Remember the Brannock Device?

When was the last time you had your feet measured for shoes?

I honestly can’t remember. Decades ago? I’m not even sure I’ve had it done as an adult.

There was a time when shoe salespeople did that. They took one of those metal things and measured for length and width. I can’t remember the last time I saw one of those in a shoe store. (FYI, it’s known as the Brannock Device.)

Now, when a sales person asks if you need help, they also ask, “What size are you looking for?” expecting us to know the answer. Heaven forbid that they’d have to touch our feet.

I remember the old-school shoe salespeople would measure, then bring out several styles of shoe, put each shoe on, then check the fit. Not just with the thumb “where’s your toe?” trick, but they’d squeeze the sides, tug for snugness. All of that.

And you left with great fitting shoes.

I bring this up because my newest running shoes, Asics Cumulus 16 (I’ve only logged 41 treadmill miles on them), hurt my feet. I assumed it was because the guy at Sports Authority talked me into these orthotic inserts for people with weak arches that cost half as much as the shoe, but now I’m wondering if it’s because I bought the wrong size.

They’re 2-1/2 sizes over what I think my size is. All my other shoes are a size larger and they fit OK. If you’re asking why I bought them so large, you’re guess is as good as mine. Call it a brain fart. Or ADHD “I want a pair of shoes these seem good lets get the hell outoutofhere” shopping.They seemed to fit snuggly in the store. And they still fit snuggly — my foot doesn’t slip in them. But something about them hurts my feet.

As an experiment, last night I dug out my nine-year-old pair of Brooks Beasts, just to see if there was a difference. They’re only a size larger than my suspected shoe size.

They fit like a glove. And were a heluva lot more comfortable than the Asics. They just didn’t have much “bounce” to them, but they’re nine, so that’s not surprising. Nine is 72 in shoe years, after all.

2016-05-13 16.52.27

A tale of two shoes, the new and the old.

So why don’t I just take the orthotics out of the Asics? Because I don’t have the original insert. The Sports Authority guy said, “Throw those out. The inserts manufacturers use are cheap crap.” And I listened and threw them out.

For the moment then, I’m stuck with over sized uncomfortable shoes or dead shoes. (I also have three pairs of Pumas, but those just LOOK like running shoes. They don’t offer the lateral support I need as an over-pronator.)

But come June 4th, the Fleet Feet in Brookfield is having the Milwaukee Running Expo from 8 am to 4 pm featuring booths for running shoe and nutrition brands where you can try on shoes, sample products, and get running advice from experts.

Fleet Feet is a running shoe store I only just read about in the May 2016 issue of “Runner’s World.” According to the article, Fleet Feet are still old-school about feet. They’ll measure your feet. They’ll watch your running style. Then they’ll come up with suggestions for the best shoe and make sure it fits.

Yes, you pay more, but they’re a full-service shoe store. Sure, you could buy much cheaper online, but these people, from what I’ve read, KNOW running. Their service goes beyond just selling you a shoe.

Disclaimer: I am neither affiliated with Fleet Feet nor have I even visited their store.

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