More running shoes advice needed: So I've... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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More running shoes advice needed


So I've recently bought myself some new running shoes after i posted last week about how uncomfortable my old shoes were. The biggest problem with those old shoes were that they were a size too small because i didn't realise you needed shoes that were slightly bigger than your normal size since your feet swell when you run and for other reasons too.

Now the new shoes i have are the right size but they're still uncomfortable but for a different reason. Since I have a low arch I bought a pair of Karrimor Pace Control running shoes from sports direct since they are supposedly for feet like mine. The shoes have this bump on the sole around the arch of my foot which I think is called the midfoot shank or something and I know it's meant to be there for support etc. but is it meant to feel so uncomfortable? I've tried reading up on it on google but there doesn't seem to be a lot about it though I did read one article about the shank being universally uncomfortable for runners but then you'd think more people would talk about it and yet I've hardly read anyone discuss it.

I know i've only just started this whole running thing and for the most part i'm really excited about it, my w2r1 went quite well yesterday, but the frustration in finding good shoes to wear is really putting me off. I don't want to spend a lot on trainers and to be honest i don't want to have to shop around a lot to find the perfect pair at least for now while i'm jut starting off.

So i guess what I was wondering is if it's normal for running shoes to be a bit uncomfortable at first and if I just have to get used to it. Or if it's uncommon and if i should just buy a different pair. Thanksxx.

13 Replies

Hi AG. I can only speak from personal experience, but no my trainers were comfortable straight away. I went to a shop and got fitted with them after gait analysis. Did you buy your trainers online? I have read someone on this forum recommend decathlon (sorry, can't remember who to give credit). Good luck.

afro-girlGraduate in reply to Hidden

hey mimsickle. I bought the shoes at the store but i guess i kinda rushed trying them on because i felt a bit awkward since the sale guy was right there as i tried on the shoes and stuff and i just wanted to buy the things are leave.

Good to know that it may just be a case of me getting used to the shoes. they are the first proper ones that i've had so i wouldn't be surprised if that was the case.

can i ask if in your experience how long it takes before the shoes start to feel comfortable for you?


If you have a low arch you may find shoes with arch support uncomfortable at first, because they are different. I have proper made to measure orthotics insoles and they took some getiing used to. However i would generally recommend that you get your gait checked and advice with running shoes, to make sure you have the support where you need them. As you have the Karrimor ones now, you can try and persevere and see whether you get used to them.

afro-girlGraduate in reply to dagshar

Thanks for the advice, dagshar. Sticking with the shoes i have now seems like my most likely options, especially since i just want to keep on doing c25k and i don't want to have to put things on pause getting new shoes

I did get a gait analysis done but i didn't buy the shoes that were suggested to me because they were way over my price range. Though I do regret now not asking for suggestions for anything cheaper while I was there :/

I run in probably sub-optimal shoes at the moment, and just live with them. My problem is I have a slightly wide foot. (I used to think it was terribly wide, because that's how it feels when shoes always pinch you, but my foot width is just E, not EE. I know that because I have a pair of normal trainers that are EE, and for a change are a little bit too wide to be perfect.) My trainers are normal width (D), because that's all they had on special on the local Newtons website, and I wanted to try out the Newtons on my sister-in-law's recommendation.

Now "sub-optimal" in these times is drifting toward quite a perfectionist concept. Shoes are so much better than what I've grown up with that even the "bad" ones are pretty good by comparison. What that means in the case of these Newtons of mine is that even being a bit tight, they're comfortable "enough". Maybe that's because I'm used to just having to make do with the nearest fit?

So simply because I do so myself (and I am not you, I realise) I would suggest - certainly at this early stage - that you try not to be too fussy about your shoes. Our feet tend to adapt to our shoes when the shoes aren't a perfect fit, so eventually a certain amount of uncomfortableness will go away if you just neglect your feet for a while, by putting them in sub-optimal shoes. (Of course if the discomfort is too far away from a simple lack of comfort, and too close to painfulness, I'm talking out of my hat - or something).

My idea is to finish the programme on the Newtons, and then to probe backwards a little to find a level where I can get myself up to speed in my New Balance "nice wide shoes without springs". Actually I have a level beyond that in mind, too. I'd like to do at least some running, barefoot. I like running barefoot. To an extent, I grew up barefoot, so it's nothing strange to me. The main problem is it's almost a certainty that I'll kick the skin off the front of a big toe at some stage if I do so, and I seem to remember that hurts quiet a lot. Thorns are also not nice if they manage to get themselves in too deep. However, we have beach here, so I don't need to do the "barefoot kid in the veld" version of barefoot running, I could go for a more "surf lifesaver" version, where one's toes stay intact. And then later if I do hit the paths, those "gorilla feet" look quite fine to me (although those not enjoying wearing them are welcome to think whatever they like about how they look, just so long as they're not bitchy about it).

