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As I intend to run the Columbus Marathon this year and I’ve put 350 miles on my New Balance 759 shoes I decided it was time to get some new shoes.  Roadrunner Sports do a good deal with a 90 day return policy on shoes if you are a vip member and also have a guide online that helps you determine what shoes would be best for you. Going through the website I ended up as a Stable runner, high arch, 11.5D shoes. I shortlisted my options to the New Balance 890, Ghost 4, Wave Rider 13 or Asic Gel 1150 or 1170’s.

As they also have a store in Columbus, I went over to see what they had in stock and to try the shoes on as I wanted to ensure I had some comfy good fitting shoes.

Arriving in store they got me to take shoes and socks off and initially I was measured for shoe size and they matched the 11.5D size that I already knew. I then stood on a mat and they used the computer to work out my arch form and where my center of gravity was. The arch’s were high (funnily enough I used some brown paper and water to work this out – they used a computer) and my weight was slightly to the right and rear – the same as Wii fit. Then they got me to run on the treadmill barefoot whilst they videotaped the running form. I was pleased to see my feet were straight and my achilles heel had a slight flex but not too much. I was not pleased to see that I was heel striking though but I think that was mainly due to running barefoot as opposed to shoes – I’m not sure but I don’t think I heel strike too much.

Next they got me to stand on some shoe liners which they then moulded to my feet as I leant backwards and forwards. This took some time and seemed a bit gimmicky to me and I was waiting for the sales pitch but it didn’t arrive yet.

After reviewing the results with me on the big screen the assistant handed me off to someone else to get shoes. I was a bit surprised that I was handed off to someone else but they discussed the findings (they recommended Neutral Plus for the marathon running) and the guy went off to get some shoes.

The first ones he came back with were the latest New Balances but the 11.5’s were too big and sloppy and unfortunately the 11’s were too small. After trying those shoes on I then had to wait whilst the guy dealt with another customer – it was somewhat irritating not having someone dealing with me all the time, but it did give me chance to jump on the treadmill and run a bit to see what the shoes would feel like.  I couldn’t actually tell the difference between the shoes with the shoe liner and the ones without so I didn’t bother to try the liners with the rest of the shoes and it was nice to not have a hard sell on them (although he did manage to flog a pair to the woman who I was sharing the assistant with).

Next were the Nike Vomero’s. They were awful. They looked butt ugly, very plasticy and the ridge where the shoe bends on your toes felt like it was going to chisel its way down the top of my foot. Next up were the Asics Nimbus 14’s – they were ok – but I wasn’t 100% happy with them but they were the best so far.

Next was the Mizuno Enigma – they were weird and I don’t think I even got to run in them – the front of the shoe curls up pretty drastically and I could feel my toe’s being pulled up – wearing those for 26.2 miles would make me feel like I was running in elf shoes.

After that he went out to the back room and came back with the Brooks Glycerin 10’s. Putting the shoes on – they felt extremely comfy and then running in them was great – Getting off the treadmill he asked me how I felt – “These are the ones” I replied and he laughed and said “You sound very definite on those”. He gave me the box, told me to tell the checkout who helped me and let me go on my way. Interestingly enough, the blurb on this shoe states it has “full-length Brooks DNA midsole customizes cushion to your individual stride” which is yet another reason I didn’t need the Roadrunner foot insoles.

I then took the opportunity to look around the store and grabbed a foam roller and some Body Glide (although I think my recent chafing issues are caused by the particular shorts I was wearing as I’ve only had issues when I’ve worn the same pair). I was also looking at Nuun and Guu tabs for drinking but didn’t purchase any as I don’t carry a 16oz water bottle. I’m not actually sure how much water fits in my Amphipod water bottle belt but I normally drink it all on a Saturday run. Also neither of these tabs had prices on them and one of the Nuun containers had the bottom broken and the tablets were exposed – a bit disconcerting that the stock wasn’t really being looked after. Do any of you use Nuun or Guu drinking tablets and if so what do you prefer?

Checkout took forever – there were 3 people in front of me and about 2 behind me but it took at least 10 minutes before they even added another person to the checkout. At checkout they asked if I was a VIP member, I wasn’t and they tried to sell me the membership for $20. However the website has it for $1.99 and I had printed off the shopping cart. They changed the membership to $1.99 with no problems and I then got my “discount” on the rest of my items. They were also doing an offer of a $10 coupon if you donated to a handbike for children charity but what they didn’t mention was that you had to spend $50 or more on your next purchase. I also got a $10 coupon for my next purchase of $75 for signing up as a VIP reward member.

All told I got $35 discount off the items – not bad for a $2 outlay although I was annoyed this morning when I got a 20% discount coupon in the post, but that is about what I saved anyway.

The Glycerin is a pretty new shoe and the Roadrunner price seems pretty competitive (they do have a price match policy) so it was a good choice to buy my shoes from them. I think if you know the shoe you want, then its basically a price comparison between Roadrunner and Running Warehouse – the advantage of RW is that you don’t have to pay tax unless you are in California which can save you about $10. I think the choice of shoe was pretty limited compared to online shopping and you really are at the mercy of whatever shoe the fitter brings out. No prices are ever discussed for shoes so it was a bit of “HOW MUCH?” when I went to check out – but if they keep my feet safe in my Marathon training it will be worth it.

Update: For what it’s worth I was not impressed on their inaugural 3.5 mile run. Left toe box was tight, rubbing on the inside of the left foot and it felt like my right foot was slapping on the pavement with each step.