I knew it was time for a new pair of running shoes when my big toes were almost peaking out of my sneakers. Being a plus size runner, I wanted to be thoughtful in finding the right pair of running shoes for the type of terrain and mileage coupled with style and trend. So, here’s my journey to finding the perfect pair of running shoes.
Last January, I purchased my first pair of running sneakers when I decided to train for my first half-marathon. I went to the See Jane Run store in Oakland, CA, which specializes in women’s running shoes and gear. The store was comfortable and not intimidating. The salesperson was knowledgeable, and asked me to walk barefoot for her to see how my feet landed when I walked. She asked me questions on the mileage I plan on running and any pains I may have. She suggested a shoe for high stability with firm midsoles that controls the overpronation of my feet. I chose the Saucony Progrid Stabil CS2 wide, and ran on the treadmill at the store and they felt super comfortable. After the first week of running, the arches of my feet were hurting. A friend said, it may be due to weak arches because I just started running. After a month of running, the shoes felt amazing! Seriously, my feet, calves, and shins never hurt from running with my first pair of shoes. I got through my first and second half marathon, running from San Francisco to Puerto Rico (not literally of course) with them. But, my knees still ached a bit when I ran. Alas, my journey to finding my perfect pair of shoes continues…
My lovelies, Saucony Progrid Stabil CS2
In the beginning of 2013, I decided to check out the Road Runner Sports store in Concord, CA. This store offers custom inserts, and exchange/returns on shoes within 90 days even if I ran outside with their VIP membership. This was appealing to me. I had a free consultation to find the perfect fit for my feet. The salesperson asked me step on a sensor pad which read how much pressure I placed on each foot while standing still, and digitally recorded my feet while I ran on a treadmill. It was a very through consultation. He showed me photos of my feet on the foot sensor, and it read that I put more pressure on my right heel compared to my left foot. Also, he said that I have normal arched feet, not flat feet (like I always thought). From the video, it showed that my feet pointed outward when I ran which may be the cause of knee and hip pains due to form. He suggested custom inserts that are molded against the bottom of my feet which can support, aid form, and may reduce pain.
Me standing on feet sensor pad @Road Runner Sports store
Watching a video of my feet on treadmill
Custom inserts getting warmed up to be molded
Inserts molded against bottom of my feet
It was interesting and very informative. He brought out a few pairs of shoes with the inserts for me to try on. I purchased the inserts and the Brooks Adrenaline GTS shoes that day.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS
I ran in the Brooks shoes with the inserts for 1 month, and found that my knees still ached and it felt too hard. So, I went back to the store and returned the inserts for a full refund (as long as it’s within 30 days), and got a different pair of shoes. The salesperson, Tiffany, who helped me on my second visit at Road Runner was extremely helpful and a fellow plus size runner. She understood some of the things I was going through, and recommended the Saucony which offers more flexibility with the same stability. She said that the Brooks shoes may have been too rigid with the inserts and didn’t offer enough flexibility whereas the Saucony brand runs a bit bigger and maybe better for wide feet.
Saucony Progrid Guide 5
So, I was kind of sold on the color as well as the feel of these shoes. It has only been 2 weeks since I got these shoes and so far the running has been good. My arches ache a bit from them, but I’m going to give it another 2 weeks before giving my final verdict.
All in all, I learned a lot about my feet, shoes, and running styles. Going to both See Jane Run and the Road Runner stores helped me better understand what type of shoes work for me. I think both stores offer very knowledgeable and friendly customer service. See Jane Run offered a women centered space that was welcoming and non-intimidating to the average runner with a good selection of shoes. The con of See Jane Run was that once you wear the shoes outside, then there’s no returns or exchanges. Road Runner Sports Store offered a very through consultation with advance technological tools to find your perfect fit. The VIP membership benefits offer the ability to exchange/return item within 90 days even after use. The con of Road Runner was that it is typically more expensive than See Jane Run.
Also, an article that was helpful to me during this process, Choosing a Shoe: The very basics. So, go out, check out running stores, try on shoes, and don’t ever feel obligated to buy or settle on just okay for your feet.
Good luck on your search for your perfect fit.