health

What runner is right for me?

oops alyx

By ALYX GORMAN

I’m 26 years old, and I’ve been tying my shoes wrong my whole life.

Call me shallow, but I’m the kind of girl who’s always cared about looks.

Especially when it comes to my shoes. It doesn’t matter if they’re not the right fit for me – put a pair of good-looking shoes in my path and damn it, I’ll try to make it work.

I’ve lost two toenails to a pair of oxblood leather Marc Jacobs pumps. I’ve had my heel scraped off by a size-too-small Miu Miu brogue.

It’s been that way, ever since I was a kid. I remember fibbing repeatedly about which shoes felt best when it was time to put my rapidly expanding feet into a new pair of back-to-school sneakers.

Another thing you should know about me: I have kangaroo feet. They’re very long, and very, very thin.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by The Athlete’s Foot. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

choosing the right runners
I always had awkward feet.
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9 ½, A2 narrow. I learned that recently.

I learned that because, after thousands of blisters, I’d finally come to a tripping point. 

About six months ago, I started intermittent running on the treadmill at a nearby gym. With this style of training, you go full burst for 30 seconds, running as fast as you can. Then you jump onto the sides of the treadmill and rest for 30 seconds. On again, off again for around 30 minutes (okay, most of the time it’s more like 20).

It makes me feel great all over, except for one part: my feet. It burns them. After 10 minutes, they’re hot. After 20, it feels like they’re on fire. As if the treadmill is scorching through the rubber of their soles.

Impossible? Yes. But the sensation alone is enough to put me off running. So it was time to make a change.

That’s how I found myself back at The Athlete’s Foot. The place where I’d lied so often about what felt comfortable as a kid.

They’ve had a bit of a tech upgrade since I was 11 years old. The foot measurer is still there, telling me my kangaroo feet haven’t changed since I was 14, but it has been joined by pressure mapping and video technology. They can literally run you through a battery of tests in order to find the right shoe for you.

The second I walk in I spot the shoes I hope will be my sole-mates. A pair of fly knit Nike Frees in sunset colours. Like an orange juice spiked with grenadine.

They’re gorgeous.

But Charlotte, the lovely sales assistant who is putting me through my paces that day, informs me that they’re also about a mile and a half too wide for me and not suited for the kind of running I’m doing, anyway.

choosing the right runners
This is how you should tie your trainers.
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I look down at the sneakers I came in with. Nike Frees. The laces are pulled so tight the vamp (aka, that top bit in front of the laces) is literally buckling.

You don’t have to be an expert to tell that my sneakers don’t really fit me very well. And Charlotte is an expert.

When you’ve got kangaroo feet like me, your sneaker options are pretty limited. Seriously, there are four pairs of shoes (out of  – and this is just a rough guess –  a gazillion) in the shop that are my size.

But there is a trick to making too-wide shoes fit a little better. Charlotte teaches me. When you get to the top two holes in your shoes, instead of crossing the laces over, you pull them from one hole into the next, on the same side of the shoe. This creates a little loop. Then you cross the laces over, threading them into the loops you’ve made. It holds your foot far more firmly in place than traditional lacing.

Charlotte performs this feat on the sneakers I came in with. They’re still about a mile and a half too wide. But now my heel no longer slips out of them a little with every step. A miracle! I’m 26 years old, and I’ve been tying my shoelaces wrong my whole life.

This little trick is a bonus on top of the purpose of my trip. To get a pair of shoes that actually, you know, fit me.

I wind up with a pair of cobalt trimmed and wildly busy Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15 (narrow) trainers. Aesthetically they are… not my first choice. In fact, kid-me would have fibbed about how comfortable they were.

choosing the right runners
My new Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15 (narrow) trainers
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I dream of saying, “No mum, they hurt. Pass me the Frees,” even as I’m relishing the feeling of having the sides of my shoes actually cradle my feet. Even as I’m noticing that these sneakers fit so well, I can barely tell I’m wearing them.

So adult me, with my newly acquired laces-tying skills, is going to learn to suck it up.

In addition to being fitted with running shoes that actually fit, I’m handed a pair of special running socks. They’ve got labels for your left and right foot. These, I can get into straight away. No umming and ahhing about it. They are cute.

The next day I pull on my new sneakers and head to the gym. I take a deep breath and start to run full tilt. I’m ready to feel the burn. But it doesn’t come. My feet aren’t on fire. And I’m flying.

What is your favourite type of exercise?

Need a little more inspo to get to the gym? Check out our favourite celebs pre/post workout…

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logoThe Athlete’s Foot is Australia’s largest retailer of Athletic  footwear.  Visit one of our 138 locally owned stores – meet our team that value fitness and a healthy lifestyle just as much as you do.  Try FITZI, our exclusive fitting technology that uses over 4,000 pressure sensors to assess the perfect shoes for you feet.

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