The Surprise of Superfeet
For the past couple years I’ve been running in Nike Zoom shoes and whatever the current model is of that shoe. Recently it was time to replace my Nike Zoom Vomeros as they were well past their mileage. I went to my local Fleet Feet store where I’ve bought my other shoes and some gear and was on a mission to try to branch out from the Nike shoe family.
As is the normal shoe-buying procedure at Fleet Feet I first talked with one of the employees about the type of running I do, how many average miles I log weekly, the previous shoes I’ve had, and answered ‘no’ to the question of whether or not I’ve had any particular aches or pains. Then we went through the shoe sizing routine and despite the fact that my feet come in around a size 9, I’m quite comfortable in a size 10 shoe. When I stood up so the employee could check out the arch of my foot I was surprised when he told me I had barely any arch in my feet. I’d never heard this before.
He asked if I’d ever run in inserts. I had not. We chatted a bit about inserts, their benefits, reasons for their use, and the process of breaking them in. I did admit that toward the end of longer runs, usually by mile 16 I do feel the run through the bottom of my feet. They simply just hurt. Nothing out of the ordinary but I have to imagine it’s a normal running pain that when your feet get tired they hurt. The employee told me that inserts can help with this feeling. I said I’m happy to try a pair and he pulled a set of Superfeet Insoles out and made sure they were fit to my feet and shoes. I was surprised to see the obvious extra support that the inserts had versus the insole that came with the shoe; there was truly a dramatic difference.
I did a test run around the parking lot to see how they felt and it was admittedly strange. The Superfeet inserts that I got were a more rigid insert than the original insole and so it was a feeling of “having something in my shoe.” After learning that I would need to break them in I assumed they would get to the point where I didn’t notice them. My first run with the Superfeet was an easy 4-miler. Then an easy 7. I had a run of 10 miles at marathon pace, then an easy 4, and finally finished the week with a 20 mile LSD run. Really after the second break-in run I stopped noticing the inserts. And on the 20-miler what I noticed was an obvious lack of pain in my feet that I have felt previously. This is not to say that my feet didn’t get tired and that I didn’t feel each footfall toward the end, but I know it didn’t hurt nearly as much as before the Superfeet.
My understanding is that you don’t have to be archless to use inserts. If you’ve ever felt that slight stinging pain running through the bottom of your feet toward the end of long runs, an insert might be the simple solution you need!