Monthly Archives: March 2016

Clean Running Shoes

Clean Running ShoesIts spring and you’ve been looking forward to getting outdoors and using your new running shoes. Haven’t you? Unfortunately, early spring weather can be pretty rough on running shoes. Though the water and mud, created by a spring thaw, can age shoes dramatically, a few simple steps may help to keep them looking, if not brand new, than certainly their best.

Keep Them Clean

The key here is to remember to clean your shoes after every run. Don’t let it slide. Not cleaning only increases the chance that your shoes will become dirty and worn out more quickly.

Spring means sun, but it also means rain, and water is the most dangerous element a shoe will come in contact with, bar none. Water, alone is a nuisance, causing wear on a shoe, however, a Continually wet environment will eventually destroy a shoe’s structure, as moisture tends to remain locked in the shoe fibers, casing the shoe to deteriorate.

Leave your shoes in a puddle overnight and see what a season’s worth of rain can do to a shoe. That’s what falling rain does over time. Next to mold, salt water is probably the worst offender as far as shoes are concerned. It eats them away, much like it eats paint from a car.

Yes, come spring, rain may always be in the air, but it’s also in the streets and paths we walk or run on each day. Don’t forget the dirt, grime, mud and salt coming from where we walk in our lives and what it does to our clothing in general. Even sedentary paths are chock full of deteriorating chemicals. Mud, ashes and other debris, prove totally noxious to the shoe, both in structure and appearance. Other elements found in thawing water can damage to our shoes too: Icy chips can scratch and scrape them, pebbles can stick into the bottoms of soles and mud can turn them brown or even get itself lodged in its creases. If we put them away in this condition, they’ll stay that way. Here’s an alternative: Clean your shoes after wearing then.

This is a simple suggestion that may save you time and money in the future. A brisk brushing off of the entire shoe, after you wear it is your first and best way to clean the shoe. Even when wet, a course shoe brush works best if brushed briskly over the entire shoe, including the soles. A toothbrush works well for the edges and is great for brushing out debris from the soles. If a toothbrush isn’t handy, you can use a number of objects to get dirt and debris out of the creases, such as Q-Tips, screw drivers or even tooth picks, provided you’re careful.

Any of these remedies for environmental wear helps keep degradation to the shoe minimal and helps to keep the integrity of the shoe intact.

Keep Them Dry

After the cleaning process, it’s a good idea to remove the insoles, if you can and also to stuff the shoes with newspaper. This last measure not only helps make drying time faster, but it will absorb any water that may have penetrated into the shoe itself. Stuffing also helps to retain the shape of a shoe. If you have time and need to dry them in a hurry, you can try a fan. Never put your shoes on a radiator, hot air device or anything flammable. Always store your running shoes in a dry area.

The Rotation Method

One way runners have found to increase the life of their running shoes is to have several pairs. There are many advantages to this. Alternating shoes keeps them cleaner and dryer and contributes to the overall life of the shoe, by cutting down its wear.

It’s a pretty handy trick too, if one pair isn’t dry and you need another pair, you have another. The more pairs you have, the cleaner each pair will be. Also, the wear on each pair is decreased by the number of pairs you own. You can have one pair for every day of the week, in every color, and they’ll last years! Many different types and styles exist for running shoes these days: Some for walking around casually, some for hiking, biking mountain climbing and track.

Having different types of running shoes has many positive benefits that go beyond your fashion sense. Multiple pairs cut down on skin blisters, for example, because the same shoe isn’t rubbing on the same spot continually. Remember too that different styles exist for different activities you may enjoy. This changes the way it fits on your foot. It looks different and feels different because it is different. Different parts of the foot are used depending upon the style. Some styles of running shoes are specifically designed to target certain muscles of the body.

Start with picking a pair that suits your particular lifestyle at the moment and then expand. At the same time, you’ll be expanding on your exercise routine and your activities. Hopefully, you’ll be doing it all in clean running shoes.

Things to Look for When Buying Womens Shoes

Buying Womens ShoesWomen’s shoes come in different styles, shapes and sizes. They also come in different widths; narrow medium, and wide shoes. As a woman with large size legs I find it challenging to choose or to get a great a pair of shoes that will fits. Most of the companies do not make large sizes shoes for women. This is why when I buy a shoe, it must be worth the price, the comfort and the sweat.

Here are some pointers that I use to find shoes that I have stayed with for a long time and with no regrets attached.

Size of the shoe.

The first thing you want to look for, and it goes without saying, is the size. It is simple, but it can be complex. Shoe companies have different outcomes when it comes to sizes. Some shoes run small and some other run large for the same sizes.

