed with them. I did have shin splints, but they usually went away after getting new shoes. Now that I am getting ready to increase my mileage again, I am nervous.

    I do have to second what Penny says. I recently met a runner who is several years older than I am and has run a long time. He told me that he used to get shin splints. He went to a podiatrist, got custom orthotics and hasn’t had them since. His podiatrist specializes in runners. I might try getting some orthotics myself.

    Good luck on your quest.

  8. I have to admit, I don’t know what to tell you on this one. What about another stability shoe other than the Adrenalines? I use inserts but not the Superfeet ones – I can look and then drop you another comment. They are inserts that I felt the first few times I used them but after that, my pain, if there was any, went away, and actually they’ve taken away a lot of pain I used to have underneath the balls of my feet after running just a few short miles. For the record, I’m glad you didn’t jump right back to the 30 miles per week!

  9. I am definitely into to minimalist running theories that are out there. I truly enjoyed Born to Run and have been running totally barefoot a couple times a week at one of the parks near me. I think that it has actually made my feet stronger at least minimally at first as I have only been working on this about a month now. I love the feel of it as well. One of the comments above talked about getting back to nature and that is exactly the feeling I get.

    I would love to try a pair of the Biom shoes and have been considering buying a pair.

    As far as your shoes, I think you need to stick to/or find what works for you. You know how I feel about the whole shoe thing and am thankful that I finally found the Mizuno’s that I really like.

  10. I wear Brooks Adrenalines and love them. I seriously overpronate and I really like these shoes. Recently the guys at my running store put inserts in because I was still having some problems with my knees and they said it would help. I gave them a real shot…I really did. Yesterday I threw them in the trash 2 miles into my run. I hate them!!!!!

    This probably doesn’t help, I just thought I would share my pain!

  11. i used to run in adrenalines and then i switched to asics kayanos… they are stability plus though so i dont know how you feel about that, but i LOVE LOVE LOVE the shoes. they have made me feet and legs very happy since i started to run in them. they have a lot of cushion which i love and just fit really well. hope you can figure it out though, shoes are very important to us runners!

  12. Hi-
    I agree with what some of the others are saying. I thought I was going to have to stop running because of all my pains, then my husband found Pose Running. It is minimalist running similar, if not the same, as mentioned in Born to Run. You can go to http://www.posetech.com. Since I have started the pose technique I have no more knee to shin pain; same is true for my husband and sister in law. It takes some time to perfect, we are still fine tuning. If you want Pose running in a nut shell…..take off your shoes and run to the mail box or down the road. You will find you are on your toes. ..that’s it. It is the heel striking that we have learned to do with regular running that causes the pain issues. We do all still wear shoes but very low profile shoes. Good luck!

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