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Do Your Running Shoes Bring You Great Happiness?

As of March 22, 2022, Lululemon is now offering its first ever running shoe. Blissfeel is the 1st of a planned 4 styles of running shoes which Lululemon will be releasing in women's sizes this year. In 2023, they will launch similar options in men's sizes. Lululemon is a well known brand with a dedicated customer base. In a review published by CNN's Marissa Miller, she writes, "Lululemon could literally slap its logo on a garbage bag and I’d proudly rock it". Thus it is not hard to hear that the first "run" of the Blissfeel is nearing "sold out" status within only a few days after its release. Though an exact number has not been verified, there are at least 132 different "brands" of running shoes with many of those brands having multiple options for types and styles amongst their offerings. How can you be sure you are making an informed decision when it comes to selecting what you want between your foot and the ground for the next 300-500 miles of running? There are literally hundreds of options to choose from. It is my intention to provide some current perspectives on strategies to make buying your next running shoe a blissful experience.

When figuring out where to start it is easiest to first consider what kind of running you are going to be doing. Are you looking for a performance shoe? This is the type of shoe for when you are looking to perform at your highest level. In this category of shoe, a runners best choice is the lightest and flattest shoe they can tolerate. Beyond the performance running shoe category, you will have to navigate a myriad of complex features such as weight, heel thickness, heel to toe drop, motion control and stability technologies, width, and material flexibility. This is, of course not a comprehensive list of specifications a running shoe is made with. After you read this blog post, I would recommend you check out and their youtube page of running shoe reviews. They are in depth and provide more information that you'll know what to do with.

Seattle based triathlete and physical therapist, Christopher Johnson has highlighted many key points to consider when selecting a running shoe. These are based upon the current known research regarding running shoes and running related injuries. One of his key points is that, "Considering the type of runner as well as where they fall on the injury to performance spectrum is essential when it comes to providing footwear recommendations or advice." If you are coming off of a recent acute injury or aggravation of a chronic issue of the calf or Achilles tendon, for example, it may be beneficial to start back to running in a shoe with a higher heel to toe drop ratio to reduce stresses on the calf and Achilles tendon.

Other wise advice to consider is when you go to try on a pair of shoes look and feel closely at this inside and outside of the shoe. Take the insert out and feel around for any defects inside the shoe. Place your foot on the insert itself to see that your foot matches well within the contour and shape of the inner. Check the flexibility of the shoe bending the shoes forward and back from the heel to toe then toe to heel and then twist the shoe medially and laterally.

The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine (AAPSM) has suggested that based on the work of Mark Reeves , DPM , "evaluating athletic shoes utilizing a basic three-point, hands-on assessment based on scientifically researched principles" holds a great deal of value when selecting an appropriate running shoe. "Of particular importance is the flexibility of an athletic shoe in its distal third and the resistance of flexibility in the middle third. Shoes that meet these guidelines will, in general, work much better for athletic patients and can potentially minimize negative mechanical compensations in the feet and at higher levels of the kinetic chain". You will also want to go "run" in the shoe to be sure that the fit holds under running conditions.

A popular option is to find a good local running shoe specialty store, especially if you are having trouble getting started or if you are stuck with which direction to go. You will generally find staff at these stores who are highly knowledgable about the latest trends and who are also themselves more experienced runners who can offer you a lot of perspective about running shoes. Above all, the possible characteristics that exist in the selection of a running shoe, your personal comfort reigns supreme in making sure you have the right shoe for you. Make sure you try on multiple brands and styles as you might be surprised by a brand you never heard of. Once you find "the one", be sure to rotate them in and alternate runs with the old pair. Whether your next run is in Lululemon's Blissfeel or any running shoe that provides you with a great amount happiness.

I often think about the time when Nike came out with a commercial in 1989 with Spike Lee and Michael Jordan to advertise Air Jordan basketball sneakers. The main line from that commercial that has stood the test of time is " It's gotta be the shoes". The message leading you to believe that if you have these shoes, you might be a little more like Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game. We can't ignore that being like #23 of the Chicago Bulls is something that everyone my age wanted at one point in time. "Be Like Mike" was the tagline that came out of the early 1990's Gatorade commercials featuring Jordan with the message that if you want to be like Mike then drink Gatorade. Fast forward to today, the Air Jordan brand is worth an estimated 3 billion dollars and it all started with marketing a pair of shoes. But we all know that the shoes didn't make Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan "made" the shoes and the Jordan brand.

The takeaway from this is that while running shoes are the most important piece of equipment that you'll need to buy to be able to participate, they are not the sole determinant of your ability to be successful with running. An even more important piece of equipment that you'll need day in and day out for running and beyond is you. I am thinking about all of different things that myself and other people take good care of because they view them as important. We invest in things that we view as important. We maintain our appearances, our clothes, our vehicles, our homes, and various other things that we find to be important spending a great deal of money on all of it. The most important of all things is you/yourself. Anyone who has trained themselves for and completed a road race knows how much joy is experienced when you get to the finish line at any distance. Accomplishing something like that makes you feel very happy. Maybe you feel differently about running and this doesn't sound like a very fun thing for you. That is okay. But I invite you to consider looking at yourself in the same way that you look at other things of importance in your life. Think of ways that you can start taking care of yourself a little better. Maybe you can start trying to move a little better, move more often, take more breaks for yourself from something stressful, get outdoors more. If you are really up for a challenge, go get a new pair of running shoes and find a local running group. Chances are you might find yourself a little happier and healthier too.

I'll see you out there,

Dr. Matt

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