She knew that it was time for her to get some new cross-training shoes, but she wasn't sure where to start. She talked to me (Work For Your Beer co-founder Alicia Thomas) about it, and I tried to think back to the last time I got new running shoes... Then realized it was two years ago for me, too.
A quick Google search told me that you should replace your shoes after 300 to 500 miles of use. For a runner doing five three-mile runs per week, this comes out to about every six months. Clearly, Mel and I were pretty behind on our sneaker buying responsibilities.
So, we decided to put ourselves in the hands of the experts. We met up with Mike Moran of Charlotte Running Company in Dilworth so he could help us each find the right pair of shoes to fit our specific needs.
Step 1: Measuring Your Feet
To kick off the sneaker selection process, Mike started by measuring our feet with a Brannock device. If you're nodding along but thinking, "What in the world is a Brannock device?" just know that Mel and I said the same thing, and as soon as Mike pulled the device out, we both said, "Ohhhhhh." Because it's precisely the same foot measuring apparatus you've been seeing at shoe stores since you were a kid, that your parents have seen since they were kids, etc.
He started out with Melanie. When she was sitting down, her left foot came in around a size 8.5, but standing, it came in at a 9. Her right foot, on the other hand, measured a 9 while seated and a 9.5 when standing. The width of her foot was a 10 when standing, too. Mike said they find that it's pretty standard for one foot to be larger than the other!
When Mike measured my feet, I came in at a 7.5 when standing on both feet... but a 6.5 seated on my left foot, and a 7 seated on my right foot. However, the width of my foot measured at an 8 when standing.
They typically proceed with the largest number that they find, so Mike brought out shoes in an 8 for me and a 10 for Mel. The first pair that he brought out would simply be a "test" pair that we would lace up and try out during the next step of the shoe selection process, which brings us to...
Step 2: The Treadmill Test
Now that we had our test shoes on, it was time for part two of the process. Mike brought us over to the treadmill and told us that he would use an iPad to record each of us running for about 30 seconds.
Then we would play back the video, first in regular motion and then in slow motion, to watch for a few different factors that could determine what type of sneaker might be best for us.
We each ran for 30 seconds, then watched the video playback with Mike as he pointed out factors like dorsiflexion (the backward flexion of your foot when it lands on the treadmill), pronation, closed or open stance, and more. He also paid close attention to what our ankles were doing as we ran, along with our legs and spine, so that he could base his shoe selections on our biomechanics.
Step 3: Trying On & Choosing Your New Shoes
Once we went through steps one and two of this process, Mike had all the information that he needed about our feet to bring us out a selection of shoes in our sizes that would fit each of our needs.
He brought out about half a dozen shoes for each Mel and myself to try on, and we laced up each one and took laps around the store to determine whether they were comfortable or not.
Mike made sure to mention to us that how the shoe feels when you try it on is pretty much how it's going to feel for the next three months. As technology has advanced, we've gotten to the point where hypothetically, you should be able to take your shoes right out of the box and run as far as you normally would that same day. Mike actually did exactly that when he ran the Boston Marathon, buying a pair of new sneakers and running in them right of the box, and he said he ended up with no more blisters than any other marathon he's ran in the past!
Mel was looking for something that would match all of our Work For Your Beer gear, but that was still a funky, colorful, and generally happy-looking pair of shoes. Mike found something that was just right: a pair of fun, bright, coral-colored Adidas that fit Mel's foot perfectly in a 9.5 rather than the 10 we expected.
Then there was boring old me, looking for something completely neutral that would match basically every item in my wardrobe, because I have commitment issues when it comes to adding color to my outfits.
Then he let us in on a secret: these shoes actually don't even come out until Memorial Day Weekend, and the only reason Charlotte Running Co. even has them is because they're a Nike Power 40 Partner.
What does that mean, exactly? Well, it means that they're one of only 40 stores nationwide who even has these shoes until the end of May! Can you say baller status?
Bonus Steps: Drinking Beer & Petting Dogs
While we were making our final footwear decisions, another customer popped her head into the store and asked, "Are y'all dog-friendly?" To which Mike answered, "Yes, ma'am, we are!"
In fact, not only is Charlotte Running Co.'s store dog-friendly, but they even have dog treats behind the counter for when someone's furry, four-legged friend drops by. So, naturally, we used said treats to get this gorgeous girl to pose for a photo.
And of course, we were already very excited to come to Charlotte Running Co. for this whole shoe-purchasing experience because we knew that they had beer on tap. We're (obviously) avid proponents of working for your beer, so we figured that it would make sense to order a cold one after a few rounds on the treadmill!
Mike was happy to pour us Blue Blaze's Yellow Blazer, and we were happy to drink it.
If You Need New Sneakers, Go See a Professional
There are actually five total Charlotte Running Company locations for you to check out, which are: