It’s that time of year. In 2013, I logged a few Ragnars, a couple half-marathons, and some fun runs and my running sneakers have seen better days. It’s widely known that I have a sick fascination with footwear. I own it all: boots, clogs, flats, Moccasins, Oxfords, Mary Janes, Espadrilles, and chunky heels. I have tap shoes and ballet shoes and boat shoes. My Salt-Water Sandals, flip-flops, and Chucks come in every bright color, and my sock collection is even more impressive. Knee socks and bobby socks and ankle socks and funky patterned socks. My footwear is like a page out of a Dr. Seuss book.
But there is one type of footwear that I despise having to shop for. And it’s all because of my stupid flat feet.
I’ve searched high and low for a running shoe that will not hurt my feet. I’ve read articles and visited experts, all to no avail. It’s always the same, it only takes minutes of running before my feet start to rebel. It doesn’t help that I suffer from Air Jordanitis Syndrome. It’s a side effect of growing up in the 90’s. A tragedy really, it’s responsible for my compulsive tendency to believe that a new pair of shoes will actually increase my running speed and drastically improve my agility. If I could only find THE pair of running shoes. Similar to the holy grail or an easy diet, I’ve heard of their rumored existence, but I’ve yet to encounter them.
This is why I need your help, internet friends. I don’t know which shoes to buy. I have about 2 and a half months until my first big race of the season, plenty of time to break in a new pair of kicks. Do I go minimalist or a trusted favorite? Do I dare make the switch to a barefoot shoe? Do I just need to wear my inserts? Show me the way, oh trusted internet!
I have narrowed my search to the following contenders. All pictures have been borrowed from their respective links.
I currently own these and they’re not bad. They worked out okay and still look pretty decent after a year of abuse. They’re not perfect, I still have foot pain and lately I’ve been having some shin pain. It’s unknown if this is caused by my erratic fitness regime or my flat feet but if there’s the hope of that perfect shoe out there, I simply can’t just settle for decent, right?
I took a little quiz on their site and this is the shoe they paired me with. I’m not crazy about it, it seems all the flat foot friendly shoes aren’t very cute. And we all know cuteness matters. However, everyone raves about Brooks. I have ran in Brooks before and they do have a more generous toe box, which I like. But they’re so borrrrrring.
I have this good friend who writes this blog that I love and she seems to like her Mizunos. This shoe is pretty light-weight and it looks snazzy too. I like the mesh and it just looks fast. This shoe definitely plays into my Air Jordanitis Syndrome. I feel like it will shave minutes off my pace!
I love this shoe. I have been interested in trying out Merrell for a while now, but I’m extremely nervous about this whole “barefoot” idea. This shoe just screams my style and it weighs a whopping 6 ounces. And it’s adorable. Have I mentioned how much I want to be able to run in these shoes? My fear is that I want them to be “the one” more than they actually will be. Kind of like that guy I dated in college.
Now, I hadn’t heard of these shoes until I started researching my options. I googled “running shoes for flat feet” and into my life these little gems appeared. I love the style, I like the breathable mesh, and they have a kick-ass tread. And it was Shoe of the Year. I dig how wide they are, I’m no dainty dame and my Flintstone feet need a bit of accommodating.
As you can see, I have quite the decision to make. What’s a stylish, yet comfort-seeking, gal to do???
As a fellow flat and wide-footed girl, I can’t say enough nice things about my Brooks Adrenaline. Sure, they aren’t the cutest, but they keep my feet happy, and happy feet are important. But, cute footwear in general is not my thing (big, wide feet. I’ve embraced my limited options.) and I’ve been wearing the same pair of Uggs every day since it got cold here in October, so my indifference to cuteness is pretty established.
I had a pair of Brooks which I wore with orthotic inserts but I couldn’t get used to the inserts. I tried them for a few months before chucking the shoes in frustration, inserts and all. I probably should have given them more time. Everyone has good things to say about the Brooks.
Well, “months” sounds like you gave it a fair shake. My inserts aren’t official orthotics, or anything, though–just the inserts that the running store suggested.
