Fleet Feet

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Fleet Feet
604 Washington St
Hoboken, NJ 07030
(201) 533-1200

I started my interval training, and I noticed that my shins (in both legs) were getting very sore by the fourth week of running. I made sure I was stretching right, targeting my hamstrings, quads, glutes and calves before and after each run. Yet, I still found that I was plagued with shin splints, and remembered that when I ran track (briefly) in high school that the same thing would happen but eventually they would go away.

Of course that was 20 years ago, and it didn't seem to be getting better as I ran. I took the last week off from running, and did some on line research. Aside from HOW I ran, and HOW I stretched, many sites also mentioned that your running shoes could be the culprit.

My Nike shoes were in good shape, but I bought them about 4 years ago when I first joined Club H, and really just didn't do much research into the shoes. I figured they were by Nike, they were running shoes, and they cost over $100 - so they must be good.

Little did I realize that there are many factors that go into buying the correct running shoe, and we all have different biomechanics and foot shape that affect what shoes we should wear. There were online sites that had various recommendations to guide me, but most said the same thing: "visit a biomechanics expert or experienced shoe retailer" when choosing a good running shoe.

I orginally wanted to just figure it out myself, and buy something online, and asked a friend what were his running shoes. He said "Asics. I buy them at Fleet Feet, I think they take the time to fit your foot properly...my wife swears by them, plus it's a small business in Hoboken providing something different, I like to support that stuff."

Last night, I stopped by the store, which was located on 6th and Washington to see if they could help. I was greeted by the employee, and he asked if he could help - and started to talk to him about running, my running style and what I was looking for (including my problems with my shins). He listened to what I had to say, and I told him that I was interested in Asics (Nimbus-10 to Cumulus-10), and he agreed that Nimbus were a good brand to look at, but first said we should measure my feet and see how I walked.

I have always been the same side shoe over the years, but what I didn't take into consideration was the flexibility of my arch. A "normal" foot has an arch, which also gives (flexes) when you put weight on it. Some people have flat feet, which is when there is no arch to the foot, and others have high arches.

There's also pronation, which is the rolling motion of the foot from heel to toe and you can determine pronation by the wear on the rubber sole of your shoes. Neutral is an even roll, Underpronation is when the outside of the foot absorbs more weight and overpronation is when the inside of the foot takes the majority of the weight - and the wear of the insides or soles of your shoes will help determine this.

These were things that I never really considered when buying a running shoe. I figured shoes were shoes, and it was a bit of an eye opening experience. After working with Shawn, who later I found out was the owner of the store, he knew which shoes would work for me, and we tried on a bunch of shoes from Brooks, Asics and Mizuno. He showed me one model of each maker which were the "intermediate" shoes and one model which were a bit more "advanced".

I had six pairs of shoes in front of me, and I tried on each shoe, feeling how the length and width of the shoe fit my foot. I found that the Asics were a bit more narrow than I liked, but very soft on my feet. The Brooks were good, but I wasn't super impressed. By the time I tried on the Mizuno, I felt like my feet were leaping off the ground and ready to run.

I was even encouraged to try a "test run" with the shoes, and I walked outside, and ran a half block down Washington street, stopping at East LA. The shoes felt really good, and I wanted to go running right away!

I went back to the store, and asked Shawn that they felt good and he told me a few things about buying from Fleet Feet.

First, if you buy them and in the next few days find that the shoes are uncomfortable, you can always come back and return the shoes for an exchange of something new. I really liked that because I was afraid of buying shoes and making the wrong choice. For example, the Asics felt great but they had a more "cushiony" feel to them. The Mizuno were more "springy" to me, as if they propelled me forward with each step. So I was happy that I bought with Fleet Feet versus buying from an online site that may not have such a flexible return policy.

Second, they keep track of your purchase history at Fleet Feet, and once you spend $250 at their store, they send you a $50 gift certificate. That's a nice way of rewarding customer loyalty.

Third, Fleet Feet isn't just some faceless corporate entity. The local running clubs HoHa and The Mile Square Running Club include Fleet Feet & other locations in Hoboken as their local starting point. Both clubs are co-ed, social and always looking for new members of various ages and running paces.

I was really impressed after leaving the store and happy with my new purchase. I was glad I went to a local store to get properly fitted, rather than guessing at a shoe from an online store.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on August 12, 2008 12:29 AM.

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