So a little while ago, my husband, Tom, bought himself some snazzy new turquoise and yellow New Balance trainers. As regular runners of the weekly 5k Poole parkrun, on first use he noticed he'd shaved about 90 seconds off his PB. "They're MAGIC shoes!" He said, and I kind of believed him, and for the first time ever, I was jealous of my husband's shoes.
Yes, that's right, my unstylish not-so-fashion conscious husband (sorry honey but it's true) had prettier shoes than me!
Determined to get some pretty 'magic' shoes of my own, I dragged Tom along to Sports Direct. Now I've always known I have low arches, years of blisters and sore knees have taught me that, and my trusty gait-analysis prescribed £100 Saucony runners have been good to me over the past few years of 5ks, 10ks and a couple of half marathons. But they're not exactly pretty are they?
Then I saw them. My 'magic' shoes. Purple New Balance with bright pink laces and lime green trim. Pretty shoes. Magic shoes. Could these be the shoes that make me run faster?
Sadly, they were firmly placed on a shelf in the 'high arch' section marked with a yellow sticker.
Just to double check, in case my feet had miraculously cured themselves and developed a high arch, I hopped onto their clever heat sensing foot pads, waited patiently for a few seconds, then hopped off to take a look. The yellowy/reddish footprint confirmed, as expected, I have low arches and sent me in the direction of the shoes only marked with a blue sticker.
I immediately felt discriminated against, when I saw that at least three quarters of the wall of women's runners, was stacked with pretty, stylish, sexy running shoes all marked with the yellow sticker for high-arched runners, leaving only one quarter of the wall with the clunky, grey and boring, unattractive blue stickered shoes I was expected to wear. I think I felt my bottom lip slow start to protrude from my face. I sulked.
Enlisting the help of a shop assistant who seemed to know what he was talking about, just made it worse. I showed him the beautiful pretty New Balance shoes, and like a plumber breaking the news that you need a new boiler, he took a sharp intake of breath. "No good for you love," he chirped, "not unless you wanna ruin your shins and knees."
"How about if I just used them in the gym for weights and classes and stuff?" I was kidding myself, I knew that it was runners I needed.
The shop assistant kindly brought out several pairs of remedial, *ahem* I mean blue stickered runners for the low arched athlete. Hideous. All hideous, and none of them as comfy as my trusty old Sauconys at home. I decided to try the pretty purple shoes on, just in case they felt better on...
They felt terrible. Loose and tight in all the wrong places. I tried to convince myself that they weren't laced up correctly or that my socks were bunched up, but I knew. I had to face facts that I needed the clunky blue stickered shoes if I wanted to run.
I didn't buy any blue stickered shoes that day. I sulked instead. I know I'm the wrong side of 30 and shouldn't be sulking in a shop, but I really do think the psychology of wearing trainers you love and think look good, add an extra spring to your step, literally. Like Tom with his magic shoes. So my hunt continues and I think I'll be heading to a few more specialist running shops to find THE pair! I'll keep you posted...
(P.S. I bought the purple and pink pretty shoes for the gym anyway. I know, I know, they'll ruin my feet, but I don't care and I promise not to run in them. They're so pretty!)