Help Me Help You

Hi. My name is Megan, and I’m a running geek.

I also know a thing or two about running shoes. I work at this great store called ZombieRunner. There is no better way for a runner/student to pay the bills (especially the running-gear bills!) than to work in a store like this.

This post is dedicated to the reader who’s looking to buy a new pair of shoes. The part of my job I love the most is the problem solving part. I like getting to know the customer and figuring out what shoe will be perfect for his or her needs. However, as a customer, you have to do some of the work too. You can’t just come in and say, “Gimme your best shoe!”, or, “Analyze me and tell me what I need!” There is a little bit more involved in the process.

The following are a few helpful tips for the next time you go in and buy shoes. Help me help you!

1. Have an idea of what you want. If you prefer a lot of cushioning, tell me right off the bat. If you like lightweight shoes better, let me know. There are many options for both, and it’s important to get to the point right away to limit the choices. Most shoe stores carry something like 80 or so models of shoes, so it’s nice to be pointed in some direction, even if it’s vague.

2. Only ask for an analysis if you really want it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given a gait analysis to someone, recommended several models of shoes, explained how the shoes will help meet their needs, only to have them tell me they’d prefer the pretty pink shoes that are the opposite of what they “need”. It’s OK if you don’t get the shoe I’d recommend. But don’t feel like you have to get analyzed because a friend told you to. If you just want a cute shoe to wear to the gym, almost anything will work.

3. Be honest. If you have NO IDEA what you want or need, that’s ok! It helps me to know that. Then I can give you options to narrow down. If a cute shoe is a priority, that’s ok! I like cute shoes too, and I’m sure there’s one that’ll fit your needs. Don’t be afraid to speak up. I am meant to help you find the right shoe, but it’s not like a doctor prescribing a medication. There is some amount of leeway.

4. There is no exact science. There can be two people with the exact same running gait who do well in two completely different types of shoe. It is hard to find the “perfect” shoe because there is not always one out there. Some people who need a lot of support end up doing alright in a minimal shoe. There is a certain amount of trail and error in finding the right shoe. Be open to suggestions, and trying things you might not be sure about.

5. The shoe isn’t a miracle worker. Kind of like I said in #4, a shoe won’t solve all your problems. A lot of running related issues can be solved by having the proper form. Go to this website for some great and simple advice. Be patient. It might take a few months or even a year to become natural at running with good form, but it’ll be well worth it.

I have a feeling this post will end up being a part 1 of many. :) Buying shoes can be a stressful process to a lot of people!

While my weekends are usually filled with running, races, and helping people in need of shoes, this weekend will be filled with wedding shenanigans. The last time I attended a wedding, this happened:

Can’t wait to see what this weekend has in store for me! Congrats Victoria and Drew :)

One thought on “Help Me Help You

  1. You make me laugh. I love the cute blue minimal shoes that I recently bought from Zombie Runners. Got lots of “cute shoes” remarks. I thought that they were “walking shoes” until you told me that they are running shoes. Will put them to their proper use this weekend then.

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