I’ve been running since 2002, I think. In all that time, I’ve been almost exclusively loyal to Asics running shoes. I think I tried some Brooks back in 2006 once and didn’t like them, and I may have tried one other brand, but I always came back to Asics.

But something happened recently. Last year or so I bought my usual Cumulus model running shoe and it felt…cheap and thin. The padding was thin and it felt like the pavement was punching me in the sole with every stride. I just kept running in them, though, because I’m a very accepting person, and I just thought, “Oh that’s how running is for me now. Ok.”

The next time I was ready to buy running shoes, I read up online reviews, and decided to level up to the Asics Nimbus line, which is touted as having more padding. “Great,” I thought, “more padding sounds good since the last ones didn’t feel much padded at all.” Uh uh. Yes the new shoes had lots of padding, but it was all give and no spring. It felt like the shoes were swallowing up my momentum with every step. Squish. Squish. I powered on though – “Oh that’s how running is now. Ok.” Plus I’d spent over $100 on these shoes so what was I going to do? Wear them out, is what I did.

But this time, just last month, when those momentum-dampening Asics wore out I thought maybe I would try something new. I don’t know what’s going on with Asics, but I’m pretty sure they’ve lost a loyal customer.

So I read up online reviews on running shoes, I visited my local running store (they were “out of shoes” in my size when I went in so that was a waste of time, they’ve lost my business), then I bought online. Based on reviews, I bought a pair of Brooks Ghost 9s. They get good marks for people with my specifics (position, padding, distances), and the Asics – both lines I’d recently worn – no longer do.

I got them in the mail last week, laced them up, took them for a spin with excitement building and…found that there was a persistent ache in the outer edge of my right foot for the first mile or two. I noted the information, then ignored it because everything else about the shoe was perfect – padding and spring were aces! I laced them up again the next day with a hope it was just my feet getting used to the  new shoes.

Nope. Same pain on day two, getting more painful not less. I was distraught. I’d spent $120 on these shoes and they were hurting me! As a last-ditch effort I went to the bricks-and-mortar location of the running store I’d bought them from and asked if there was anything we could do, knowing that I’d already worn them on two runs and wasn’t going to be getting my money back.

They put me through the full fitting experience (walking on a treadmill, standing on a sensor pad, sizing, etc.) and determined that the shoes I had should be the right ones for me. So they made me some custom insoles by heating up insole blanks and having me stand on a special squishy machine on them. I was dubious that such a simple solution would solve my pain problem, but willing to give it a try.

This morning I took my Brooks Ghost 9s out for a spin with my new custom insoles and…no pain. I’m so happy now! Custom insoles can make a huge difference! I had no idea until today.


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