My tootsies roll. Apparently there’s a cure for that

I can count on one hand the pairs of sneakers I’ve owned in the past 15 years. Actually, half a hand. Up until a few years ago, my athletic shoes rarely did anything remotely athletic. (In fact, I’m not even sure why I had sneakers in the Before Time – pre-running – other than to have something to wear with yoga pants during my brief and tragic flirtation with Pilates in 2004. But that’s another story.)

Running shoes

I have owned three pairs of sneakers in the past 15 years. This is one of them. Scroll up to see the third pair, bought late last year after I started running.

There’s no denying that runners need great shoes. Expert types say sneakers should be replaced every 350-400 miles, depending on how hard you run. Considering my rate, current achievable distance, and tendency to walk when things get tough, that’s good news for my footwear budget!

But I have never had a proper sneaker fitting. And I figured if I am going to continue to masquerade as a runner, I should at least do it in appropriate trainers. I have a hunch that my old method of shoe selection – “I’ll take the pink ones” – was slightly flawed.

Shoes wisely

So Hubby and I visited Marathon Sports in Norwell, MA, along with members of his YMCA marathon training group, for a shoes/winter running apparel clinic (we had the store to ourselves!). Fascinating stuff. I thought I learned how to dress myself when I was little, but it turns out I know nothing.

We both had a gait analysis, which involved striding in socks across the store so the analyzer could observe what was going on with our tootsies.

It turns out we are both moderate over-pronators (we’re not special: 50-60% of runners do this). It means our feet roll too far inward as we move and our arches collapse, providing no support. (Alternatively, runners with a neutral gait only pronate a small amount, while supinators’ feet roll outward.)

Over-pronators are prone to injuries such as Achilles tendonitis, arch pain, knee pain, and hip and lower back pain. One of these I am very familiar with, and the others just sound nasty, so I figure I had nothing to lose by investing in a new pair of shoes.

I need some stability in my life

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11

My new Brooks sneakers. The gray bit on the inner rim is the extra stability to stop my feet from rolling inwards.

Because I am an over-pronator (sadly, not quite the same thing as an overachiever), I need shoes with extra support at the inner arch. So no minimalist footwear for me (and I was so hoping to move on to those freaky sneakers with the toes).

After trying on a bunch of different models and testing them on the in-store treadmill (excellent idea), I settled on the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11 for no other reason than they were the most comfy. Some of the prospects felt like they were giving my foot a wedgie (riding up the back), others like I was teetering on five-inch platforms (I don’t do heels).

I was sad they weren’t pink, but I’ll get over it.

They certainly look fast. Although I fear, as with my CW-X tights, I can’t possibly live up to their awesomeness.

Stay tuned to see whether or not I do.

I don’t want to sound like a shill for Brooks, but …

I am a sucker for clever design and marketing, and the box the shoes came in was so cute, I thought it deserved a shout-out.

Herewith (part of) the lid and under the lid. See what I mean?

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11

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24 responses to “My tootsies roll. Apparently there’s a cure for that

  1. I also got fitted at Marathon Sports, am also a mild overpronator, and also have the same Brooks Andrenaline GTS’s. That’s a lot of also’s!

    • Ha. At first I was suspicious of this over-pronation business, but once I did the research and discovered how common it was, I guess I came around. And it’s not like I wouldn’t have bought shoes anyway! I do like the folks at Marathon Sports.

  2. I run the same way! My friend works at Mizuno so I was able to get a sweet discount!

  3. While you’re faced with running info overload, have you (or your husband) looked into barefoot running? Many foot injuries came about AFTER the invention of the running shoe…bringing the increase in foot injuries which are why many non-runners think running is dangerous or unhealthy. The fact is that a shoe will never be able to “fix” things like pronation, which to a great extent is a natural part of running; the best is to find a shoe that has as little padding as possible (not many ‘barefoot’ runners actually run barefoot, a lot of us wear fivefinger shoes or another minimalist shoe).
    Wow, this is a long comment. I hope you look into it, though, and while you’re at it, the book Born to Run is full of great info about running, barefoot running, and the human body in general.

    • Thanks for the info! We have looked into it. Hubby is especially keen to try a more minimalist style, and in fact his shoes are entering that territory. I’m not sure about myself. I think I’m too much of a wimp to not have my feet surrounded by cushioning! But I definitely understand the science behind the barefoot movement, so maybe some day I’ll give it a try. And I certainly will read Born to Run. Thanks again for the comment! 🙂

  4. I have those same shoes! Love them

  5. Yay for gait analysis! I hope that it helps you and that your tootsies are happy in their new home.

  6. They’re called GTS. Can you get GT stripes through your hair and on your car to match? 🙂

  7. I recently changed to this shoe and like it a lot! I also pronate and I was looking for something really light and minimalistic. I like the fact that they weigh next to nothing and I can run on the balls of my feet.

    • Glad so many people seem to like this shoe! I’m with you on how light it is. I like that it weighs little but still offers that stability. I haven’t quite figured out my technique yet. Maybe these will help!

  8. you should try some minimalist shoes anyway. They will make your feet stronger so you won’t need shoes for over-(or under) pronating as much.

  9. My last 2 pairs of running shoes have been brooks. I love them. They are comfortable but not as cushioned as Asics which make me feel like I’m running on a pillow, sounds comfy but is weird. I agree about the box too! Good luck!

    • Thanks! Oooh, I think I’d like to run on a pillow! I believe you though when you say it’s weird. Anything associated with sleeping is probably not so good for running. 🙂

  10. Brooks Adrenalines made me into a runner–if I didn’t have them, I don’t think I would have ever started running happy!

    • That’s awesome! I’ll hope they’ll make me go farther, and maybe a little faster. I’d love it if they could also do something about my red face, but I guess that’s a bit too much to ask of a shoe …

  11. I love the part about the Run Happy revelation. 🙂 I want a box like that one!

  12. Say so long to Pretty kicks… u have to be kind to your feet and get the proper shoe now that u know better :). I’ve longingly coveted a cool pair of nikes knowing that they were never to be mine…as cool as they look they just don’t fit and sadly I must choose the right pair that fit not the ones the little fashionista part of me wants. Happy feet make for a happy body. Good choice!!!

    • I’m totally down with getting the proper shoe for my feet and body. I just wish they’d just make the ones I need in pink … or purple! Such a girl! (I think they do come in those colors, it’s just that the store didn’t have any and we were committed to buying there. Oh well, next time!) 🙂