Thursday, September 17, 2009
I'd been wearing the same pair of shoes to the gym for over a year. They were a decent pair of Nike running shoes and I quite liked them, but I found that they were starting to wear out.
The Shox in the heels had become compressed. The rubber sole was peeling off the toe on one of them. The black fabric had been stained a patchy white with the salt from last winter and the sweat off my feet. And then there was the smell. Oh God, the smell. A dead body wrapped in burnt bacon is a close match (I think - I've never actually wrapped one of my victims in bacon. Yet. Kidding! Mostly.) So I went online and did a bit of shopping, looking for the replacements.
I've got a few requirements for workout shoes. First, I prefer running shoes. I'll go with trainers if I must, and trainers tend to be a more stable, stiff shoe, but I really enjoy the light weight of running shoes. When you're already overweight, there's no reason to spend money to put heavy bricks over the toes, you know? Plus, the profile of running shoes tends to be sleek, which helps when my body silhouette is a bit, uh... not sleek.
Second, and a corellary to the previous requirement, I prefer the shoes to be made mostly of fabric/cloth, not leather (or a fake pleathery poly-something). Getting fabric on the uppers means that the shoes will get dirty quickly and won't wipe clean the way leather does, but they're light and -- and this is important with me -- they let the feet breathe, so when they're all nestled up in the shoe they don't sweat so much. Because kiddies? I sweat.
Next requirement - cushioning. Look, I've heard that wearing shoes can screw up your body's natural gait by over-cushioning, changing the way you walk. I've also heard that having a flat-soled shoe when lifting weights (especially for things like squats, deadlifts and the hipsled, where there's a lot of pressure in the heel) is superior to not. HOWEVER! I don't much care. I'm heavy. My lower back will get sore and tired when I don't have proper cushioning in my feet. I don't really care what technology the shoe uses to cushion me: air, gel, compression foam, rubber, etc., provided that I'm receiving the cushioning I need.
Finally, I'd like the shoe to be available in widths - my feet are wide. I wear an E-width shoe, which is thicker than the standard D-width of most mens shoes. Again, having a shoe with a wider footbed allows the foot to breath rather than appear to be a sausage in some casing, you know? I wear a 10.5, though I tend to buy an 11 as I can't find shoes that fit both my length and girth. Condoms either. ;)
Well, I found a pair that I thought looked pretty decent, if not slightly over the top, style-wise. They're the Nike Experience. A pair runs $140, which these days is just too pricey to justify. I kept my eye on them though, and sure enough they're now on discount. In fact, once I saw that they were discounted to $90, I decided to go see if they were at the local mall. Turns out they were! AND, they were only $80 there!
Unfortunately, the salesman said that they didn't come in widths other than standard D. Strike one. Also, they were out of size 11 - strike 2! However, they did have a pair of 10.5s in the back if I'd like to try. I hemmed and hawed a bit, looking at other models, then said sure.
WOW! Honest to God, they were the best shoe I'd ever tried on! The top is a stretchy fabric, so my big fat pig feet can push against the sides without blowing out the stitching (yep, it's happened). The cushioning is a combo-platter of the compressed foam Shox with air in the shock column. They were so light! So comfortable!!
Honestly, I can't keep my feet out of them. They're my gym shoes, but I find myself wearing them around the house, and when I'm out on the weekend. I'm sort of kind of thinking about buying a second pair, just because they're so awesome. Oh, and apparently there's some sort of + technology that ties into your iPod/iPhone to record your workouts or time it to music or some such. I have no interest in that (though when I'm on the eliptical I do have my iPhone playing music - eh, don't want to figure it out!), so there's even more reason that these things are sweet.
What kind of shoes do you prefer when working out?