Running Tuesdays: Shoe Size Matters

It was 2007. I had just ran my first 5k. I had the bug.

I had a discount card to the New Balance store in Sarasota from the race goodie bag. No more guessing at buying shoes. I was entering the world of taking running seriously. I had read an article in Runner’s World, similar to this one, that suggested my shoes may be too small. Up to that point, I had always bought the same size (7 1/2 or 8) in every pair of shoes I owned, no matter their purpose. I had determined that I was going to be open minded to whatever the shoe salesman said-not my normal MO.

He did the runthrough of sizing and testing to assess which shoe I needed, then went to bring some options out for me to try. They were all 9s or 9 1/2s. Yeah, I know. I’m sure I had the same “What  Are You Thinking?” look on my face. But I didn’t question. I tried them on. Even went outside and tested them up and down the sidewalk. 

Shocked. Amazed. My feet said, “Who Knew? Well, now you know. Get in there and pay for these sweet things.”

I’ve never looked back. That next week I ran more than my usual times and distances. I felt like a legit runner. Moving forward, I stuck with New Balances for a while, but have since tried Asics, Sauconys, Brooks, Nikes, and Mizunos; the shoe I like most right now is Brooks Pure Flow

As long as it’s a neutral shoe I’m good- in a 9 1/2, please. Shoe Size, most definitely, Matters.

Running Tuesdays: Protecting Your Piece of Art

by Michael Wilder

​In case you haven’t realized this fact, you only have 2 feet. Those 2 feet are the only feet you get. Logic dictates then you should probably take care of them, right? 

Imagine for a second if you had a one-of-a-kind piece of art. The artist created that one piece and no other one exists in the whole world. What would you do to keep this piece of art safe? Would you take insurance out on that piece with some type of monetary value, or would you hire an armed security guard to protect it around the clock? This same logic to keep that one-of-a-kind piece of art safe should be the same with our feet. Like I said, we only get those 2 feet, so the best way to take care of them is with shoes. And not just any shoe but the right kind of shoes!

​To start the process of taking care of your feet it all starts with finding the right kind of shoe. If you head to the internet, there are tons of articles about finding the right kind of shoe for your feet. Those articles range from what type of runner you are in relation to where you strike the ground to how many miles you run in a week. I have used this before http://www.runnersworld.com/shoemine as a launching point, but the best way to narrow in on the right shoe for you is to go to a store that specializes in running shoes. By going to the store, they can give you an idea of what shoe to buy based on some tests they give you. One of the test is watching you run and video recording it to give you a better idea of the shoe needed for your running style. For me, I need a shoe that is neutral with high cushion. A neutral shoe helps absorb impact, relieving pressure on knees and joints. With the combination of having high cushion in the heel area, it helps me cushion the constant impact of my joints and knees. Unfortunately, the high cushion does wear off with the amount of miles you put on the shoe. To offset this, I put in a heel insole to get more miles out of the shoe.

​If there is one bad news in finding the right shoe for your feet in order to protect your 2 feet, that is the price. Let’s face it, finding the right running shoe is expensive. An average price on a running shoes is around $160. One way to offset this is to add an insole to prolong the longevity of the shoe, but eventually you will have to buy a new shoe. Experts recommend getting new shoes around 500 miles. The best way to track those miles is either a running journal or with a running app like runkeeper. Another way to offset the cost of shoes is to buy several year models older than the current one. Like cars, shoes have model numbers and years. You can save a bundle on getting “last year’s” model. Regardless of cost, bottom line is you need to protect that one-of-a-kind piece of art that you have. You don’t need to take insurance out for your feet, just need to find the right “security guard” aka a shoe!

Running Tuesdays: Shoes Matter

by Lorraine Kennimouth-Williams

Are running shoes an important component of running? Some say they are, some say they’re not, and others, well others say “run barefoot!”

