About 5 years ago I started getting a lot of pain in my heel and under the arch in my foot. This was before I was a regular runner and I weighed a lot more than I do now. After taking up some exercise and getting some excellent advice from the utterly brilliant guys at the Tortoise and Hare Running Shop in Cranleigh http://www.tortoiseandthehare.co.uk/ they suggested my problem could be plantar fasciitis and suggested using a product called superfeet.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot is overstretched or overused. It is usually caused by tight calf muscles.
My pain was solved over the next few days by wearing the superfeet and I always wear them in all my shoes all the time. When I started my proper off road running I started a love affair with Montrail Highlander running shoes. Best grip ever, super comfy over long distances, just right for my gait. Nothing else came close....... they were amazing.... We fell in love. I thought all running shoes were good, It just never occured to me at the time that I had fluked and found 'the one' first time.
|my first love|
My relationship with Highlanders lasted about 3 years. We ran in all weather, all terrain, we frollicked abroad in the mountains of Switzerland and the Deserts of Egpyt, across the Plains of Spain and the Highlands of Scotland. I never looked at another shoe, was never unfaithful and each time I got a new identical pair every 4-5 months the new pair went on like an old friend.
They never let me down, never lost grip, never fell apart. I thought they would never leave me.
The Bad Times
Then, the news came like a bullet to my heart. The montrails were leaving me. They had ceased production of this shoe, would never make it again and were to eventually pull out of the UK market altogether. I panicked.....I even bought the last few remaining pairs from anywhere I could get them, I genuinely think I bought and wore out the last size 8 in the UK about a year ago.
After that my life was never the same. My pain slowly crept back and with it a distinct feeling that nothing would be the same as my 'first' and only love. I tried a pair of Walsh running shoes. 'Made in the UK', a 'proper fell shoe'. They were a total load of bollocks and fell apart after 5 weeks. I tried others, all in the £90 mark. All crap. not enough grip, still got the pain, wore out fast.
These one run stands started to get me down, I felt unfulfilled, dreamt of a long term steady running relationship again.
Eventually after a pair of Brooks trainers lasted 6 weeks and frankly pissed me off running in them I decided enough was enough. I needed professional advice.
I had a problem and my footwear promiscuity wasnt helping.
I went to see Karen Knightly at Foot Mechanix in West Byfleet last week. http://www.footmechanix.co.uk/ The way I saw it I was still in pain and I needed relationship counselling between me and my trainers.
The Doctor will see you now
Over a very intensive analysis Karen looked at my gait using high speed video on a running machine, assessed my lack of stretchyness and looked back over my past footwear history and current foot relationship to understand what was going wrong and suggest my new ideal partner.
She never judged me, she never made me feel slutty.
Even when I told her the distances I run in a week and the number of different pairs I'd tried in the last year....she didnt show any sign of shock or disgust.
She gave me a series of exercises, approved of my new use of a night splint to help stretch out my calf overnight and ran my gait analysis through a massive database which then churned out a result for the perfect off road running shoe for me. According to her printout there was the right partner out there for me....and their name was Brooks Trailblade.
It turns out I do not have a poor gait. I am almost perfect. I ever so slightly underpronate which seems to be totally cured by the superfeet. This means that after my 'montys' I was asking for trainers in the shop for someone with plantar fasciitis and getting what i asked for .....trainers with heavy pronation adjustment in them. I had OVER compensated for my minor ailment and sent my feet the other way by combining heavy support shoes AND the superfeet.
|the new love of my life ?|
My Future Relationship
My New shoes arrived in the post today and at £45 they are HALF the normal price I am used to paying for running shoes. This means the consultation cost of £150 with Karen will pay for itself in the next 9-12 months AND the pain should go away over the next few weeks. Its a win win for me.
Are the Trailblades brilliant? dunno yet. First thing I notice out of the box is how similar they feel to Montys. Same 'flat' running base with almost no arch. same wide foot and grip width. similar colour. Very strong base that is almost impossible to fold. Ill blog again in a few weeks about it and hopefully be pain free. Whatever happens, no matter how good these new ones are....you never forget your first love.
|good times- RIP Montrail Highlanders 2007- 2010|