New shoes, no problem

It's every runner's favorite day: the day we reward our feet for the miles they have put in and splurge on a new pair of kicks. It's often overwhelming walking into a store and deciding which type of shoe to pick. If you're like me, you pour over all the Runner's World Shoe ratings and reviews, reflect on every aspect of your last pair - how many miles they lasted, if there was pain, how the road felt beneath them, and of course, you have to consider which ones are the cutest in appearance.

If you're a runner, consider going to a store that specializes in running shoes and gear for your store. Not only will you have your selection of all the best items, but if you go to a great store like the Fleet Feet in Pepper Pike or any other Fleet Feet if you're in the Cleveland area, the employees will work with you to get the perfect shoe for you.

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I love how knowledgeable the staff at Fleet Feet is. I've gotten every pair of shoes from them since I've been running marathons and every time, I'm thoroughly impressed by just how much they know about finding the perfect shoe for every runner. 

It always starts with the basic questions: How much are you running? Are you training for anything? What did you like and dislike about your last pair of shoes? Did you have any pain or injuries with your last pair? My favorite question, though, is something that I could talk endlessly about but I think only runners will understand is: What makes your perfect running shoe? 

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Every runner is going to have a different answer to this question. I have pretty flat feet so I know that I need something that's pretty neutral and doesn't have a crazy arch at it's center. Personal preference also comes into play here. I like a shoe where I can feel the road underneath me. I need a little bit of support but I absolutely hate the shoes that make you feel like you have a pillow under your feet. Again, this is totally personal preference. 

If this is your first pair of shoes or you're not really sure what you like or dislike about a shoe just yet, I recommend going to Fleet Feet even more. Not only will they watch you walk and run in each shoe you try on as well as barefoot, ask you a bunch of questions and get to know your runner preferences, look at the wear and tear of your old running kicks (which make sure you bring those - this is super helpful for them), but they now also have this crazy new thing called Volumental foot scanner that measures every aspect of your foot and tells the staff exactly what kind of shoe will work for you.

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You step on it for like 30 seconds and just like that it provides the staff with an exact measurements of your foot. The staff can look at how you stand, tell if one foot is bigger than the other, how high your arch goes, how wide your heel is, literally EVERYTHING. And they will walk you through what all these measurements mean for your feet, your running, and for your future shoe. They'll also send you all of these results after your visit so you can pour over them like I did.

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As you can see from my results and as I've already mentioned, my arch height is pretty low, which really just means that I need a neutral shoe - something that doesn't have a high mid sole. Once we figured all of this out, it was time to try on the shoes. I tried on 3 pairs: the new version of the Nike's that I already owned, a fancy pair of Asics that I liked but just weren't quite right, and the pair that I had had my eye on since I walked in the store initially: The Mizuno Wave Riders which is ultimately the pair I ended up picking.

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Of course I had to look at these no matter what because they benefitted BCRF and you guys all know I'm a sucker for a pretty pink item that goes towards a Breast Cancer organization. That being said, if these hadn't been right for my feet, if I felt uncomfortable at all, I wouldn't have gotten them. As luck (or maybe fate?) would have it thought, these bad boys are not only Bright Pink, but they also allow me to feel the road and have neutral support, and just felt right as I jogged around the store to test them out.

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I've had them for a little over a week now and have been on about half a dozen runs both inside on the treadmill as well as outside and I'm loving them so far and have no complaints. Big thankful shout out to Fleet Feet for helping me find the right fit.

A few other last minute tips: If you've never gotten shoes at a specialized running store - try it out! It is definitely worth it to have someone analyze your feet and help you find the perfect fit. Also, don't forget to bring your old running shoes in so the staff can see where your feet wear them out. Try an insert if you don't already use them. Fleet Feet even offers a pair that I have that are specifically designed to fit women's feet. But above all, try on a bunch, run around in them, and be open to the suggestions of the staff! I'm constantly switching my brands and shoe type up but it's important to find what shoe works for you!

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Leah Backo