I just LOVE new sneakers. It tumbled out of my mouth today while in session with a client. I just realized I’m probably a bit more enthusiastic about this than your average person– and typically when our reactions are out of proportion there’s a historical aspect for us in that area, perhaps something traumatic. I almost held back but decided if I show up authentically without shame and shared my story, maybe it will help me or someone else to shed some needless shame.
When I was a little girl, my feet were so narrow I had to shop at a specialty shoe store where kids with wide feet and narrow feet and old people needing orthotics shopped. Some had feet so swollen they looked like bricks. I wanted so bad to wear Nikes like everyone else with medium feet and shop in a regular store. Shoes didn’t fit me right and it was hard to be comfortable. Still is; but one summer in an effort to try and get my feet to spread I wore moccasins. The front of my feet did spread but the heel didn’t, so I have narrow heels and need a shoe with a wider forefoot to make me comfortable but learned how to tie shoes in a runner’s loop so the heels don’t slip and now I can wear sneakers from lots of brands.
The pleasure I get from the comfort of new sneakers is enormous probably because of all I have had to go through. Well, it turns out my client then shared that her kids suffer with narrow feet and her boys have difficulty with heel slippage. I was able to share the special way I tie my shoes with her and save her kids from those heel blisters.
So basically because I was willing to be a little vulnerable, someone else didn’t have to suffer. The message: Be courageous. Healed? Pay it forward!
When your heel isn’t held firmly, your foot can slip forward and bump your toes against the front of your shoes.
Your fix is the Runner’s Loop:
- Lace your shoes normally, crisscrossing them until you reach the second eyelet below the top on each side.
- Instead of crossing over again, pull each lace end up on the same side, inserting it into the top eyelet on that side; you’ll form a loop.
- Pull each lace end across and through the loop formed on the opposite side of the shoe.
- Pull the lace ends up and out a few times in order to shrink down the loops so that they hold the lace securely on each side.
- Finish by tying your shoelaces in the usual way.
Many shoe designs are built specifically to allow for the runner’s loop: They provide extra length in the laces and specific alignment of the last eyelets to give you the option of tying it.
Sneaker sales are historically on in January and April and you should replace your sneakers every 4-6 months depending on usage. Running shoes should be replaced every 300–500 miles. That’s because it’s around this point that the midsole cushioning on most shoes will lose resiliency and stop absorbing shock as well as when newer, which can cause more impact on your muscles and joints. This means that if you average 15 miles of running per week, then you’ll need to replace your shoes approximately every five to eight months. (If you track your runs with a GPS watch or your smartphone, it’s simple to figure out when you’re in the 300–500-mile range; otherwise you can estimate based on roughly how much you run each week.)
Here are additional factors that affect when to replace your running shoes:
- Minimalist shoes have less cushioning, so expect them to be done around 300 miles.
- Traditional running shoes and maximum cushioning shoes tend to last until around the 500-mile mark.
- Heavier people will get fewer miles than lighter people, regardless of shoe type.
- If you wear your running shoes casually, those miles also count toward the total.
- Dirt on your shoes is no big deal, but if you see significant wear and tear, it may be time to retire your shoes. Keep an eye out for heel damage, worn soles and rips and tears.
- If you notice new discomfort in your feet, legs, knees, hips or back after running, it may be time for a new pair of shoes. The same is true if you’re getting blisters or feeling hot spots where you never used to.
Q: Do I need Cross-Trainers?
Cross Trainers offer more lateral (side-to side) support than running shoes. Cross trainers allow for quick pivots, stops and starts whereas running shoes are often slightly elevated in the heel. An elevated heel in a running shoe helps propel a runner forward but doesn’t allow for the same side to side support in the forefoot needed in many HIIT workouts. It also shortens the calf muscle similar to a formal dress shoe or pump. This prohibits the athlete from achieving a full range in the squat or the lunge or the dead lift. I do suggest wearing cross-trainers for most personal training sessions and group fitness classes. There are a number of companies that make cross trainers and I don’t have a particular preference on brand. Find what fits well.
