I went to a specialty running shoe store tonight. Buying shoes...can't be that hard, right? Here's my story. The last few weeks, my fourth toe on my left foot has been hurting. This has never happened to me. I figured it had something to do with one of my softball ailments - hamstring, calf, knee, etc. Over the weekend, I started to wonder about my shoes. It took about two minutes on Google to confirm that my running shoes are too small.
About ten years ago, I went to a specialty running shoe store. They gave me great advice and I learned about my need for motion control shoes. I walked out of the store with the Brooks Beast and have been ordering the exact same shoe ever since. But every subsequent pair felt a little less wonderful.
It turns out your feet grow as you age. One estimate I saw said you could gain a half size every decade after age 40. When you also consider that running shoes should be a little roomier, I had to go up a size.
So I went to a store with the fancy equipment that videotapes you on a treadmill and so forth. Long story short, there was a high school track team in there, all getting their gate analyzed. I waited for an hour and fifteen minutes before my turn came around. While I waited, it was not lost on my that I was the least in-shape person in the store, and it wasn't even close. Here's a tip: If you have body issues, try not to spend 75 minutes in line with 17 year old distance runners. As it turns out, their parents are generally pretty in shape, too.
It was dark out when I got home, but I put in my 26 minutes of walking anyway. The shoes, and the custom inserts, really did make everything feel better. It's worth it to go to the experts for shoe fitting once in a while, at least. I'd recommend it if you haven't done this recently. Just wait until after cross country season starts.