Austin Tri-Cyclist Blog

Friday, October 2, 2015

Time for New Shoes?

By Kat Hunter

I bought a new pair of shoes at ATC yesterday, Altra Provision 2’s. I’ve never been a good reviewer of bike frames—they feel good or they don’t, and I can’t really tell you why. With running shoes, my opinion is similarly cut and dry. What I observed with the Altras: They felt very different, which happened to be exactly what I was looking for.

Now that the bike racing season is over and I’m trying to run, I’ve been battling what’s probably a manifestation of my same old hip/lower back issue, this time in my left foot. I’d gotten to the point where I knew I had to do something or give up running altogether. I weighed my options, which ranged from seeing a doctor to changing my equipment. Since “equipment” in running means shoes, that was an easy enough place to start. But which kind?

ATC carries HOKA, ON, Altra, Saucony, Newton, and Zoot brands, all with different selling points and fits. Employee Kimble West guided me through the options when I told him my suspicion, which was that my left foot was turning inward. The Altra Provision 2 is a zero-drop shoe with a good deal of cushioning and a wide toe box. In the past I’ve worn more of a “traditional” run shoe, never something so flat or wide.

I’m almost hesitant to say it worked because I feel I might jinx myself. But it seemed to. On my first two short runs (both on Day 1…I may have gotten a little carried away), I felt pain, but it was different, not the sucking-air-through-my-teeth sharp stab and then limping home, but something mild and manageable, something that didn’t feel like I was tearing or breaking anything permanently. My foot seemed to have more stability.

It could be the placebo effect. It could be just a good day. It could be that many different kinds of shoes would improve things, giving my ankle and foot a different way to move. Or it could be that the Altra was the one shoe, Cinderalla-style, that could change my runs for the better, and it happened to be waiting for me on the shelves of my favorite bike shop.

I guess my point with this long-winded story is that you never know until you try, so you should try. And if the quick fix works, why not take it?

Safety net
All the brands ATC sells allow a 30-day comfort guarantee, meaning you can get store credit for shoes that don’t work out.

Run shoe closeouts & new models
This is good timing to get a deal on older shoes with ATC’s run shoe closeouts, or to try on new arrivals like the Altra Superior or HOKA Clifton 2.  

Weekly run events at ATC
The Hills and Ales run is a new weekly event at ATC (Monday, 6 p.m.), and this week Altra demos will be available for a test run. The group completes a looped hill repeat course in the Bouldin neighborhood, so you can do as much or as little as you’d like and choose your own speed. Afterward everyone meets back at the shop for beers, and this week there will be giveaways, including shoes and (for the first 20 people to arrive for the run) a free Newton Running pint glass. Check out the regular Wednesday night fun run on the Town Lake trail as well, also starting at 6 p.m.

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