The Great Shoe Switcharoo
Roll back a few years and you’d find me hoofing my way around various events in rigid orthotics and stability shoes. But with flat feet and poor alignment, my legs were quite susceptible to injury. This unforgiving combination actually did the job for almost 20 years. But I changed and here is my story.
It wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision to test out new footwear, but as I increased my running, my faithful old orthotics began to give me blisters. I’d never had a problem before but they began to rub my arches - in fact I had to stop in one race to remove them completely (stuffing them down my bra to finish, giving me curves in places I never thought possible). Constant blisters started to affect my training and that wasn’t good. It was apparently my feet had started to change the way they moved.
I had spoken to the members of the currexSole team about their flexible insoles before but I was very sceptical. They were the complete opposite to what had worked for me previously. Then during the summer of 2013 the MD pointed out the blood stains in the fabric of my lovely new shoes and started pulling one of those ‘I told you so’ faces. I had nothing to lose and so I agreed to be fitted with a pair of currexSole insoles, and took them out on a few training runs. The blisters disappeared but more interestingly, I felt more comfortable than ever, as if my running gait became free. They were lighter than any previous insole I had used. As I ran more, there were no niggles or teething problems, only added comfort and pace. I went on to run my best half marathon off the bike, a 1.17 in Luxembourg 70.3.
As currexSole preach or any decent running shop will tell you, when you’re choosing a running shoe – fit and comfort is King. It’s an interesting fact that many of the top athletes have custom built shoes simply to fit and perform better. Your footwear needs to feel like a second skin and your running shoes should feel almost at one with your feet. A good shoe and insole combo is the nearest most of us will get to having that custom experience that the pro’s enjoy.
To get your best ever fit:
1. Try a few pairs of trainers on in your local running shop: you’ll notice a big difference between designs.
2. You want the most natural feeling; not overly spongy or under cushioned. If you have to loosen off or over tighten your laces you have the wrong shape. Laces are there to ensure full envelopment of your foot - not strap your shoes on. Don’t get duped by shoes marketed as ‘Editors Choice’ that’s crazy as everyone is different - one shoe for all - really?
3. Add a lightweight insole to fully customise your fit. currexSole do a range of arch supports to guide your body through its preferred motion pathway encouraging the feeling of flow. You’ll keep a more efficient movement pattern as duress and fatigue sets in, but insoles should never force or inhibit your feet.
4. Start with a few shorter runs for any new running set-up to ensure it’s right for you.
5. Repeat this cycle once the trainers have lost their feel-good factor. For me, that takes around 4 months. For the more casual runner, you could get away with up to a year, but if you exercise regularly, it’s worth not scrimping on this one. Think of the physio bills! Always try on a few pairs before you buy and don’t rely on the fact that it worked for you previously. Feet change, and trainer design also changes!
The key point to take away: our body adapts as we get stronger. Our footwear needs to adapt also. Previously weak muscles of mine have strengthened and consequently, what worked before now feels ugly. I have successfully transitioned from hugely rigid (and very expensive) carbon orthotics in a support shoe to currexSole RUNPRO Medium Arch insoles (yes that’s right, Medium arch) in a neutral shoe, and right now, anything else is wrong for me.
Your feet change so don’t get stuck in a trainer rut.