Fitness & Outdoors

Springing Forward… in the Right Shoes

As a runner, the spring thaw is one of my favorite things in life.  Although, I do run outside most of the winter (depending on if my running path is plowed or not), I love when the snow melts for good and I can run, snowdrift free through the streets, sidewalks and paths of town.

After a long winter, it feels great to get outside and move around.  For many, it marks the beginning of training for the upcoming race season or a dedication to meet a new goal.  Whether it is the first time you are hitting the streets to become the runner you have always dreamed of or you have been running for years, make sure to be good to your feet.  Your feet are the foundation to your entire body and can make or break the success of your journey.

For this week’s blog, I spoke with James Klersy, Manager of our New Balance Twin Cities store in the Southtown Mall in Bloomington.  James answered questions to important topics regarding foot health and proper footwear.

What are some of the benefits of a good running shoe?

Running puts an impact of 2.5 times your body weight through your legs, knees and feet. Your feet are supporting your entire body during your workout, so while a top quality running shoe may cost a little more, it is worth the investment. A good running shoe will fit better, last longer, offer more comfort, more support to your entire body, absorb shock better and is made with material that breaths better.

What are the benefits changing out of your shoes after a workout, whether it be a run or walk?

Changing out of your running shoes after a workout helps the materials rebound and dry out. Your feet do sweat. Moisture inside your shoe breaks down the materials of the shoe. Not only does changing into a new pair of shoes give your shoes a break, but it also gives certain muscles in your feet and legs a break. The repetitive motion of running or walking adds pressure to muscles in the feet and legs. By changing into a different style of shoe, new muscles are engaged and those tired foot and leg muscles get a much needed break.

Could you explain the difference between a running shoe and a walking shoe? Do walkers have to buy walking shoes?

I get this question quite a bit from customers. I tell people that you can walk in a running shoe, but you can not run in a walking shoe. A walking shoe is stiffer and offers more stability to the walker. A walking shoe is far too rigid to run in, as runners need a shoe with more flexibility. Walking shoes focus on cushioning the heel, because we heel strike much heavier when we walk. Walking shoes roll through the step to take pressure off the ball of the foot. I do see a lot of fast paced walkers who enjoy wearing running shoes, because the shoes are more flexible.

What type of athletic shoe do you suggest for people who are on their feet all day and why?

If you are on your feet all day, a more supportive shoe works best. Make sure that the shoe fits the shape of your foot. Wider foot, wider shoe. Narrow foot, you will want a more contoured shoe.  Also, look for a shoe that has pronation control. When you stand all day, your feet tend to roll in, so you will want a shoe that supports the arches of your feet. A shoe that is too soft, won’t offer arch support. A soft, cushy shoe seems like it would be the most comfortable, right? Cushion is instant gratification. But, a soft shoe compresses under our body weight. Support is long term comfort. I highly recommend that you come into our store and get your feet measured for both width and length. We have a large selection of New Balance athletic shoes and can get you matched up with the best pair for your activity level and foot shape.

What do you suggest to people that come into the store interested in purchasing their first pair of minimalist running shoes?

Ease into it. Start with 10-20% of your regular running regimen during the first month. This type of shoe has very little cushion or support, so your feet and leg muscles will need time to develop and strengthen, in order to support your body. Also, make sure to research the barefoot running movement. There is a technique to this style of running. You will need to learn how to adjust your gait for successful and injury free running. The more you know, the better your chances are of staying injury free. Personally, I enjoy the minimalist running shoe. My advice is make sure you stretch, stretch and stretch some more. Stay hydrated to keep your muscles healthy. Massage the tissues of the foot. I find that putting lotion on my feet is a great way to commit to a proper foot massage. If I put lotion on my feet, I tend to rub my feet longer, since I really don’t stop until the lotion is completely adsorbed into the skin.

james kJames Klersy is the manager of the New Balance Twin Cities store in the Southtown Mall in Bloomington.  James has worked at Schuler Shoes for over 9 years.  He runs and bikes to stay in shape and plays hockey year round.  James looks forward to getting out and playing Disc Golf when it finally warms up

For more information on proper footwear for your lifestyle and activity level, visit James at our Schuler Shoes/New Balance Twin Cities store in the Southtown Mall in Bloomington.  Schuler Shoes carries New Balance brand shoes at all 9 locations with a focus at our 4 New Balance Twin Cities locations at our Maple Grove, St Louis Park, Woodbury and Southtown store locations. 

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