If The Shoe Fits

Going running or walking? Picking the right shoe is critical

The right shoes are a big deal for runners. Courtesy photo

I bought my first pair of running shoes in 2007. I decided that I was running the Houston Marathon. I had no idea what I was doing, so I found a running group to train with (Kenyan Way, because I wanted to be as fast as the Kenyans). The next thing I needed was shoes. So, I went to Lady Foot Locker.

Until then, I bought my shoes at Payless or Wal-Mart, so I was really excited to buy real running shoes. I looked at all the shoes lined on the walls. The smell of leather, rubber, cloth, and whatever else shoes are made of filled my nose. A gentleman came by and asked if I needed help.

At this, I proudly announce:

“I need a pair of running shoes because I am running the Houston Marathon this year!"

He immediately recommends the $200 pair of shoes on the top shelf. I was thinking more like $70. After bargaining and pleading, I walked out of Lady Foot Locker with a brand new pair of Nike Shocks and $160 less in my bank account.

.The next morning, I meet the group for hill running at Allen Parkway. I was so excited. My first time in the runner community and.....

Everyone I met kept looking down at my shoes. Turns out Nike Shocks were the worst shoes to run in because of their heavy soles. That's what I get for going to Lady Foot Locker.

The problem is there are too many shoes and way too many opinions. Who is right and who wants a fat commission on their check? After twelve years and many pairs of running shoes later, I've gotten the whole thing down. So, I made a guide for you first-timers.

1. Buy your shoes at a specialty running store.

(I recommend Fleet Feet). The staff is usually made up of marathon runners who make it their personal business to keep up with running technology. You can also find out about running events.

2. Find the Right Salesperson.

This person should be friendly and patient. They would start by asking about your goals and they should find out about prior running experience that you may have. They would then start the gait assessment.

3. Gait Assessment.

This procedure separates Fleet Feet from Academy and Lady Foot Locker. This assessment is done in two ways:

Manually. The salesperson records you running on a treadmill to see exactly how you run. They are looking at how your foot strikes the ground and how much your ankles move while you run.

FitID. This is new, cutting edge technology. You stand on what looks like a scale. Sensors literally take the topography of your foot. You can tell how high your arches are and which way your foot tends to pronate.(that's the inward or outward roll of your foot when you run or walk. This dictates the type of shoe you need).

4. Choosing your shoe.

There are two things to consider: your shoe type, and shoe style.

Type. There are three types of shoes based on the support you need. Neutral. Stability. Motion Control. This is the whole point of the assessment. Neutral shoes are for people who don't pronate. Stability shoes are for people who do. Motion controlled shoes are for people whose feet are all over the place and need stability.

Style. There should be a vast variety of the lastest shoes. Choose from brands like Nike, ASICS, Saucony, Brooks, Mizuno, Adidas, On, and more. Back in 2007, running seemed like a sport that only middle-aged men in those crazy shorts (you know the ones) participated in. Now younger people have taken up the sport, so running shoe brands have really stepped up their shoe game. Instead of crazy neon orange and greens, you can find knit shoes in the sexy colors like grey, black, navy blue, and pinks. So take your pick. I use a nuetral shoe with good cushioning. Currently, I'm giving the Brooks Ghost a try.

5. Size.

What is your shoe size? If you are a 7 1/2, you would answer 7 1/2, right? Wrong. Your running shoe size needs to be an entire size larger than your regular shoe size. So, if you wear a 7 1/2, then your running shoe size is an 8 1/2. While you run, your foot repeatedly jabs the toe box of the shoe. This extra space reduces unnecessary injuries like your toenails turning black and falling off.

6. Price.

A good running shoe should cost between $120 and $150. If you are squeamish about the price, I assure you, it is totally worth it. Just ask Fred Faour. He bets on his Brooks every single time because his injuries decreased and his times improved once he started wearing them. It's that serious.

7. Final Test.

Try them on and run around. This will let you know if the shoe is right for you. If not, choose another. This is where the salesperson exercises patience.

8. Accessories.

Good accessories will make your running experience go from good to exceptional. Good socks ( about $13) that are dry-wicking, padded, have a high thread count and stay in place are a must. Lock Laces ($8) that never come undone are well worth it.

9. Walkers.

Where are my walkers? Don't feel left out. Running shoes are walking shoes! So, this article applies to you too.

