Don’t buy running shoes at the grocery store

Samantha Durnford's new blog "Fashionably Fit" chronicles her search for pink running shoes, and how it helped her get through the "10K wall."

I figured being a runner was just as simple as putting on running shoes (normal ones, not those cool Pumas I wore in high school) and jogging with my iPod.

With a new goal to run a half-marathon this fall, I set out to get some shoes.

I’ve currently never owned a pair of running shoes except old basketball shoes from my glory days and cheerleading sneakers from when I was 17.

I knew that I wanted something that looked cool. Trading in flip-flops for running shoes didn’t mean I would have to give up my sense of fashion. So I had in mind color: pink, obviously. And, I had decided that I wasn’t buying a brand I had never heard of, because that’s never cool.

The task seemed easy enough. As my mom and I browsed Costco for bulk chicken breasts and a cheap box of kitty litter, I looked up to see a $30 pair of running shoes beaming down at me. They were pink, had a brand I knew and trusted, and were in my price range, which was whatever cash I had at the bottom of my purse.


I scooped them up, paid for them, and took them straight home to try them out. I walked around the house and they felt like walking on a cloud. This is probably because years of ballet flats and flip-flops make any kind of shoe with laces feel like a pillow. But, I felt good about my shoes.

Later that night, I set out on my first run which I had planned for about 10K. It went well and I wasn’t out of breath, but my feet and legs felt like rubber.

The next day, again, I ran about 10K and I turned around. My feet felt heavy and my knees didn’t seem to want to work any more. It was as if I had to talk them into taking another step.

I didn’t really think much of the fatigue. My shoes felt comfy, my lungs felt fine, my muscles just must have been out of practice.

But, the next week, when I continued to hit my 10k wall without even being out of breath or tired, I started wondering if something was up, or if I was just doomed.

That weekend, I went to a party and met a girl that had just ran a half-marathon.

I asked her, “Is it normal for my legs and feet to feel like I was walking around the mall all day when I run?”
She asked me what shoes I was wearing and that’s when it hit me. My shoes were buying me $30 worth of run time, if run time could be bought.

The next Monday, I headed to the nearest sport store and dropped some reasonable money for a decent pair of shoes (Asics Gel-Pulse). My old pair might have felt like a walking on a cloud, but compared to these new kicks, they feel like bricks.

I love my new shoes even though they may not be as cool as a new pair of red pumps. I learned that running isn’t about looking good—it’s about feeling good.

Oh, and I’m happy to say that since then I’ve waved goodbye to my 10K wall.

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