Make Your List and Check It Twice
Most all of us have that one person in the family who is the epitome of athleticism. You know the one. Maybe it's the Uncle who gets up every morning at 5:00 A.M. for his four-mile run, or maybe it's the sister who has participated in every 5K race within the span of four counties. For me it would be my oldest brother, who at 46-years-old is healthy as a horse and as strong as an ox. During the holiday season I always try to find him something he can use during his workouts.
A couple of years ago it was a matching pair of gloves and a toboggan that he could wear during his morning run when it was cold outside. Last year it was a pair of ten-pound dumbbells. This year I've decided to replace his worn out running shoes, which might be a difficult task, since he's particularly fond of them, even though they're ten years old, threadbare, and have seen better days.
With the help of retailers like 6pm.com and finishline.com you can find a great pair of shoes for every sport, including running, hiking, and even power walking. Before you put athletic shoes on your Christmas shopping list, however, there are several things you should know before purchasing, as not all shoes are created equal.
Know Before You Go
Do your shopping at specialty stores, like Nike or Foot Locker. Although bigger department stores boast large shoe departments, this doesn't mean the staff is will be able to assist you and help you pick the right pair of running shoes. Specialty stores, however, have staff members who are trained in selling athletic shoes and equipment. Choosing the right store the first time can help save a lot of frustration down the road should you have to return them.
Don't go shoe shopping first thing in the morning. You feet tend to swell during the day, which can aid in giving you a more appropriate size later in the afternoon. And since your feet need ample room for running, make sure the size you buy is half an inch longer than what you normally wear.
While trying on shoes, take them for a spin around the store. No, the employees won't think you've lost your mind if you make a lap or two. (I promise you won't be the first who's done this). How else can you know for sure they're what you need?
Bypass the shoes that promise things like an injury-free run or special "absorbent shocks" that will help you run better and faster. Don't believe the hype. Stick with what you know, so you won't have to deal with headaches later on over a shoe you don't like.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr)