If you are as active as your dog, friends, take heed. Learn from my $100 mistake.
See, there were these shoes in all the magazines last spring. They were Salomon trail shoes, and they were in the craziest colors, and they were made just for women’s feet, and they were magical, and I would set a PR in every trail race ever. They would also bring joy to my dog as he ran along beside my flashing feet. And my friend Robert had a pair of Salomon trail shoes that he adored. I was sold. I ordered them from a web site that compared the fit of my current pair of street Asics with the fit of these Salomon’s. (The site was Rock Creek, in case you’re interested. They were great. This mistake was entirely my fault, not theirs.) Trigger pulled. Shoes were winging their way to my house.
I put them on as soon as they arrived. I wore them all over the damn place. I ran in them. I walked in them. They were beautiful … but not magical. See, there was this thing with the arches. The support in the shoes was just a bit higher than the arch of my foot. It’s fine, I thought. I’ll put so many miles on these beauties that the foam will flatten and the fit will be perfect.
Rock Creek’s return policy is the usual, if not generous. All I had to do was return the shoes in their original box. No harm, no foul. But I didn’t want to return the shoes. I wanted them to work their magic. I wanted to wear those bright colors. I did not want those two small red, sore spots on my arches.
That was in April. It is now October. I have officially given up on those Salomons. I returned to my favorite Adidas trail shoes, the ones I can buy off the shelf with only the quickest of try-ons to see if they changed the fit or design in any appreciable way. They’re fairly cheap, too, so I can thrash them in mud puddles and snow without worries. The Salomons had brilliant no-tie laces, which I already miss, but my feet are far happier in the Adidas.
The lessons here are plentiful: Don’t rely on computer wireframe comparisons for fit. Don’t be afraid to let the pretty shoes go if they hurt you. Don’t let the price of a pair of shoes hang you up on using them despite the sore spots. Don’t fall for the trail shoe porn in the buyer’s guide editions of your favorite running and fitness magazines. And for god’s sake, don’t take all summer to make the decision. Your dog — and your dogs — will thank you.