First, let’s establish a few truths … to the masses. Shoes matter, and shoes should matter. There are in fact a handful of runners who prefer to run barefoot, but that space is very small. The masses realize that wearing a good running shoe is an essential part of the sport. I am with the masses – I believe “good running shoes” are a necessary evil. 

So, let’s break down the definition of “good running shoes.” I think it is safe to say a good place to start is to run in “running shoes.” I want to make that distinction up front since that is probably one of the first basic steps to take – do not attempt to run in shoes that are made for walking, aerobics, climbing, etc.; find a good running shoe. 

And….it doesn’t stop there; there are many types of running shoes. For instance, we don’t all run the same way. Some of us tend to run more from our heels, others from the inside of the heel, some from the outside of the heel, etc. Some of us are fortunate enough to run from the balls of our feet to our toe – neutral runners. Those who don’t necessary run primary using the ball of the foot – toe and are more prone to “heel striking” could probably benefit from a support shoe. A support shoe is designed to aid in rectifying a certain running style in an attempt to bring the runner back to the ideal form which is considered neutral running. Scientific research has shown that less injuries occur when a neutral running form is used therefore making shoes available to correct all other forms of running. Shoes have been designed for pronation (over-pronation and under-pronation) otherwise known as supination. These are all fancy terms that mean a “non-neutral gait” (please Google terms). 

And …it doesn’t stop there. Whether running neutral or not, running shoes come in different “heights” otherwise referred to in running parlance as “heel-to-toe drop.” This refers to the number of mm between the heel and the toe of a shoe essentially giving it a lift or not. Some shoes have 0 “heel-to-toe drop” suggesting an entirely flat shoe; even though the shoe may have a thick sole, it can still have a 0 drop. I throw the term out there because “heel-to-toe drop” is VERY important to me and the shoes I wear. I require a high “heel-to-toe drop”, the highest being 13mm. I need this because I suffered with strained Achilles for many years and after discovering this “heel-to-toe drop” trait and then switching to a shoe with a large drop, it help me considerably! 

It could take a while before you find the right shoe that works perfectly for you, but with patience and tenacity (which are traits required in running) you will! And when you do, oh wow! You now have an essential element to your running sport. They will be your new best friends.  

There are several other elements to a running shoe that we have not talked about in this article, but one more that I would like to mention before finishing is “custom orthotics.” I personally use custom orthotics. They were prescribed for me many years ago by my podiatrist, and although they have helped, I am now totally dependent upon them. SO… it is my recommendation that unless absolutely required, I would say to stay away from them (my subjective opinion only). Why? Simply because of the level of dependency – if you can help it at all, you’re better off not being a slave to anything that is not available over the counter. It becomes a huge (and expensive) inconvenience. Again, if you need them and they’re doctor recommended, do it; but if you can get away with over-the-counter orthotics or none at all, you have just acquired more freedom.

In summary, are running shoes an important component of running? Absolutely! Take the time to find what works for you. Start with a professional such as a good running store. They have the tools to watch and discern your gait and prescribe [hopefully] the right shoe for you. Once you find the “right shoe,” you will know when you’re in the wrong shoe – your body will react. Your legs will hurt, your knees will ache, your legs might feel like lead; and then, you put “your shoes” back on and it’s as if you’re running on air. Good luck on your search.

God sees, knows and loves you, Ballard

Today is one of those days that makes those “other” days worth it. Our church, First Baptist of Bradenton, has partnered with Ballard Elementary for several years. One way we partner is by providing free services for the students throughout the year. Today, the students could come to the church and receive haircuts, shoes, hoodies and pictures. We do this to show in a practical way that God sees them, knows their needs, and truly loves them.


We love our volunteers. These stylists came from Tampa to be a part of #fbclovesballard.


This student, volunteer and mother share the joy of #fbclovesballard.


This picture of a picture being taken is a great symbol of what #fbclovesballard is all about. May we all continue to do our part in the development of these young men and women’s lives.