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The Shoes.

10 May 2016

I have a peculiar and irreversible injury in my foot: a Morton’s Neuroma. It’s a nerve problem in the foot that causes several annoying sensations not unlike hitting your funny bone. Pain isn’t the right word, but there isn’t really a right word. It’s definitely unpleasant. Luckily, I have found a solution for my problem.

The HOKA ONE ONE shoe “Bondi 4” works for me. It’s heavily cushioned and very wide. That’s the real key. I run with my shoes wide and loose, so that they don’t put pressure on the nerve. This is good enough to keep it from zapping at me. Sometimes I try to run in other shoes, and in a mile or two my foot is rebelling. It’s really awful.

I live in fear of HOKA changing their design for the Bondi 4. I will buy 10 pairs of the old stock f they do, so that I have lots of time to find another option. But they just came out with another new shoe which is supposedly also on a wide-frame. The Clayton. I’m going to buy a pair and see if I can run in them without irritating my foot.

There are various treatments if the neuroma gets worse, but for now it’s very manageable. One thing that exacerbates a lot of foot problems that isn’t intuitive is shoe tightness. I always used to think that if my shoes were slipping or I felt a problem with my feet, I needed to lace up my shoes better, to make them an “extension of my feet”. That’s not true.

Shoes should be loose and spacious. Our feet don’t need to be compressed. The foot is well-designed by nature to sustain us running. We need our shoes to liberate the foot to do its job while protecting us from road hazards. We don’t need the shoe to compress our feet to the point that we’re trying to run on inflexible blocks.

That’s why it’s worth it to find shoes that really work for you. It can be expensive, and it can be time consuming. But finding the right shoe for your foot and your needs can really make a difference in how enjoyable a good run in. Most running stores have a treadmill. Try things on, and use it. but if you’re like me, you might not know until the 5th mile of a run if the shoes are a real match.

That’s why if you can afford to, buy the shoes you think are right, and run in them. If they don’t work, bring them back. Most running stores will accept returns of shoes without much visible wear. But I need to wear them enough that they’re not really returnable. In which case, if I buy a shoe that doesn’t work, I’ll have to donate them to charity and take my lumps. I’m fortunate that I can do that.

I’ll give the new Clayton a try, because it’s supposed to be a light, fast shoe. But if it doesn’t work, I’ll fall back on my Bondi 4s without a worry.

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