Chapel Hill, N.C. — As a runner I have come to appreciate that having the right shoes really makes a difference when it comes to comfort and preventing injury. Coming off running in the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh Half Marathon back in April, I know how important it is to have the right shoes to match my running form.
With the Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon on the horizon this fall, Out and About tasked me with checking out TrySports at University Mall in Chapel Hill.
TrySports is billed as a one stop shop fitness retail store with the mission to inspire customers "to stay fit and healthy and enjoy the aerobic activities of walking, running, swimming, cycling, fitness, yoga, and triathlon." They offer everything from running shoes, bikes, weights and apparel.
The shoe fitting experience at TrySports is a free five step process that only takes a few minutes, but goes a long way to ensure you select the shoe that is best for you. The staff are knowledgeable and helpful, making sure you select the right shoes and understand the factors to consider and why that shoe is the best fit for you.
The process starts with a quick survey of your running history, including what shoes you use, your running goals, activities in addition to running and a summary of any injuries you have. In my case, I am lucky to be injury free as I work on my goal of training for my second Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon.
The next step is measuring your foot size. Many people don't realize that when you stand, the weight of your body causes your feet to spread out slightly. As a result, it is best to measure shoes size both sitting and standing to get a proper measurement to make sure you get a running shoe that will not be too small.
Step three is a thermal foot arch analysis. Standing on a glass "foot disc" platform in your bare feet, the device measures how you stand, whether you put more weight on one leg or the other, and the different pressure points in your feet. This helps identify whether or not you have a normal or high arch in your feet, which can be addressed through custom molded insets.
Step four is the running gait video analysis. Wearing a standard pair of shoes you run on a treadmill equipped with a video camera hooked up to a laptop. The staff at TrySports uses a special program to analyze your video to determine the angle of your legs when they strike ground, whether your foot touches first at the heel or ball, and if your they point in or out when they land.
The fifth and final step is shoe selection. Shoe prices range between $80 and $170.
TrySports determined that I have a normal arch, the outside of my heel strikes the ground first, and I have normal pronation. This means my foot rolls in slightly as it comes into full contact with the ground. With that in mind they recommend I use a "stability shoe" that would offer moderate pronation control. They helped me select three different stability shoes to try on and I took a quick jog on the indoor track through the store to compare how they felt. While each offered the support needed for my running form my final decision came down to personal taste and comfort.
I selected a pair of Brooks Transcend. I have gone running in them several times now and really like how they feel on my feet and help keep me injury free. I also feel like I have a better understanding of how I run, the factors to consider when selecting running shoes and why these shoes are the best fit for me.
Whether you are new to running or a seasoned runner looking to switch up your running shoes, I highly recommend the fitting process and exploring your shoe options with the knowledgeable staff at TrySports.
John Huisman writes about local events, food, and culture on his blog TriangleExplorer.com. He grew up at the Jersey Shore but has called Raleigh home for the last nine years. John has been an avid runner since joining the Big Boss Run Club in 2011 and is currently training to race in his second City of Oaks Marathon this fall.