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“I wept because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” – Author unknown
I spend a lot of time looking at running shoes. I don’t mean looking at them in the store. I’m talking about looking at them on people’s feet. And in some cases, when they’re off of their feet. I study running shoes the way theologians study the Bible. I learn a lot from these shoes. For example, sometimes when I have clients running on treadmills, I stand directly behind them and watch as their feet strike the belt. I also watch directly in front and from the side as they do the same thing. I’m not a big fan of running shoes. I think they have too much cushion. If our bodies needed that much cushion to run, there would already be more cushion between the knees, ankles and hips. We have what we need. We don’t need help from Nike, who invented the jogging shoe. By the way, if you want to read about this, pick up Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run. He spells it out in an easy and fun way. But I digress.
The reason I watch these shoes so closely is because over the years I’ve made a direct correlation between sneakers and running injuries. I’m going to say here that this is not an exact science. Some people do quite well with worn out running shoes. And then develop an injury when they get a new pair. Again, more reason not to have one inch of cushion under your heel. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I run in what’s called running flats. They generally have an eighth to a quarter of an inch of cushioning and work just fine. I told you that to tell you this. I have one client who seems to want to change his shoes quicker than anyone else. The guy is worth a ton of money. Shoes are not an issue for him. I couldn’t help but notice that every two to three weeks he had a brand new pair of running shoes. I finally asked him what he did with the old ones. He said he simply throws them away. When I mentioned to him that there were shoe programs that give the shoes to people with great need, he looked at me and said, “No, not these shoes, I couldn’t do that to someone else.” It turns out my client had a foot odor problem. I taught him a little trick I’d like to share today. If your shoes are brand new and you use a small bit of medicated foot powder every time you get ready to exercise, they may never build up enough bacteria to cause them to stink. But let’s just say you are the guy with industrial strength foot odor. The best and cheapest way I’ve found to get rid of it is by washing in a washing machine and allowing to dry naturally. Then take about 20 ounces of rubbing alcohol and pour 10 ounces into each shoe. Also cover the outside and the toe box area. Again, let it dry naturally over night. By adding medicated foot powder after that, you should be fine. My favorite powder is Ammens. If you have trouble finding it in your area, try Gold Bond. By the way, both are available through Amazon (see the links).