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Up to tempo
Discover the right shoe for your fitness regime

Photos by Dan Bishop

September  2014

Nike Air Zoom Fly and Nike Air Zoom Pegasus: A pocket of air is strategically located, depending on where your foot strikes the ground. According to shoe tech John Kashian at Rodiez’s Running Store in West Allis, those who run up on their toes (such as elite high school and college runners) would want the Fly; heel-strikers would do better with the Pegasus.

If you missed out on the running boom of the 1970s, you can still be a trend-setter. The sport is exploding in popularity once again.

Thanks to a dazzling selection of shoes, runners nationwide spent a record $3.09 billion on footwear in 2013, up from $2.32 billion just three years earlier. Local running stores are on top of all the trends.

New Balance Minimus Trail v2: If you want a lightweight, minimalist shoe for the trails, here’s one with a 4mm drop. "The sole is very durable, but it’s extremely flexible," notes Chapman.

"Every brand we carry has something for every type of foot, whether a person would benefit from a more supportive type of shoe versus something less supportive," says Anne Chapman, manager of Performance Running Outfitters in Shorewood.

A good shoe salesperson will ask lots of questions. Do you run on the roads or the trails? What are your fitness goals? Do you have an injury? Staff also will determine if your arches are normal, flat or high. They can use video analysis to study whether you land on your heels and roll forward versus running more up on the ball of the foot.

Pamper your feet. Check out these models before you head out on your next workout.

Nike Zoom Wildhorse: The deep-lug sole provides extra traction on the trails. "It helps grip on surfaces like dirt, grass or wood chips," notes Chapman.

Most running shoes feature a "drop" of 10mm — meaning the heel of the shoe is about 3/8 of an inch higher than the front of the shoe. Minimalist shoes feature a drop of just 2 to 4mm, forcing you to run more on your toes. "It’s hard for people to change their mechanics, and not everybody wants to," notes Jaime Jacoby, sales associate at InStep Physical Therapy & Running Center. If you own a pair and they’re just not comfortable for running, wear them for weight-training.

Adidas Supernova Glide 6: "The ‘boost’ material (in the midsole) gives you a springier step," says Kashian.

Barefoot shoes that have separate compartments for each toe may have seemed like a good idea — lightweight, flexible and snug. But they also required a months-long transition to adjust to the reduced cushioning, and many runners reported injuries. Now, local running stores are dropping them; they’re already off the shelves at InStep. The manufacturer of the most popular style, Vibram FiveFingers, is refunding $3.75 million to consumers to settle a class-action lawsuit.

Asics Gel-Kayano: Extra gel in the heel structure makes this shoe a good choice for walkers, according to Chapman. "The seams in the upper are welded instead of stitched, which reduces irritation," she adds.

After seeing Meb Keflezighi win the Boston Marathon while wearing compression socks, runners could be thinking the $30 to $60 investment might just be worthwhile.

"I think they should be looked at as a tool, whether they are used to help reduce the stress of running during a run or to enhance recovery after a race or hard workout," says chiropractor Jon Mueller.

Brooks PureFlow 3: This lightweight shoe features a 2mm drop, and works well for training or racing. "There is some cushioning, so we like them better than the FiveFingers," says Kashian.

Athletic compression socks aare designed to increase the oxygen supply to the leg muscles, help remove lactic acid and provide stability, says Mueller. Similar (but heavier) socks have been used for years by people with circulatory issues.

Around here, elite and older runners are the people most often wearing compression socks, according to Mueller, who also is race director of the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon.

Mueller’s shopping tip: Measure your calves and ankles to get the proper fit — don’t just go by your shoe size.




This story ran in the June 2014 issue of: