… or at least that’s what I always thought when I was a kid! Since faithfully training for my 5k run over the past few months, I felt I could justify a new pair as I’ve managed to break through the ‘just a running phase’ barrier. Nick the Trainer recommended Sweatshop, so Other Half and I drove over to the Hatfield branch to see what was available. We were welcomed by Sue the Manager who has the most incredible trainer knowledge ever! We both had our running gate assessed (for free), by jogging on the instore treadmill with a video camera at our feet, recording our every step. The results showed that Other Half had a normal to mild over-pronation which meant he required overall support in his shoe. I, on the other hand, have low arches and this caused me to show up as a massive over-pronator – this means I roll my feet in as I run. Now, before you start thinking I’m a bit of a weirdo, most people are also over-pronators to some degree, so this actually makes me ‘normal’!
As a pair, we presented quite a challenge when it came to sizes – Other Half is a 7 (most men’s start at an 8), I’m an 8 1/2 (most girl’s stop at an 8), so we expected choice to be limited, however, Sue the Manager was more than happy to order in multiple pairs in our specified sizes. We both tried on many pairs (even if the size wasn’t quite right) to gauge the difference between gel support (like Asics) and air support (like Nike). Both work well, it simply came down to preference once you have the shoe on (gel supports can sometimes feel more prominent inside of the shoe). We ran on the treadmill to see which styles gave the best support and, corrected my over- pronation. It is amazing how much difference a pair of well supported trainers makes to your running style! Other Half settled on a pair of Nike+ that were in his size, and I was stuck between a pair of Mizuna and Nike+, both of which made me run properly and were top in my style stakes. Sue the Manager said she would order them in for me and give me a call when they arrived.
10 days later, I went back to the shop and tried each pair on, mentally
comparing the two and crossing off a checklist in my head;
Most comfortable – both
Most stylish – both
Most supportive – both
Hmm, I am rubbish at making decisions and missed the wise words of Other Half, who always thinks of something that makes me sway one way or the other! I walked round and round the shop with 1 of each shoe on, trying to decide and failing miserably. Sue the Manager came to my rescue by suggesting I run on the treadmill to directly compare which felt more comfortable. It was a genius solution as after 10 seconds, I could tell that the Mizuna’s fit me like a glove.
I paid £85 which I thought was a reasonable price for the trainers, you also get a 30 day guarantee so if you have any problems with them, they will help you find and swap to a better fitting pair.
Best of all, the great advice came free from Sue the Manager. I don’t know if this sort of knowledge is standard in all Sweatshops, but her customer service, attention to detail and, willingness to help us find the perfect footwear for our needs was second to none – I can’t imagine shopping anywhere else for all my future running requirements.
Yesterday, I did the first outdoor run in my new trainers. Despite sporting a freshly burst blister (from work shoes) on each foot, they didn’t rub at all. Imagine if you could jog comfortably in slippers; that would describe the effortless, cloud-like feeling on my Mizuna shod feet!
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