EVER FELT LIKE YOU DON'T HAVE A SOLE?
Your feet aren’t the only ones who suffer from those tormenting pains. Having shoes with insoles that are old and deteriorating can cause muscle aches and pains all over. Your feet, ankles, shins, hips, back, and more can all be affected by degrading insoles/shoes. I’ll share with you some tips to save the soles of your feet. First, however, I’m going to backtrack to my running days... (see what I did there?).
I started my running journey with 100% flat feet that gave me some common running injuries. I was referred to a running store, Fleet Feet, to find some inserts and shoes that would support my arch-less feet. They videoed me running on a treadmill and told me that I had some overpronation issues. In English, my feet rolled inwards/downward when I ran. Common for individuals with flat feet. All the running on my flat feet caused me to develop shin splints, Achilles tendinitis, and misalignments of the bones in my feet. It was hard to walk at times and I was out of running for months. I was in excruciating pain, as were those around me as I tend to become unbearable when unable to run. It’s noteworthy to add that some people tend to roll outward with their feet and that is called supination. There are specific inserts and shoes that can correct either of these painful conditions.
Once it was determined I was living a flat life, I was fitted with some incredible running shoes. For varying distances or surfaces I’m training on, I use different shoes including New Balance, Saucony, Asics, Brooks, and Hoka. I’ve run in a couple of brands over the years and would recommend all I’ve listed, just make sure they are a great fit for you. Certain shoes are engineered to be: more fitted to your foot, give you more room, offer varying degrees of support, balance, more comfort, lightweight, etc. Some shoes are manufactured for long, mid-range, or shorter distances, trails, roads, tracks, or numerous terrains.
It’s also good practice to track the mileage you are putting on your shoes. Running shoes should never be a year old, absolutely no birthdays allowed. Exercising in shoes that are old and deteriorating can cause aches and pains all over. When my shins start to hurt I always know it is time to retire my shoes. My Garmin watch automatically tracks the mileage I put on my shoes. Meaning, I can look at my Garmin Connect app at each pair I’ve ever tracked and know about how many miles I can get out of each brand. *spoken in a stern motherly tone*--- “You have to take care of the only pair of feet you’re going to have for the rest of your life.” (Thanks mum for making sure I learned that). ((But seriously, bless)).
Then something miraculous happened, I was fitted to wear a Blue Superfeet insert in my running shoe. They are sorted by color, dependent on the type of support they offer. They can also be fitted into cycling shoes which ensures proper body mechanics. My knees tended to shift towards the frame of my bike and my Superfeet helped to correct my form. I also purchased a half size insert that lays at the heel of your shoe and can be easily moved to any casual, everyday shoe. I became religious about wearing my half size inserts in every pair I owned.
Against my better judgment, I stopped wearing high heels as they tended to flare up my Achilles tendinitis. Those devils. But, I love running more than heels. These inserts were heaven sent and the soles of my feet were enjoying the feeling of redemption. Salvation to my surprise was a triple-pronged approach, taking the form of shoes, inserts, and socks.
Let me sock it to you straight, your sock material may be ruining your shoes. Most everyday socks are made of cotton that can wear holes in the fabric of the insides of your shoes. Changing the integrity of the shoe, which can leave you sporting those blasted blisters on the back of your heels. Cotton also traps moisture and leaves your skin feeling damp. Too much moisture can leave you with some funky foot fungi. The sole-lution? Moisture-wicking socks. The material wicks away moisture from your feet and keeps them dry. There are many popular sock brands, Balega, Swift Wick, Feetures, CEP, etc. The first time I wore Balega socks my life changed. I finished a long run and peeled off my socks, the socks were soaked, and my feet were dry. These brands of socks are made from varying materials that do not rub the insides of your shoes into early retirement. I dare say the type of sock you have is just as important as the type of shoe you’re in.
What are the two things that you will be able to find in every pair of my running shoes? (Besides my feet) Moisture-wicking socks and my Superfeet. Every, single, pair. I only buy shoes with the addition of inserts and vice versa. I do not celebrate shoe birthdays and my feet have never been happier.
Fast forward from my very first trip to Fleet Feet about eight years ago, and my soles have been nurtured. I now stand proudly and tall-ly on arches! That’s right! Thanks to my avoidance of high heels and dedication to my inserts and shoes, I have arches, talk about runner’s high.
by Simuka Dittmer, Siren Luminary
Follow Simuka on Instagram @simushu