A Lesson of Not Investing in My Feet, and How Philadelphia Runner Helped Me Get My Life Together
Updated: Mar 25
Y’all know I’m a Taurus so I’m naturally a little hardheaded, right?
I'd been avoiding buying the proper sneakers for the gym for YEARS. Why did I think it was a bright idea to cycle, run, climb and lift in Nike Roshe's (and other flat sneakers that aren't designed to be worn for long periods of physical activity)?? This *on top of not stretching and warming up properly* eventually led to this painful bout of plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis. I always complained about not wanting to spend money on gym sneakers, clothes, etc... until recently when I found myself in multiple medical appointments and ultimately in UPenn's radiology department getting an x-ray, ultrasound and MRI only to be told that "nothing's wrong".The piercing burning pain in my ankle and debilitating tightness in my heel SCREAMED otherwise.
I bought some compression socks and ankle braces to hold me over, but in a week or two I found these items still weren't sustainable for my level of activity *there goes that Taurus stubbornness again*. It was time to take a trip to Philadelphia Runner.
Stacey began with measuring my foot (something I haven’t had done since I was a child). Come to find out I needed to go up half a size (and for some of the kicks I tried on, a full size). It's really important to go into the shoe fitting process with a listening ear. I was kind of shocked that I needed a 9.5 or 10 for exercise sneakers when I’ve been wearing a 9 in most of my shoes for years. Stacey explained going up in size for workout sneakers is very common, yet some shoppers are reluctant to get sneakers that properly fit. I humbly left my stubborn Taurus hat at the door and heeded Stacey's expertise. She mentioned that folks usually need to go up a size or half depending on how the shoe is made and/or how your foot is shaped. In my case I have flat and wide feet; I need to allow space for my feet to expand. I also need space for my ankle brace that I like/need to wear while exercising.
*P.S. Stacey is my friend and she's pretty cool. You should follow her on Instagram
After the measuring and some discussion, it was time to try the insoles *per Stacey's recommendation.
The goal was to choose an insole that felt the most natural but provided comfortable support for my heel and flat arch.
After the deliberation and trying a few pairs of sneakers, insoles and accessories I decided on the following items:
The New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v10 sneakers
(excuse my language but this foot roller is THE shit. Literally the best way I can describe it. Get one, you''ll thank yourself). This has been excellent with stretching and massaging my plantar fascia (muscle at the bottom of my foot). Another associate at Philadelphia Runner suggested putting the foot roller in the freezer and using that post-workout or after a long day.
Lastly, I bought the SuperFeet Carbon insoles
. This was a good thing to invest in so that I can have even more comfort and support while working out. I also have the flexibility to pop these into my casual sneakers.
Stacey provided an explanation of how to better fit the insoles for my shoes:
The insoles should last me about 1-1.5 years, while the sneakers will last 6-8 months *depending on my activity level*.
This was a painful lesson of not investing in my wellness and having to pay for it twice (in the doctor's office, and eventually taking the time to purchase the items I needed).
I’m no pro-athlete; just an average thick chic with a long-term goal to improve/maintain my health and not become a stiff hag. I’m getting older and realizing the seriousness of investing in my health and the tools I use. You live and you learn; I'm definitely thankful that I had the resources to access what I needed, and that I caught things relatively early before anything could develop into a more serious or irreversible injury/condition.
Philadelphia Runner, Thank you. You've earned a loyal costumer.
Composed with humility and truth,