I bought a pair of new running shoes today! I went to a running store to be fitted and assessed, and the whole experience helped me quite a bit. First, the sales clerk had me take off my other shoes and roll up my pants and she had me walk around so she could observe my arch and the way my ankle moved. Then she asked me a serious of questions about the distances I run, how often I run, that kind of stuff. It was a bit like a test, so I was a little nervous, but I think I aced it; I felt good.
Usually when I chose running shoes, I pick them based on availability (or how pretty they are). As I have mentioned before, I am no bigger than a hobbit, but unlike a hobbit, I have very small, child-like feet. This makes finding shoes very difficult, and often times I find myself floating over to the kids' section in a shoe store. So, whenever I came across running shoes that were in my size, I'd just snatch them up, but this isn't really the best way to purchase running shoes. You want the right support and cushion and the right stability and durability.
Thankfully the store I went to had a variety of shoes in my miniscule size so I actually had some choice on the matter -- not a lot of choice, but some choice. The store even had a treadmill in there so I could "test run" them. What service! I learned that I have a regular arch and a regular ankle (it doesn't roll this way or that) and that my stride is also even (thus distributing equal weight to each foot -- who knew I was so well-proportioned?), and all of that information helped the clerk choose some of the best shoes for me. Two pairs felt too big and one pair felt just right, but she said it was a little too snug.
She actually advised me to go a half size larger than I normally would because she said I should have more room at my toe, especially if I plan to add some mileage to my running (which I do, it's just taking me a while to build up to it). Your feet swell some when running and if you have a shoe that is too snug, you get the evil toe nail that turns black and blue and then falls off. I'll be honest though, I'm a little leary about the half size bigger. My heal doesn't slip out, but it feels like I have a lot of room at the front of my foot. However, I am going to trust her expertise and go for a run as soon as I finish this.
I'll let you know how it goes with the new shoes. Perhaps I will be like a speeding bullet!