That's getting to be a long story that has little to do with your sore feet, and the blister-builder shoes those sharks sold you. :-) What I'm trying to say is that it seems to me a good goal to have an ultimate aim of becoming reasonably "trainer-independent". You would sometimes put on a hair shirt, run with the old shoes as a pennance, and flog yourself on the back as you went. Then on other days, you would put on the new ones for a more moderate form of hardship on yourself (but maybe you adapt to them, even). And why not one day have the occasional barefoot day? Teach your feet to adapt themselves to your wishes, so to speak.

Just an alternative to the good/bad shoe evaluation mode, that's all.

afro-girlGraduate in reply to gary_bart

I think i really needed to hear that i shouldn't be too fussy. I can be a bit of an idealist and I just want c25k to me perfect because i've read how amazing it is for loads of people on this forum and i really really want that for me so this whole shoes thing is really getting me down because this idealised vision i have is not living up to expectation.

I'll just stick with my shoes and just get on with running and unless they cause any serious damage i'll leave getting new shoes for later on.

gary_bart in reply to afro-girl

Excellent! :D Obviously you need the good sense to keep open the option of trying to fix damage that's starting to look serious by trying new shoes (as you have), but you might find that ultimately you have several modes of running, depending on which of your shoe collection you're using on the day to some extent. Either that, or one day you find the perfect shoe.

To be perfectly honest about those Newtons of mine, at the end of today's run my toes were not very happy people. They've recovered a bit from the numbness now, so I'm again reasonably satisfied with my shoes.

At the doctor's yesterday the nurse told me she ran a first aid station at the iron man competition down at the beach last weekend. One of the guys fell at the end of the cycling section, broke his arm near the shoulder, but first ran the 20 km running section before he had it seen to. That might be tough, but it doesn't sound very sensible to me. There's always a balance, somewhere.

I hope the current shoes manage to settle in, and you get to enjoy your runs more, anyway.

DrBobKGraduate in reply to gary_bart

If you want to experiment with that oxymoron 'barefoot shoes' I'd reccomend trying Freet 4+1 minimalist running shoes. Pretty similar to running barefoot but with a bit of protection for toes and soles. Much, much cheaper than Vibram Fivefingers (I paid £24 from StartFitness). I like them so far.

gary_bart in reply to DrBobK

Thanks. I've bookmarked their page. I'll probably be a while before I do something like that (basically when it starts becoming a schlepp to go all the way to the beach to run, I suppose), but it's always good to know the options. I did once actually try to put on a gorilla foot, and was surprisingly difficult, so something that looks easier to put on and take off like the Freet (and reasonably priced, too!) is definitely interesting.

It's also very tempting to just push the limits of actual barefoot running. We've got a beautiful newly laid main road through our suburb, and I've already had the luxury of running barefoot down it, and maybe if I just hit it at 5 am, I can just run on that one day. (I'll have to run up and down a few times to get in a proper run, but that would actually be all right).

Never buy from Sports Direct. I had a similar experience last year and when I took the trainers back they refused to give me a refund. I then looked at lots of running sites and found that the

majority of runners avoided anything from there like the plague. I eventually gave the credit note they gave me to my partner. I have a lovely pair of Asics after going to a proper sports shop. Hope that helps.

mcgurranhouseGraduate in reply to SacredandBound

You should have heard the hissy fit my daughter had after going to sports direct recently. She went in and told the "running expert" exactly what she wanted - Asics, support, running on roads etc. He suggested a pair of Karrimor running shoes, told her they had a running group for beginners like her and that she would only have to run for a minute at a time (she has already done 5 parkruns) and the biggest selling point in his estimation - wait for it - wait for it - they come in pink!!!

She was livid!

Thing is afro-girl, I don't think you're being too fussy because it's important you feel comfortable when running.

I've bought 5 pairs of trainers (over the last couple of years) and two of them felt 'odd' at first (one pair online, one pair in the shop). One pair felt like the arch was too high once I got them home (they'd felt amazing in the shop but I think I loved how they looked so much I ignored any faults!) so I didn't wear them initially then I just decided to go for it (coz they cost ALOT) and they were great and I even forgot what I thought the problem was!

The other pair felt too tight at first so I didn't wear them too much, but I gave them an outing the other day and they too felt great ( they were a lot cheaper).

So I think you just have to keep going in your Karrimors and see how you fare, there's every chance you'll adjust to them but if you notice too much discomfort or new niggles that don't disappear, you might have to rethink.

Good luck, I really hope they settle in and you continue to enjoy your running.

Hey Afro Girl

I'm afraid I kind of disagree with some of the guys here in that, if your shoes are that uncomfortable, I think you should start again I'm afraid. I had a similar experience when I first started and have ended up with a hip issue as a result because of the way my body reacted to the discomfort in my feet. I'd recommend going to a specialist running shop and getting some advice on shoes to suit you. If you're going to take the C25K seriously, you really don't want to end up with long-term issues as a consequence of bad shoes - believe me! Good luck😀

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