The difference a shoe makes

I feel the need to vent about this, I'm really upset with my gait analysis experience.

I started out in January with some ON beginner running shoes called Cloudsters which I bought off of the internet and I trained in them for 5-6 months until I hit 10K which I was doing in about 64 minutes, keeping up a pace of just over 10 minute miles with some effort, but fairly comfortably.

Then I decided I needed some better shoes to do half marathon training with, and to run the half marathon I've signed up for, so I had some gait analysis and was recommended a pair of Brooks Ghost 5 shoes. The sales assistant said "I've had to go up to a size 8.5 with these" ... which is when alarm bells should have started ringing. My shoe size is a 7. And somehow 2 years after I'd been told I had a neutral gait I had developed some slight overpronation in one ankle which needed correcting - I couldn't really see it on the video I was shown.

So that was about 2 months ago and I did what I was told, I broke them in gently. Wore them for 15 minutes on a treadmill, around the house, and eventually outside, alternating with the old shoes. But I still get blisters every time I run in them, even when I use plasters/compeed/vaseline. The insides look like they've been made in a south asian sweatshop, just completely unfinished. My overpronating ankle is now my sore ankle - stiff and painful to run on and so is the opposite hip. My average speed has dropped to over 11:07 minutes/mile. To rub salt in the wound, I was charged almost double the online price for them.

So on Friday I'd really had enough and bought another pair of ON shoes - Cloudrunners - they're neutral shoes, for endurance running. First outing in them tonight and I got a PB of 30:46 for 3 miles. about 50 seconds faster than in the other cripplers.

Gait analysis is supposed to help not hinder - I keep thinking it's my fault for not realising that they were too big and buying them, but is it really? Was I just given terrible advice?



  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    I think this goes to back up the theory that many use on here that if you find a shoe that works for you then stick with it.
  • Indeed image I just wish I hadn't stuck it out for so long!


  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    It will be interesting to see how you develop with your new/old shoes... as it's a bit early to be sure you've solved the problem permanently. I'll put down a few thoughts which might look contrary and a bit argumentative.  They are not supposed to be.. they are supposed to help you think your way through to a permanent solution to your problems... so please read them with an open mind.

    One thing that strikes me is the major concern/lack of confidence you get from having been recommended that you get a size 8.5 rather than 7.   For me, that's nearly normal.  My last 3 pairs of running shoes have been Brooks... and I've always been recommended one size up on normal...  and many/most other wearers of Brooks will probably tell you a similar story.  So I wouldn't immediately worry about that - although 1.5 sizes up is more than I'm used to.

    Based on a lot of reading, I do think that some running shop employees are a bit quick to suggest some level of stability shoe, whenever they see a bit of overpronation.  Maybe a bit TOO quick... and alarm bells must quickly ring when you got blistering - presumably the shoes never really felt comfortable?

    But gait can change, I understand - and (playing devil's advocate) it's not impossible that in the 2 years since your last analysis, you had developed some muscle imbalances in the glutes... which affected your gait and might be the root cause of both the hip and pronation problems. This is not an outlandish suggestion, and not something that a typical running shop employee would spot... you'd need a someone like a physio for that.

    And one other thing... people often go to a running shop at a time when they're feeling like taking running more seriously... so new shoes can coincide with increased mileages...  and when niggles arise, it's human nature for the runner to blame them on the obvious new shoes, rather than the less obvious increased mileages.

    But, for all that, the bottom line IMO, is that probably it was just injudicious advice you got...  and hopefully you'll be fine now you're back in a neutral shoe. Time will tell.  Keep us posted!


    For example, it's possible that the introduction of your new shoes coincided with

  • BikoBiko ✭✭✭

    I'm a size 7 and I wore Brooks Ghost 5 (Size 7!) for a couple of years. I think they're brilliant and last year upgraded to Brooks Ghost 6. I love them even more.

    I get half-price running trainers at Sweatshop through my Health Insurance and recently replaced my Ghost 6s with another pair of Ghost 6s. (I didn't want to 'upgrade' to a Ghost 7 as I get on with my 6s very well).

    As Millsy says, if it works for you, continue. I've not even run in my new Ghost 6s because I'm still attached to my (battered and broken) old pair. The day they stop selling Ghost 6s will be a sad day, perhaps I should stockpile in preparation.. image

  • BikoBiko ✭✭✭

    Re: Brooks sizing.

    When I ran in my size 7 Brooks I did get a bit of black toe and they were a bit tight. But that's what I prefer. I was previously running in a size 8 (New Balance) as advised by Sweatshop and my feet were bouncing around in them. But that's me.

    Essentially you have to work out what's right for yourself.

  • Agreed, Nose Nowt - my mileage has increased - it's nearly doubled, and my gait may well have changed, I've lost weight etc. - the injuries could easily have been coincidental. I was mostly miffed about the blistering. Although I haven't been running long, so doing it for 2 hours is only going to magnify small niggles that wouldn't have shown up before.

    Biko - I realise now that I quite like the tighter feeling too. 8.5 was at least half if not a whole size too big for me  

    I'll see how I get on image

  • HappychapHappychap ✭✭✭

    JFI The Ghosts are a neutral shoe. 

  •  perhaps I had them on the wrong feet image

  • Em - concurring with Happychap above - the Brooks Ghost is a neutral shoe, so it wouldn't compensate for any overpronation you may have. Methinks

    a) the chap in the shop had little clue, and

    b) you're getting blisters because either the shoe is marginally too big or it doesn't fit in other ways.

    I wear Brooks - usually one full size more than your normal shoe is fine, unless you are wearing very thick socks (probably not in this weather!). This said, my Brooks connect are 1.5 sizes bigger and I'm very happy with them. 

    Glad your ON shoes are working for you. I'd stick with them and wouldn't worry that they are marketed for beginners. Just make sure you replace them when they start to feel not so good. 

  • BikoBiko ✭✭✭

    This is terrible. I now feel very self conscious about running in the correct sized Brooks trainers.

  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    Hi mercedes...   on what grounds would you say that the chap in the shop had little clue?   I can see that communication with the customer should have been better... but it seems that he sold neutral shoes to someone who had previous good experience with a neutral shoe... and whose overpronation was described as "slight".... which sounds about right to me.

    The issue seems to be more with blistering... which can lead to the runner altering running form to avoid the pain (perhaps hence the stiff ankle and hip)

    I've genuinely have no idea how a shop assistant can be sure that a shoe won't cause blisters (if anyone knows how they assess that, it would be interesting), if the client tells him/her that the shoes feel reasonably OK (I don't know what Em said)   Maybe the problem is with lacing... something that only became an issue after Em left the shop.

    Again, I'm not being deliberately argumentative... I'd be interested in what you think went wrong.

  • XX1XX1 ✭✭✭

    A lot of people just don't believe in ghosts image

  • NN - my understanding when I read the OP was that the shop assistant was recommending (and eventually sold) the Brooks Ghost as a shoe that was suitable for a mild overpronation detected by said person.

    Now - not one for wanting to tar all shop assistants with the same brush, I am sure there are some very good ones out there. However, having been myself at the receiving end of 'advice' by a number of shop assistants that were well meaning but had little clue, I now do my own research on shoes before I hit any shop.

  • I'm annoyed with how it went, but I don't really think it was the shop assistant's fault entirely, which is why I haven't taken the shoes back - I've got half a size bigger than I need and that's what is causing the blistering I think.

    Is it just me who finds it quite difficult to tell from 2 minutes wear on a treadmill how a shoe feels? All I could say was that nothing hurt, or wobbled about too much inside and they felt ok.

    So as you say, mercedes, next time I might have more of a clue and will arm myself with a little more information!

    By the way, the new 'on' shoes felt horrible yesterday on my second run in them - so who knows. Back to the Brooks tonight... I'm alternating between the two while I try to get used to the new ones. 

  • I got a pair of stability shoes from a running shop a couple of years ago when I was told I was overpronating! I tried them once and the outside of both  my calf muscles nearly crippled me. Took them back and they were relucttant to take them as I had worn them. How I was supposed to know they were wrong without wearing them I am not sure!! They did replace them though with a pair of neutral ones and they were fine.

  • Em - it is quite difficult. It isn't always the shop assistants' fault, as you say. They just don't have the training to assess everyone's feet, shoes and gait - they are not trained podiatrists at the end of the day so it probably isn't fair to expect that they should always get it right, when physios and pods often don't.

    I would expect them to know the different types of trainers inside out though, and they ofter don't. Methinks, after having had many bad experiences, that a neutral cushioned shoe can be very bad for someone who overpronates - but maybe that is just me.

    I full agree with you that a 2 minute treadmill jog is a totally unsuitable experience on which to judge a shoe. I have made many mistakes with shoes, even with extensive research - a recent one was a completed waste of money and also cost me a painful shin splint. 

    Ah, the joys of running...

  • I thought so too, it wasn't argumentative, just full of well stated points. As a minor point, the brooks shoes have laces that stay done up without knotting twice which is good! Nothing worse than having to stop to retie laces

  • I'm veering back towards the Brooks shoes after another few runs alternating between them and the ONs. Unfortunately, the ONs are bringing a whole new range of discomfort to the party.

    If only I could stop the blisters. I might have a go at covering up the offending seams with some gaffer tape. 

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