Fitness writer and runner, Sandi Moynihan, recently stopped in at our DC Store for a run gait analysis and shoe fitting. Here are her impressions of how our staff fit her with the ideal shoe. Our free run gait analysis and shoe fitting is offered to every customer. Stop in to one of our locations for your own fit session!
Shoe shopping isn’t supposed to be stressful. But when it comes to looking for the perfect pair of running shoes that are comfortable, functional and fitting for your specific fitness routine, things can get a little complicated. There’s shoes for running. Shoes for weightlifting. Shoes for cross-training. How in the world is the average girl supposed to know what type of shoes are the best for her and her diverse fitness routine? Luckily, that’s where specialty running stores, like Potomac River Running, come in handy.
I like to think of places like Potomac River Running as a mecca for someone who’s looking to find their “Cinderella” athletic shoe. Their highly trained shoe experts take the guesswork out of selecting the proper athletic shoe by using a highly specialized shoe fitting process which centers on personalized gait analysis. In a matter of minutes, their shoe fitting experts hand-select up to three types of shoes specialty tailored towards your personal gait and activity level. In addition to helping the confused shopper like myself out, this fitting process is also perfect for anyone who might be suffering from aches and pains after working out in their current running shoes. See, when it comes to athletic shoes, it’s not a one-size-fits-all endeavor.
Different types of foot issues and gait types call for different types of athletic shoes. For example, people who over-pronate, or have feet that roll significantly inward when they run, may require a stability or motion control shoe. However, people who supinate, or roll their feet outwards upon landing, require a more neutral shoe. But without a proper gait analysis, people with any type of issue could be wearing an athletic shoe that might actually make their aches and pains worse!
If you’ve never visited a running store and had your own personalized gait analysis and shoe fittings, I’m telling you, one quick visit is all it takes to change the way you look at the role of athletic shoes in your workout performance. Not only is it simple and painless, but it’s actually a lot of fun— it’s like a mini runway fashion show starring you and your feet!
Last month, I decided to make a trip over to Potomac River Running’s new D.C. store at 919 F Street to talk to the shoe fitting experts so I could get some more details on all of the different steps of the shoe fitting process. After talking with my shoe fit expert, Samantha, and going through the 15 minute assessment, I was fitted in an awesome pair of shoes that I’m happy to say, I’m still loving and wearing right now!
What’s behind the shoe fitting process? Step 1 – Measure both feet for proper shoe size. It might seem simple, but getting a proper foot length and width measurement is the first step to finding the perfect shoe. I hadn’t been measured in years, and was actually surprised to learn that I was a true size nine and a half, and not a size ten and a half like I had thought. During my sizing, I also learned that most people tend to size too small for their running shoes, which can become a problem once they get moving. “Once you start running, your foot naturally slides forward within the shoe but also as you are doing, especially high intensity workouts, your foot will actually swell,” Samantha said.
Step 2 – Try on a neutral shoe. After getting my proper shoe size, Samantha handed me a neutral shoe, the Nike Free 5.0, to try on for sizing and gait analysis. Even if you need a stability or specialty shoe, starting with a basic neutral shoe for the gait analysis allows shoe fit experts to see the natural motion of your foot so they can better fit you in the type of shoe for your specific gait.
Step 3 – Hop on the treadmill to film gait. Once my Nike Free 5.0’s were laced up, I hopped on the treadmill for Samantha to video tape me running for about a minute. I ran at a quick jog pace — nothing too fast — and she filmed me from multiple angles using slow-motion capture technology.
Step 4 – Playback video for slow-motion for gait analysis . After we had finished shooting the last angle, I stepped off of the treadmill to see the slow-motion playback of my running gait. From multiple angles, we could clearly see that I was over-pronating upon foot strike and my feet were rolling inward. Samantha even had this cool software to draw lines onto her iPad so I could see my body’s different angles and analyze my entire running form. She even gave me some tips on what proper running form looked like.
Step 5 – Try on shoes . Now that Samantha knew that I was an over-pronator, she pulled three different kinds of shoes for me to try on that were all of different stability levels. The most stable shoe, the ASICS GEL-Kayano® 20 was a shoe that I had worn before. Samantha said it was a great shoe for pronators who want a supportive, cushioning shoe for long-distance running. She also gave me the Adidas Supernova Sequence Boost 7, the Brooks Ravenna 5, and the Nike Free Flyknit 4.0, which were various levels of stability. Samantha explained to me that these shoes were great for someone looking for a cross-training or weightlifting shoe because allowed for greater connection with the floor and more flexible movements. The Adidas shoes were especially fun to try on — they were so cushy, light and supportive, which was very different from the ASICS fit I had grown to love.
Step 6 – Hop back on treadmill to see improvement. With each of the pairs of shoes I tried on, I hopped on the treadmill, did squat jumps and ran around the store to see how they fit. The fit team really encouraged me to give them all a fair try before I made my decision. Each pair was different — it was so hard to choose! Whenever I did hop on the treadmill to see how they fit though, Samantha offered to re-film my gait so I could see how the shoes were helping me to not over-pronate. It was really cool to see the improvement, even with the less-intense stability shoes.
Step 7 – Pick one pair, purchase shoes and head out into the world! I settled on the Adidas Supernova Sequence Boost 7 and headed on my way!
The results? Initially, I was a bit skeptical to be walking out of the store with a pair of Adidas shoes in my hands. After all, I considered myself a die-hard ASICS girl. But after spending just a week running, jumping, squatting and cycling in the Adidas Supernova Sequence Boost 7’s that I was fitted for, I have to say, I’m quite impressed.
Not only are my new shoes much lighter than my higher-stability shoes, but they are springy, supportive and extremely comfortable and perfect for my HIIT workouts and cross training days. My feet don’t hurt at all, and I love wearing these shoes! And you know what? I would have never tried them on in the first place had I not made the trip to Potomac River Running Store to get my shoe fitting and analysis.