It is ridiculous.

I know that for sure since Aerosoles shoes do run large for size 11 sometimes ( not all styles). Do not just pick a shoe because it is your size. Try on the shoe and see if it fits. The thing to consider nowadays is to look at your range so if you are a size 11 like me you have to consider size 10 1/2, size 11, size 11 1/2 and probably size 12 for those that run really small, if it is a great shoes that you really want.

Another thing to consider in size is the width; medium, wide and extra wide. If you have large size legs then the wide sizes are very crucial. I have slender legs, not so thin as to warrant a narrow shoe but definitely now a wide size or extra wide unless in special conditions, as you will see below. I mainly do medium size shoes.

I have found that a size 10 (wide) may fit my legs if it is an open shoe or sandals or wedges. With wedge shoes I look for size 10 wide most of the time. They fit well and leave toe room. I have to be carefully not to have my toes sticking out but it is always great getting a smaller size shoe for large size legs. It trims the size.

And for those that wear narrow try the narrow and the medium. Some medium shoes would really fit well and give you a great toe room in the shoe.

Look for comfort in a shoe.

The other thing to look for in a shoe is comfort. Having large legs I sometimes just get desperate and pick up a shoe because I am tired and I really want to have a shoe on or end my search. A big mistake.

Comfort is very crucial. I have a pair of Clarks shoes that have stayed with me for years. They were comfortable right out of the box and they have been comfortable all through.

Some shoes do require a break in. What is a break in? You wear the shoe they will hurt or pinch for a few days then fit. Such shoes sometimes end up being the best shoes because once they have expanded they will feet your leg and toes really nice and can stay that way for a long time. The only down side with this breaking in thing is that, if they are bad shoes and you walk in a long time with your toes crunched and squeezed they may leave you with a life long blister. And as a precaution, no matter what, if the shoe is pinching right out of the shelf or after a few minutes in your legs,do not squeeze in it, it you may leave you with deformities for life.

On the other side when you slip into a shoe and it fits well and leaves some great toe room, watch out, such shoes may expand and expand and after some months they will look like baskets. I have some Aerosole shoes that have done that with me and it has not been good.

Look for shoes that compliment your wardrobe.

I love black shoes since they can go with just about anything in my wardrobe. So,yes, black should be one of the colors to look for.

With the current times and trends women are adorning some striking, bold-colored shoes colors that are great. Red is great color if you can find a toned down leather in red. I have seen some green that would do well with long skirts. Some people go for white shoes, but I have never been one to consider white shoes so much.

The best thing is to look at your wardrobe and buy a shoe or sandal that will go with many of the clothes in there. Well, unless you are Gayle and you can afford 1000 pairs of shoes. 1000 pairs of shoes is not good for the environment if you think about it. Less is more. Help others if you have more to spare and spread the love.

Choose Your Heel size According to Situation.

Heel size, heel size, very crucial. Rule of thumb: If you are going for an official presentation then choose a raised dress shoe. There is no forgiving if you are putting on an official attire with flat shoes. A raised shoe gives you the edge. And of course you will not put in a raised wedge sandal for an official presentation or with a suit.

Long skirts, long summer dresses and shorts are great with raised wedge sandals and flat shoes.

The heel you prefer depends on what you are doing and how much walking you will do with the shoe and the occasion involved. Just make sure they are comfortable.

Price of the shoe.

That is left for each one of us depending on our pockets. Men have it easy ( at least my husband) they buy one expensive pair of shoes and they stay with that shoe for years, well worth for their money. With women we love having new things over and over again. Sometimes a cheap shoe goes a long way, most times cheap shoes are just that, they are cheap, they look cheap, they spoil, they look fake and they are uncomfortable.

Expensive shoes can get you in debt and still pinch your toes and bruise your ankle.

The main thing to look for is comfort and if the shoe compliments your wardrobe. Buy shoes that will go with you a long way at a price that you can afford. Simple.

The shoe brand.

Some companies make shoes for money and others makes shoes with the customer in mind. I always look for brands that tend to make shoes that stay a long time. I look for brands that make comfortable shoes in my size. I look for brands that evolve with the times. I look for brands that put quality in their equation. I look for brands that make shoes that are true to size.

I look for companies that price shoes in relation to normal people..the 99 % of they do not target the chosen few. Companies that make a shoe that we the majority can afford and feel satisfied with the purchase.

The shoe brand you choose is subjective. As for me, having large size legs I am limited to the brands that I can buy from, mainly Aerosoles and Clarks if I am hurried for time and others if I dig dipper. If I had smaller legs I would have a plethora of brands to choose from and others to snub.