I will say that going to a running store for a true fitting was the best thing I ever did. Whenever I see someone trying to find the right shoe, I want to scoop them up and take them to my local store.
I had my feet fitted and they paired me with Brooks, lol. I had it done again more recently and they (a different place) paired me with Saucony. AND I received different advice from both places. Lucky Feet said I overpronate and should use an orthotic. The Running Store said I’m fine and I don’t need an insert. I basically just rely on my comfort level now because I can’t trust anyone, lol.
Have you looked into Altra shoes at all? The are a zero drop shoe with a nice roomy toe box and plenty of cushioning. It’s like going barefoot but not having to commit all the way. My feet have never been happier. Some people don’t like the look of the shoes because of the wider toe box, but I love them!
I have tried the Altra shoes! I didn’t give them enough time. I loved the wider toe box but my shins were on fire after a block. I was warned I’d have to work into them but I’m so impatient. It’s a character flaw, I know. Maybe I should revisit this idea, now that I’m more knowledgeable about my feet and their issues!
The Adrenalines are a super stability shoe. They gave me serious IT band issues.
Love my Sayonaras! Have you tried a of the Brooks Pure line? The Flows are supposed to be a great neutral shoe. I love the Cadence, but they have moderate stability in them.
I haven’t tried the Pure line! Googling now!!!
Have you thought about going in and having your feet “fitted”? Many running stores do that, have you run a bit and tell you what you should look for?
I had my feet fitted at Lucky Feet a couple years ago and they matched me with a Brooks shoe, I can’t remember which one, and a pair of orthotic inserts. I never could get used to the shoe with the inserts. I eventually threw them away in ire, but it’s possible I should have given them more time. I wonder if I went in for a fitting now if they would have a different result…hmmmm, now I’m curious 🙂
I was talking to one of my friends this week who has been a runner since we were young. (You know I’m no kid.) We were discussing running and foot pain issues, she strongly recommended trying the Newton for someone who has foot pain. She says she also told some of her younger friends about them and they love them also. She did say they take some getting used to as they are not the same as standard running shoes.
Thanks for the info! I’d never heard of the brand but I’m very curious about them. This is good news!!
I have feet issues, and am always looking for “cute” running shoes. Through much trial and error and lots and lots of stubbornness, I have come to realize that I would much rather run uninjured than try to be cute. I wear Brooks. I love them more than….. well, more than lots and lots of other things. Go with comfort over all else. Your feet (and legs and back etc etc) will thank you.
Le sigh, you’re right. I’m just being stubborn 😉
I’d have to say go with the Brooks. I’ve run in them for years and love them! Not the cutest or most fun shoes BUT when you’re running are you really looking at your feet?
I look at my feet constantly! Because I’m clumsy and trip constantly, lol. Also, I love the way my shoes look when they’re hitting the pavement! (It’s the little things. I’m easy to please, lol)
I too have flat feet, that happen to be wide in the forefoot. I for one, like a 0-4 mm heel to toe drop, but I need cushion. I always thought I’d be on a never-ending search for the perfect shoe. Well, I’m happy to report, my search has come to an end. FINALLY! I am in love with the Altra Torin, and they just happen to be on clearance on RunningWarehouse.com right how! I also bought the Altra Intuition, which have a little less cushion. Seriously, I’m in love. And, they have them in black with blue, much like the ENERGYbits logo over there on the right. If you do order them, get a 1/2 to full size bigger than normal. Also, ordering from RW is awesome, because you can return stuff even after you wear it, if you don’t like it. 🙂 Good luck with your search!
I’ve never used Running Warehouse, I shall be checking them out promptly. Thanks for the info!
I just got the Wave Sayonara and I absolutely love them. Of course, I’ve only worn them twice so far a 5k on the treadmill and a 10k on the path, but they are amazing so far. They are light and comfortable, and the padding is fabulous. I just switched from my first shoe that I was fitted for and I was a bit nervous, but I think these are going to work out great.
I’ve heard lots of great things about the Sayonara. And they’re super cute! I really like that they’re a light shoe but they seem pretty sturdy. (Also, I now know how to spell Sayonara ;-))
Words words, words words words words words.