Wanted: Better shoes (and feet)

Wanted: Better shoes (and feet)

This is a running blog. Why, you might rightly ask, is there no running yet?

The short answer is, I have some foot issues that are going to take another week to figure out. Since more than half the emails I've received since I began this blog mentions the importance of getting the right shoes before you start running, I figured we could talk about it in the meantime.

If you want the longer - and, at times, grosser - answer, stick around for the beginning of Feet Week at Zero to Twenty-Six.

My wife, in my somewhat expert opinion, hates exactly one thing about me: My feet.

The reason she hates my feet is that my feet are disgusting. I don’t know why my feet are so revolting, but they are.

Case in point.

As I’ve mentioned already, we lived in China, so we took a trip to Thailand in February for Chinese New Year -  Spring Festival, as they call it, because why would the Chinese call it Chinese New Year? We don’t around saying “Happy American New Year!" - and spent five days on an island called Koh Samed.

On this island, there are women who spend their days walking the beaches, filing the dead skin off tourists’ feet.

(Side note : They have to pay off the local Powers That Be to the tune of two months’ salary for the right to walk the beaches, filing the dead skin of tourists’ feet.)

One day, as you'll see in the picture at the top, my wife convinced me to spend the equivalent of $10 and have one of the women go to work.

If the woman touching my disgusting feet didn’t have to hide her face from the sun, you would see that she was literally laughing out loud. This was after she’d called over two other women - again, women who work on dozens of feet every day, seven days a week - to have a close look and a hand-over-the-mouth laugh at the state of my disgusting feet.

Two weeks later, they were back to awful. The journalist in me wants to post a picture of their current condition, but the merciful human in me will refrain from doing so.

This is all a long-winded way of saying, I’m going to buy some good shoes before I start running. For the past couple weeks, I’ve been working out on an elliptical at the gym with a pair of five-year-old high-tops (which my wife and cat both hate).

The author's cat, Colbert, examines his shoes with curiosity and distaste.

Help me out.

In my mind, I need something breathable, something with good arch support and something that - if this is even a thing - will go easy on my calf muscles.

I’ve tried to take up running a few times, and I run (PUN!) into the same two problems every time: my calves get extremely tight, and my feet feel something between tingly and numb.

(That’s why there’s been no actually running so far, and why I have a podiatrist appointment Tuesday. I’m hoping he’ll give me some answers I can write about on Wednesday, and that I’ll be able to use that info to go shopping on Thursday for a post on Friday.)

But, this blog isn’t just about me - it’s supposed to be a building-block for people who are taking up running, or are already runners and can tell me and the other rookies what to do.

So, runners, how about some feedback?

As with everything, I’d like to get the most bang for my buck. Am I missing any other key component in running-shoe shopping? How important are good shoes to maintaining a successful program? Should I just go cheap to begin with, then see how my body reacts before investing in something serious? Do you have a specific regimen for breaking in a new pair? Do you have separate shoes for training and racing? Where do you shop?

(KATU isn’t paying for any of my equipment, just for the record. I don’t know if they would or wouldn’t - I didn’t ask, and I don’t care. I want this to be about people trying to run, not about people sponsored by TV stations trying to run. Obviously KATU is giving me a platform to write about it, and I’m probably going to get access to people I otherwise wouldn’t, but the whole thing becomes kind of unrelatable if my boss is writing $600 shoes into the 2014 budget.)

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Dustin_L_Lane or email dlane@katu.com.