A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of checking a new running store that opened up a few towns over from me – Fleet Feet Westport. I am SO excited to have them around for all the group activities. I seriously hate doing speedwork on my own and those 3 hour plus long runs get a little monotonous on the same routes by yourself over and over again, so I am very much looking forward to training with this summer– and hoping having their help push me to a new PR!
One of the unique aspects of a Fleet Feet store is their Fit ID program. It utilizes a nifty 3D scanning device that gives you all sorts of fun facts about your foot. For the past 10 years, I have been running in the Asics 2000s – a pretty common stability shoe. I used to be very injury prone (and I never really feel like I am out of the woods yet!) and have been known to over-pronate, so I always had the mindset of it’s not broken, why fix it?
I went into the fitting expecting to be put in another stability shoe, but since Asics had come out with a new version of the 2000, and Brookes recently redesigned their core stability shoe (Adrenaline) I thought it was worthwhile to go through the whole fitting process. First, the owner, Dave, looked at my bare foot to measure it and see if I had swelling, blisters, or toe nail issues. Thankfully I have only suffered one black toenail in my whole running “career” and I do not wish to repeat that painful experience! My foot measured in at size 5.5, which was no surprise to me. I know I have baby feet. He recommended a 6.5-7 in a running shoe, depending on the vendor and fit.
Next he watched me walk barefoot, and looked at the wear pattern of current shoes. Now – this is the fun part, where I got to the test the Fit ID system. I answered a few questions about my running habits, and stepped on a device that was similar to a scale. It spit out all sorts of fun facts about my feet – including size, width and arch height. I used to have a super narrow foot, but over time running has widened it, so I am now a regular width – which came to no surprise me. What did surprise me was my arch was considered much closer to average – I always thought I barely had an arch!
However – the really surprising thing to me was that Dave saw no evidence of over-pronation in my gait and recommended a neutral shoe to me! At first I was completely shocked – how could that be? But truth be told, the last time I was probably truly fitted was at least five years ago. I have been working hard on building up to higher mileage running over the years, and most recently, sticking to a strength training routine thanks to Orange Theory Fitness. As you get fitter, your gait can get more efficient – I just never thought it would happen to me.
Dave had me try on a few pair of neutral shoes – including the Brooks Levitate and the Nike Zoom Flys – and they both really good, I must admit. I was really tempted to walk out of there with a brand new shoe – but since I am 4.5 weeks out from London, we both agreed that it was not a great time for me to try a new pair of shoes. After London I will be switching to 70.3 training, and my running mileage will go down as my cycling mileage goes up – so it will be a perfect time to try a new pair of shoes. While I know no shoe is going to make you faster if you don’t put in the work – I’m not going to lie – I wouldn’t mind be able to run or race in the Zoom Fly (or even better it’s sister, the Vaporfly 4%) with the magical carbon plate. I need all the help I can get to reach my speed goals!
All in all, it was a wonderful experience going through the Fit ID fitting at Fleet Feet Westport and to welcome a new running store in town. Now hurry up and start your track sessions….I can’t wait for you to push me to my limits!
Tell me – have you ever switched from a stability shoe to a neutral shoe? Has your running gait changed over the years?