In with the new

For runners, what is our most exciting day?

OK, besides pizza day.

Right! Buying more equipment!

Today I struck gold, so to speak. I bought two pairs of new running shoes.

I went in not sure what I wanted, not even sure I was going to buy one pair, much less two. In fact, I went in just sort of thinking everyday walking shoes. But as I walked down the rows of running shoes, picking some up that grabbed my attention, flexing them in my hands to see how much give they had, and oohing and ahhing over the colors, I came upon a pair that this particular shoe store had never had before.

They had Hoka One One. (Someone told me that’s pronounced ohnay ohnay.)

Now to be honest, I’ve read about Hoka One One and they were never on my radar. Seems runners either love them or hate them. Plus, I was thinking more along the lines of another minimalist style pair of running shoes similar to the Puma Mobium I have that I like. Certainly not the exact opposite: a pair of maximal shoes. C’mon! They’re like 1970s disco platform shoes. It would be like being on stilts, or I’d look like Herman Munster! Who wants that?

But, for shits and giggles, I thought I’d try on a pair. I put them on, tied them tight, then jogged up and down the aisles.

Oh my! (You have to say that like George Takei to get the right effect.) They felt wonderful. I admit, I’m a heavy lander and these made it feel like I was running on a cloud. So I picked up a pair.

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Hoka One One Clifton 3

Another pair of shoes that attracted my attention were a pair of Adidas Alphabounce Engineered Mesh running shoes. I liked the feel of the sole, it seemed soft and giving, almost like the Hoka’s, so I tried them on as well. I did like them and was about to buy them when I saw the newer Brooks GTS Adrenaline 17. I’ve had my 16s for almost a year now and because they served me well, I thought, “What the heck? I’ll try these on.”

Well, one thing led to another as they say and I ended up liking them more than the Adidas, so I ended up purchasing the Hokas and the Brooks.

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Brooks GTS Adrenaline 17

So I came home with two new pairs of running shoes.

Maybe I’ll review them later after I’ve actually run in them a few times.

Run. Buy new shoes. Run some more.



Saturday shopping for shoes

Stopped in at Verizon today. The contract for our Motorola Droid Turbo smartphones was up and we were eager to be rid of them. Not that they are bad phones. No, I’d still say they were one of the best I’ve owned recently.

The problem with the Droid Turbo was the camera. It sucked. It suffered from digital lag, something I thought had been fixed over a decade ago with the second or third generation of digital cameras, but Motorola must not have gotten the memo.

So we got rid of those and now I have a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and my wife chose the Samsung Galaxy S7. Don’t ask me about it yet, I haven’t put it through it’s paces, but that’s because we went to the store next to Verizon.

If you recall, and if you do, I’m really surprised, a few blog posts back I mentioned that Fleet Feet in Brookfield was having their Milwaukee Running Expo. So we stopped by to see what was going on.

To be honest, I didn’t really have a chance to talk to any vendors or stop by the booths because one of their nice reps stopped us to ask why we were there. I mentioned that I was interested in a new pair of running shoes and was interested in their store because they actually measured your feet for an exact fit.

If you recall, my current pair of running shoes are a size 13, two sizes too big. Don’t ask, I can’t explain.

So he got out the Brannock device and measured both feet while sitting and while standing. (I was the one sitting and standing, not he.) Then, he put me on the treadmill and while I jogged, he took video of my stride. He then explained what was going on. I land on my heel, then my foot rolls toward the inside of my foot. He showed me how my heel and ankle and what was going on. He also pointed out my right foot tends to flatten out more, showing I had a bad arch there.

Then he brought out several pairs of shoes and let me try them on. But not only did I try them on, I could go outside to run or walk or jog or whatever until I got a really good feel for the shoe.

I tried on a Mizuno Inspire, which felt pretty good. Much better than my current Asics Cumulus 16. Second, he let me try a pair of Saucony Omni. They felt even better than the Mizuno. I was almost sold on those until I tried the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16.

Brooks GTS, Men

Brooks GTS, Men

Wow. They felt phenomenal. Then, he showed me these inserts that would help my arch keep from compressing. I know, I know. Didn’t the Sports Authority guy talk me into inserts that hurt my feet? Yes, he did. But this time, when the rep put them in the shoe and I was able to go back outside and run up and down the strip mall a few times, I was sold. They really did feel good. They hugged my foot and helped keep my arch from collapsing without any pain.

My wife also went through the process. She isn’t a runner. Not yet, but she does enjoy walking, so she came away with a pair of Saucony Guide.

Sure, we paid a little more for the shoe. If we wanted to, we could have saved a ton of money elsewhere, but we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near the same personalized service. And personally, I think it would be like taking advantage of their service to then go elsewhere.

In fact, one lady came in and the staff was like. “Oh, you’re back.” I guess she’d been in earlier in the week or something. Then she said to my rep, “I found a pair of the shoes you showed me for a lot less at a competitor. Don’t tell anyone.” Well, what’s he going to say? Probably what I was thinking, “You’re a rude bitch.” She came in acting like they were all her friend but then she had turned around and taken her business elsewhere, like the services at Fleet Feet are free.

Sorry, bitch, but they get a salary for what they do and the business has to pay for the time and equipment they use to determine your exact fit. Coming back in to buy a pair of socks is hardly the way you pay them back for all their fabulous help.

I will certainly be returning to them. They’re service and commitment to providing me with the best shoes and accessories deserve to be rewarded with my continued patronage.

Maybe soon, I’ll use their services to register for a race.

Oh, and I ran tonight in the Brooks Adrenaline and they were fantastic. They were snug and felt like a dream.

Thanks, Fleet Feet!



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.

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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.