I have recently tested a few. If you have never tried a cross trainer or want to feel for yourself what qualities I have in mind for a good cross trainer in general for any of the workout classes or trainings I teach I have listed below, some good ones to try. When you try sneakers for cross training or any sport, practice the ways you will use those sneakers in the store! Yes, you may look a little funny, but its an athletic store and it only takes a few seconds to jump, do lateral lunges and pivot.
Nike Zoom Super Rep Go 3 Flyknit
Nike Free Metcon4 (11 different colors for women)or Metcon 5 (comes in 5 colors for women). I love this one for Metcon workouts, HIIT etc if it fits your foot and you like a sock type feel with a lot of flexibilty in the forefoot. Be prepared to try different sizes.
Nike Air Zoom Super Rep 3
Nike Renew- good for NARROW feet (I prefer the older model without the stretch strap across the top [seriously, what were they thinking?] which can still be found at Citadel outlets in White only)
Nike Air Max Bella Tr 5 Premium- only recommended for WIDE feet
I generally find Nike to run a little shorter heel to toe/smaller than some other brands. Keep this in mind and know that different models have variations as well. I like to order a couple sizes and select which is the better fit- which is typically a half size larger than your dress shoes. These are fairly easy to find around SoCal. Footlocker, Nike at the Grove, most malls will have one or more models.
ASICS only makes one shoe line that is suitable for training and is able to adequately support lateral motion. The Gel-Quantum series (360, 180, 90) are cross-training shoes that can be used for gym workouts such as lifting, cross fit, HIIT, P90X, Zumba, aerobics, or general sports activity. These shoes are not available in wide widths. I personally prefer the cushion and bounce of the 360 which has gel throughout the bottom for an extremely springy and resilient feel. Sizing is pretty true. I take the same size in Asics as Nike however the Asics generally offer more toe room. Since the Asics store in Century City closed, they are difficult to find in SoCal. Try the Asics site, Amazon or Zappos. The version 6 and the 7 are recommended in the Quantum 360. Color choices are somewhat more limited but something should suit as they’re not too crazy.
Reebok recently released the Nano3. It has a slightly different sole than the Nano2 which I found had an excellent fit for many types of feet and plenty of lateral support. It was a more grounded feel shoe overall and recommend if you prefer a firmer stiffer ride. The Nano 2 or 3 would be great for heavy lifts due to the flat rise on the sole. I also like these for boxing/kickboxing since I can pivot easily on some surfaces and yet allow for lateral support for quick stops and starts and lunges. In the x2 I took my regular size (which is a half size up from my dress shoes) whereas in the x3 I took the same size as my dress shoes (so they do run a little large IMO) The nano 3 also has an extra hole for a runner’s loop if you like to lock your ankles down a bit more. Both nano 2 and 3 feature a wider toe box and the shape of that toe box is slightly narrower on the side of the 3 than the 2 but both are the wider and roomier than many cross trainers on the market now. They also come in 10 colors for women and 14 colors for men!!!! Can you resist a lilac sneaker? They can be a little difficult to find in SoCal. I recommend the Citadel Outlets since they sometimes have them on sale or you can find the Nano2 if you are more budget conscious. DSW sometimes has as well.
Ryka makes good cross trainers. They design shoes specifically for women. Difficult to find this brand outside of Nordstrom Rack or Marshalls locally. Worth a try. They really “get it” when it comes to shoes for specific sports like dance fitness or kickbox or lifting.
Women’s regular is a B width whereas men’s shoes regular are a D width. Keep that in mind should you think your feet run wide or they’re out of your size in another brand.
I love cross trainers for cross training, weight lifting, HIIT, and kickbox. My preferred wear all day everyday or stand and wash dishes or go for a long walk shoe is still going to be a running shoe or at least a walking shoe with good stability.