So, what's the whole point to this article?

Don't go to Wal-Mart. Don't go cheap. Do go to a place like Fleet Feet or another specialty store and get treated like a professional runner. Or don't cross the finish line.

Photo courtesy of Fitness in the Loop

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

One Saturday morning, I was out driving around and saw what looked like a yoga class being held at a local, popular bar. I thought, "that is so cool! I'm sure the good people of Houston would love to know where to get their workout on and their drink on at the same time." So, this article was born. I went on the hunt to make a fully comprehensive list of the breweries, bars, and restaurants where you can get a workout. Here goes.

Yoga and brunch at Clutch

​Jovan Abernathy 

Yoga at Clutch

Saturday@ 11am

5334 Washington Ave. Houston, Tx 77007

During the week, Clutch is where 20 somethings and 30 somethings go to enjoy a burger. But come Saturday morning, join Clutch and Fitness In The Loop for an hour long yoga class that is always free. Release the tension of the week and finish with $5 mimosa specials. Enjoy light to heavy fair like avocado toast, greek yogurt, or chicken and waffles.

Watermelon cooler, micheladas, of course, yoga​

Courtesy of Fitness in the Loop

Yoga at Spring Street Beer and Wine Garden

Sundays@ 11am

1920 Houston Ave. Houston, Tx 77007

If you find yourself in the artsy First Ward on Sundays, you can catch yoga with the other hipsters at Spring Street Beer and Wine Garden. Enjoy an hour class of yoga that is always free. Spring Street Beer and Wine Garden has its own food truck waiting to serve you burgers, flatbreads, and tacos after the class. Most people opt for a Watermelon Cooler or a $4 Michelada to get refreshed.

Instagram: @FitnessInTheLoop

​Run, bike, and cross-train at Karbach Brewing 

​Courtesy of Karbach Athletics

Cross-train at Karbach Brewery

Wednesdays @ 7pm

2032 Karbach St. Houston, Tx 77092

We all know Karbach Brewing for Houston beer favorites like Weekend Warrior and Love Street Kolsch. If you are a Karbach fan, you also know that it is a weekend destination with so many activities to offer that you cannot fit them in one weekend. Forget that Karbach has a full restaurant with pub favorites like fish and chips and beer can chicken. Not everyone knows that Karbach has its own athletic department complete with yoga, a running club, and a cross training brew camp in the Biergarten. You can work off those beer calories in the cross training Karbach Brew Camp. $10 gets you in. Just bring a mat and wear comfortable workout clothes. Be ready to sweat and earn that free Weekend Warrior at the end!

Bike Ride from Eureka Heights

Every Third Friday

941 W 18th St. Houston, Tx 77008

You may pass Eureka Heights on your Sunday Funday on 18th st on the way to Mckintyre's. This brewery is known for its fun, approachable session beers. They are responsible for Buckle Bunny Cream Ale and other fun, low alcohol beers like Space Train IPA. Every third Friday, you can come to Eureka Heights and enjoy a 10 - 15 mile bike ride/bar crawl that starts and ends at Eureka Heights. Enjoy $2 off beers and food from food trucks like Curbside Sliders and Riceology.

Run by the Bayou with Sigma Brewing ​

Courtesy of David Lynn

Sigma Brewery Run

Thursday @ 7pm till….

3118 Harrisburg Blvd. Houston, Tx 77003

Feel like exploring the East End? Take a run with Sigma Brewery Running Club. Sigma Brewery is known for their science fiction themed beers like Terminator 2's 08/29/97 IPA. Their running club meets on Thursdays and changes their route often. One week, run around the bayou and the next from stadium to stadium. End back at the brewery for the famous sessionable running beer XPA and play some old school Super Mario Brothers at your own station.

Walk to Harrisburg Art Museum from True Anomaly Brewing with Houston Tourism Gym​

Jovan Abernathy ​

5 Mile Walk from True Anomaly Brewing

Sundays @ 5:30pm

2012 Dallas St. Houston, Tx 77003

Wanna try something low impact and still get a workout. Houston Tourism Gymmeets at the new brewery in Eado, True Anamoly Brewing for a 5 milewalk through Eado. Visit 3 mural posing spots and 2 breweries. Starts at True Anamoly and ends at Rodeo Goat for burgers. Always Pay What You Can! Reserve your spot HERE!

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