I Got Properly Fitted for Running Shoes, and It Was Life-Changing

Don’t underestimate the power of a new pair of kicks.


Last fall, I made the bold and frightening decision to sign up for a Thanksgiving Day 5K. It had been more than 10 years since my last race, and in that decade my body had been through quite a bit, including two pregnancies that resulted in C-sections and an additional 40–50 pounds.

When race day came, I was nervous. I was nauseous. I almost called the whole thing off at the starting line. But I didn’t. Not only did I finish the race, but I also signed up for another one as soon as I got to my desk the following Monday morning. And then I signed up for another. And another.

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I started running outside. I started running trails. I signed up for a 10K and started training seriously. But then I noticed that things were beginning to hurt, particularly my heel. Instead of going too deeply down a rabbit hole of WebMD-induced self-diagnosis, I decided to visit the experts at Delaware Running Company.

Since the store is owned and operated by runners, I was admittedly a bit intimidated. (I’ve been known to toss my cookies at the finish line, so I’m pretty sure I don’t fall into the “serious runner” category.) But my pain was real, and I didn’t want to damage my feet any more than I was sure I had, so I swallowed my anxiousness and paid the Greenville store a visit one sunny Saturday. (There’s also a Newark location.)

I was greeted by an equally sunny sales guy, who asked how he could assist me. He listened attentively as I explained my issues, then asked me to walk so he could observe my gait, arches and strike.

His assessment: I had pretty normal feet (wahoo!), and my arches were not in fact collapsing. I probably just needed running shoes with new cushioning. (You mean I wasn’t plagued with plantar fasciitis?! No kidding!)

He brought me three pairs to try, explaining why he had selected each. I learned that your running shoes should be anywhere from a half-size to a full-size larger than your regular shoes to allow for swelling—but also that you shouldn’t be slipping in them, either. (These people really know their stuff!) There’s even a treadmill, so you can take the shoes for a spin right there in the store.

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I felt so great in every pair I tried on. Why had I waited so long to address my discomfort?

The next day I took my new sneaks on a test run, and didn’t feel any heel pain that afternoon or the next morning. My investment was worth every cent.

And as for running this year’s 5K? That’ll just be another obstacle I overcome.

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