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Cooper River Bridge Run Column - January 17, 2005
Start by Purchasing a Fresh Pair of Shoes

By Art Liberman

Now that you’ve made the commitment to run this year’s race, it’s probably time to purchase a new pair of running shoes. “There’s plenty of tread remaining” you say while looking at the bottom of your current pair. But running shoes are different from tires! The part of the shoe you can’t see, the midsole, provides the cushioning and support and breaks down after about 350 miles and offers little protection after that. Many running injuries can be traced to using shoes that are either too old or those that don’t match your biomechanical needs. Here are some tips for purchasing and caring for running shoes.

  • Purchase shoes from a specialty running store as their staff have the expertise to outfit you with the correct brand/style based on your specific foot type, foot strike, and stride pattern.
  • Don’t wait until race weekend to make that purchase as shoes need a break-in period of at least 20 miles; otherwise you may find yourself in medical tent for the treatment of blisters or bruised feet.
  • Purchase shoes later in the day when your feet have swelled to their maximum size.
  • To insure an accurate and comfortable fit, bring the socks you use to the store when trying on running shoes. Synthetic blend socks (brands such as Coolmax, Nike’s Dry-FIT) rather than cotton are the best in keeping your feet dry and blister-free.
  • Be sure that there is about ½ inch of space (a thumb’s width) between your longest toe and the front of the shoe.
  • To avoid feet that feel numb or tingly, tie your shoes securely but not too tight.
  • To conserve their life, use running shoes only for running. After their retirement, their useful life can be extended for knocking around town, washing the car, gardening, etc.
  • Do not machine wash or dry your shoes. Rather handwash them with soap and water or commercial products.
  • When your shoes become wet, stuff bundled up newspaper inside to accelerate drying time. You may even want to consider purchasing a second pair to use while your other pair is drying.

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