I learned a couple of things about myself today. One, turns out I need to wear narrow shoes (I didn’t even know they made narrow shoes, just wider ones). Two, I’m at 11.5 (US sizing) when I still think of myself as wearing 10.5. Three, I’m afraid to wear Nike running shoes.
Let’s start with the first point.
They Make Narrow Shoes?
I’ve always known I had skinny feet, if for no other reason than my brother often needed to find the wide make of shoes (and crossword puzzles having the all E answers for shoe width). I honestly didn’t know they made narrow-sized shoes, though it makes sense now that I think about it. I have to wear slim fit shirts (even when fatty eats all the cake), so it’s not surprising they make shoes specifically sized to be narrow.
Of course, I’ve been working around this problem all along.
Before I went to the running store, I’d been looking for new dress shoes and had to avoid a lot of pairs because I knew they wouldn’t work because of how skinny my feet are.
The main reason I wear Pumas for my casual shoes is because they basically hug my feet. One of the reasons I’ve historically preferred Nikes was because they tended to be more narrow and fit my foot better, which makes the betrayal that led to the third point of this post all the more egregious. Nikes always were like my Goldilocks athletic shoes, though Asics and Adidas tended to work out well too.
[As an aside, I should explain the Goldilocks reference in case you didn’t get read bedtime stories as a child and/or live under a rock. It’s basically my way of saying something is just right. My old Brooks tend to be just a bit too heavy. My Adidas tend to move a bit too much underneath my feet in certain circumstances. Nikes tended to stay right where they should, so that made them just right until they weren’t]
But I honestly didn’t think my feet were skinny enough to warrant atypical shoes. I would have thought runners commonly had skinny feet.
Turns out that’s a no.
Whenever I buy new running shoes now, I get resized. Things change, you could go in at a different time of day, a new injury could have popped up, etc.. It just seems like good practice. And the guy seemed genuinely surprised my feet were skinny enough to warrant narrow shoes, so either it’s not that common or I’m skinnier than I look (or at least fatty’s feet are).
The real kicker was that I kind of had my heart set on replace my current Brooks Glycerin 11s with the 13s. I’ve read good things about the 12s and 13s, and so I was prepared to transition. But they don’t make Glycerins in narrow (or wide for that matter).
That said, I wanted something that would be a sturdier, safer counterbalance to my comfy but sometimes unstable Adidas.
I could have made do with the regular Glycerins, but that feels like defeating the purpose of getting fitted. Plus, I always knew the Glycerins were too wide. That’s why they weren’t my Goldilocks shoes. They were just shoes that worked well enough.
I hope the Ghosts work. If not, the second point may be something we pay more attention to.
I May or May Not Be Still Growing
Shoe size is weird. It varies company to company, shoe to shoe within the same company, and even hour to hour depending on how much you’ve been on your feet.
And that’s why I get resized each time I go to a running store.
Typically, I think of myself as a 10.5. It’s what I started wearing in 8th grade, and it’s generally the size that works best for all my uses, though there have been some deviations. A couple of times I’ve had to go up to 11 and a couple of times I’ve had to drop to a 10.
My first pair of Brooks are actually 10s purchased in spring 2013, and they’re still in the rotation (though if the Ghosts work out, the Glycerins will probably be part-timers here on out). My Adidas are 11s. Different brands, different sizes, no big deal.
But today, I walked out with 11.5 Brooks and they’re sitting next to my 10 Brooks.
Now I’m confused.
Of course, I should know better. I’ve read where Ray Allen had to keep going up sizes over time in basketball, and I know more pressure over time on my feet can cause shoe size to go up, but I don’t see the difference in anything except my running shoes, though maybe I should start asking for assistance at other shoe stores since running stores are the only time I’m getting sized.
The thing that concerns me is that my feet are actually a clear half size different from each other, with the right being bigger. And I’ve hurt both to a point where I have to be careful with each when buying and sizing shoes (I’ve honestly considered buying two separate pairs, and then finding my opposite so I can give them the leftovers).
That said, this pair felt good on both feet. I’ll ease my way into wearing them and hope that they keep feeling good.
Now the reason I picked these instead of another pair leads us to point 3
[header] Turns Out I’m Afraid to Wear Nikes
For years, I was a Nike kid. They just worked. I never had the issues in them like I had in other shoes. They were narrow, perfect for my skinny feet. They made shoes for everything, so I had a brand I could trust.
Post-high school, the first pair of running shoes I had were Nike Dual Fusions. They’re not high-end running shoes (though it felt like they were at the time because they were shoes made specifically for running). They just worked. They were a great fit. They had enough cushion to protect me during the run, but they were still light enough that I didn’t notice them until I was crossing the 2-mile threshold (by this point, I notice everything).
Unfortunately, as these things go, they began to wear down and I finally replaced them (probably a year too late). I opted for another pair of Nikes. I honestly don’t even remember what they were now other than evil. The fit was fine. I wouldn’t have realized there was a problem until I actually went for a run in them.
I’ve told the story before, but here’s a cliffnotes version of these evil shoes. My feet and calves almost immediately felt it whenever I would run in them. And I did something stupid on my first outing: I ran two miles nonstop for the first time in about 2 years. Then two days later I ran 2.5 miles nonstop for the first time in almost 7 years. Now the reason I could do that was because I couldn’t run fast in them, so I was able farther.
I really should have thought that through.
The day after the 2.5-mile run, I could barely walk. It felt like something broke in my left foot. I’m still not entirely convinced something didn’t break.
I went to the campus quack shack and confused the medical “professional” who saw me. Nothing hurt when they felt around. The only things that concerned them were that my foot didn’t hurt when I walked barefoot (or in some narrow casual shoes, leading to the Puma obsession) and that my ankles were incredibly inflexible.
And then she said they wouldn’t do an x-ray because something like stress fracture might not even show. Might. Might. Might. She didn’t want to do any x-ray because it might not show the damage. Not wouldn’t show the damage. Might not show the damage.
I may still be holding some resentment about this. I also may not be entirely trusting of medical “professionals” because I’ve had multiple encounters like this. Now I do trust medical professionals. Unfortunately, I’ve run into more “professionals” than professionals.
But I digress.
I let my foot heel, but I kept using those damnable Nikes after I’d recovered, and they kept making my feet and lower legs wear out too quickly in runs. This led to getting fitted for the first time and the Glycerins. Earlier this year, I finally gave up on the evil Nikes after they caused another minor injury (and that one’s still lingering, honestly), leading to the Adidas.
When I got the Adidas, Nike Vomeros were offered up as an option, but I was happier with the Adidas.
Today, they offered up Nike Pegasuses (Pegasi?) as an option instead of the Ghosts today. And honestly, they felt perfectly fine. Snug just the way I like, but I convinced myself the Ghosts would be the more stable ride and therefore the better option as I alternate with my Adidas.
And then I thought about it more after I left.
I could let the Pegasus be an option when I replaced my Adidas down the line. But even then, I felt hesitation. Those might be my Goldilocks shoes, and I still have an aversion to them.
I’m afraid to run in Nikes again. After years of being happy with them, I’ve let one evil pair ruin the whole bunch for me. And I honestly don’t know if I can ever wear Nikes running again.
So yeah, I’ve got new narrow shoes to fit my slightly larger feet that are terrified of Nikes it seems.
That’s a lot of running breakthroughs for one day, especially when the only running I did was in the store to check fit.