As I’ve alluded to in previous posts, I’ve had some running difficulties in the last couple of months. Before I left for Florida I started getting blisters on my big toes. I tried band-aids and tape, but no amount of protection or callusing stopped them from forming. It was annoying, but I kept running. Unfortunately once I got to Florida the humidity and rain didn’t really help the situation. Neither did running on the treadmill, which I started doing after the weather forced me to exercise indoors. So in addition to taping up my big toes every time I went running (I settled on some padded medical tape which worked better than anything else), I bought about half a dozen different kinds of socks to see if that would solve the problem. (Are you starting to see why I had so much more stuff when I left Florida than when I arrived?) I tried a range of running socks from thin Nike socks to padded Experia Thorlo socks to double-layer WrightSock socks. But while it was nice to have a variety to choose from (bonus – some of them were crazy colors!), none of the socks made any real difference in my recurring blisters. It was like a horror story every time I took my shoes off after a run. Let’s just say I used a lot of rubbing alcohol and Neosporin. I was so sick of the blisters and I knew something had to be done. So in the spirit of trying solutions from cheapest to most expensive, I decided I needed to get some new shoes. So shortly after I got home from Florida I went to Runner’s High in Long Beach to get fitted for a new pair. I figured a specialty running store was my best bet to find some good shoes, but I was unimpressed with the “expertise” of the guy who helped me. First he said that he didn’t recommend the shoes I had been wearing for running (Nike Free 5.0) even though Runner’s High had them up on the wall with the other “running” shoes. And I don’t think he paid any attention at all when I told him I have narrow feet. It wasn’t a good experience, but I bought a pair of Saucony Kinvara 4 shoes despite feeling like they might not be right for me. I ran in them five times before deciding that my initial impression was correct. Not only did my right foot get really screwed up because the shoes were forcing me to run on the outside of my foot (just the right one for whatever reason), but I also started getting horrible blisters on my heels. The material inside the shoe was really rough and it just ripped up my skin. And then I couldn’t even keep band-aids on my heels while running in those shoes. Obviously the Saucony’s were not for me. The last time I ran in them was last Sunday and I spent the next week letting my feet heal. I felt like such a slug all week so when the weekend rolled around I knew I had to do something. So when I was at South Coast Plaza yesterday I went to the New Balance store to look for a new pair of running shoes. Fortunately the employees there were a lot more knowledgeable and helpful than the ones at Runner’s High. I got a pair of 890v4’s in a narrow with (one of the great things about New Balance) which are so new that they aren’t even on the New Balance website yet! The associate who helped me watched me walk in a few pairs of shoes and even had me jog on the treadmill a bit to see which ones were best. I felt really good about my purchase when I left the store and I couldn’t wait to try them. So how did they work? Well, I went running tonight and they felt pretty good. No blisters or foot pain, which is a major improvement! I figured I’d have to kiss a few frogs before I found a prince, and it remains to be seen which category these 890v4’s fall into yet, but right now I’m optimistic! I’ll keep you posted.