Tyler’s First Running Shoe Fitting

Two weekends ago Tyler and I headed down to Norfolk so he could get fitted for some new running shoes. He was very hesitant at first, but in the end he went and now we are a happy Newton family.  I asked him to tell me about his experience so I could give another first hand experience on the importance of getting properly fitted for running shoes…and promote my favorite running store, Running Etc!

The dude behind the story

The dude behind the story

The details, by Tyler:

“I should start this by saying I have resisted having my gate evaluated for a long time.  I started my running career in 5 Fingers because I came to the party late.  I have migrated to other shoes that have more cushion because though I like my five fingers, especially on trails, over time and distance you hit enough chestnut shells and you grow to appreciate some cushion between you and the road.  I had been rotating between the Brooks Pure Connect, 4mm drop, and the Mizuno Evos, 0mm drop.  I really enjoyed the Mizunos and had some great runs in them but last August I started getting pain around my heel following longer runs, greater than 3 miles.  I went to a running store looking for a new shoe because I assumed my Evos had run their course.  I had been running a majority of my runs in these shoes for 7 – 8 months but had not been keeping a log.  I had seen comments from folks that minimalist shoes can wear out sooner so I assumed that it was just time to replace these.

Last August, Stacey and I were in the Valley Forge area for a race and we went to the Valley Forge Running Company and had a great experience.  After talking over the minimalist options they had in the store I ended up going with a pair of Saucony Virratas, also a 0mm drop shoe.  They had a better feeling sole compared to the Mizunos and they were founded in Pennsylvania and I wanted to support my home state.  I know this is a bad idea, but I ran 15 miles on them right out of the box and they were great.  I have done this before too, which you can get away with more easily with a minimalist shoe.  I have been running on them consistently for the last seven months, but again, not keeping a mileage log and not doing nearly the distance I had been prior to when I bought them.

Last month when I started getting the same heal pain, I was justifiably confused.  The shoes certainly had treadwear but not the kind of mileage that they should be worn out (less than 200 miles) and the fact that this had happened twice now, I gave in and decided to get a gait analysis done.  Stacey and I went to Running Etc because they had done such a good job with her.  We got there bright and early when they first opened, mostly because Stacey had to lure me with the promise of an espresso drink from a great local coffee shop next door.  I should say I am not a fan of public evaluation, which is part of my reluctance to get my gait checked.  But as before the store staff there was great.  I started working with two gentleman and they had me run in my shoes and barefoot.  I got the okay that my stride was good, with a neutral forefoot strike.  One of the guys started to think is Plantar Fasciitis, and had me try on a Saucony with a more traditional sole and a 10mm drop.  Coming from a minimalist background this shoe felt like I was running with a pillow tied to my foot.  He also recommended the Brooks Ghost, but I had actually had experience in those before and it was not good.

At this point, the same guy who had fit Stacey walked by and over heard me describing my heel symptoms and the fact that they only happen during and after a run.  He mentioned that he had the same problem when he ran in low drop shoe after he had taken a break from longer distances.  What was happening is that my heel muscles and Achilles muscle were fighting each other and rubbing across my heel bone.  He showed my some stretches and recommended rolling my calf with a stick roller and my inner foot and heel with a Rubz ball after each run.  He also suggested putting a half insole in my shoes to raise up my heel for the time being until my muscles got reconditioned.  What was great was they took the time to listen to what was going on and got as many details as possible.  That resulted in a good “diagnosis” and treatment recommendations, instead of suddenly try to put me in a new shoe.  I could have walked out with just the orthotic and been just fine.

That being said I did have it my head that I was going to get a new pair of shoes.  I really wanted to start clean and start keeping a proper mileage log.  Also, I had been bitten by the Newton bug and after Stacey’s results with hers was very curious to try them for myself.  So, they selected a pair of Newton Gravity III’s and put the orthotic in as well and they have been great.  I was able to run 6 miles in them with no heel pain and they are very light on my feet.

Newton Gravity III

Newton Gravity III

I can’t say enough about the Running Etc. staff and how professional they are.  I was never made to feel embarrassed or treated like a novice.  They took the time to listen and understand my issue, and though they did recommend shoes I was never pressured into buying a shoe especially after the $15 orthotic was presented as a good solution.”

There you have it, another great shoe fitting experience.  I was there and heard bits and pieces of this conversation between Tyler and the staff, but I was talking to another staff member about running trail/area recommendations in the area.  I hope this puts those who are hesitant/embarrassed to go get fitted for shoes minds at ease. :)