I know you have your own reasons and brands for buying a particular shoe. For all women it all boils down to affordability, comfort and the purpose of the shoe as the main reasons for womens shoes. Choose wisely and tip your heel.

Show Shoes the Same Type of Care That You Show Your Clothes

Show Shoes the Same Type of Care That You Show Your ClothesWe treat our shoes much more roughly than we treat our clothes. This makes sense from a certain perspective because shoes are designed to handle impact and direct content with the ground. Shoes are also made from more durable materials than your clothes. But if you think about the cost of a good pair of shoes, the time it takes to buy them, and the attachment we often feel to them; then you realize that it doesn’t make sense to treat our shoes so poorly.

I’m not suggesting that you build your shoes a shrine or spend every second trying to avoid grass, mud or scuffs. What I’m suggesting is that you think about your shoes as an investment and as an important part of your wardrobe. If you look at them this way, then it makes sense to give them more care.

A shoe-lover or a cobbler can talk about a half-dozen parts of the shoe (or more), but for our purposes you only need to think about 3 parts: the sole, the outer shell and the inner shoe. If you take a look at each of these areas and do a little maintenance, then your shoes will last much longer and look great whenever you need them.

The Sole of the Matter

The sole of the shoe is the part that you walk on. It takes damage every day. It absorbs the friction of concrete, the impact of stairs and the stabbing of rocks, glass and other stab-y things you walk on every day. Maintaining the soles of your shoes is the key to protecting the bottoms of your feet.

For Soles, you need to look at 2 things:

  1. The wear of the sole: How thick is the sole, is the thickness even, are there any holes or chunks missing?
  2. The attachment of the sole: Is the sole flopping off, is there a gap between it and the rest of the shoe?

Your soles are going to wear down over time. And if your sole was glued on or the stitching is weak, then you are going to see your soles start to come off over time. Luckily, both of these issues can be repaired for far less than the cost of buying a new pair of shoes.

For athletic shoes, there isn’t much you can do because these soles are usually all rubber and they are not designed to be repaired. But the soles on men’s and women’s casual and dress shoes (including heels) can be repaired. Often it will only take an hour at a shoe repair place to have your old sole stripped off and a new one put on. The price is normally only 20-40 dollars.

If you check the wear and the stitching on your shoes every 2-3 months, you will catch the damage before it gets too bad and you can get it repaired at low cost. This can be the difference between buying a new pair of shoes every 18 months and buying a new pair every 3 years. That difference in replacement times will save most people hundreds of dollars per year and a lot more if you have a large shoe collection.

Taking a Look Outside

The outside of your shoe is the part that everyone sees and that you are judged by. The key thing here is to make sure that get rid of scratches, replace the laces and keep them polished.

With non-athletic shoes, most outer damage comes from either the weather or shoe contact with surfaces. The main things to do are pretty simple.

  • Put your shoes away when you get home. Don’t just stick them under the bed or throw them in a closet. If you put your shoes on a shelf or at least place them in their own space, then they are less likely to get damaged by other shoes and things falling on them. You can find inexpensive shoe organizers that will let you protect your shoes and save space.
  • Wipe your shoes down a couple of times a week or any time you walk through mud, dust, grasses, etc. This will keep the elements from permanently discoloring your shoes and also make it easier to see scratches and scuffs.
  • Use a protectant spray on leather, nubuck, felt or suede. Be ready for the coloring to change slightly, so you should test on a small area on the back of the shoe before applying everywhere. You can get protectant for canvas and other materials, but animal materials tend to take the most damage from moisture.
  • Polish and shine your shoes at least once per month. You don’t need to get the specific color shoe polish to match your shoes, just by neutral polish. The keep thing with polishing is applying a good amount of polish and then buffing them to a high-shine. Make sure to by a good brush or cloth for applying the polish and then a have a strong towel for buffing.
  • If you have deep scratches or scuffs, then take the shoes to a cobbler. Depending on the damage, they can often the scratch, so it is unnoticeable.

It’s What’s on the Inside That Counts

The inside of your shoe seems like the area that you’d be most aware of, but many people don’t think about it unless they have a pebble in there. You can keep your feet comfortable, dry and stink-free with a few simple moves.

  1. Rotate your shoes – This really applies to all parts of the shoe, but the more you wear a pair of shoes the more damage they take. If you rotate through 2 or 3 pair during the month, then they will all last longer.
  2. Use shoe trees – Your shoes will stay comfortable longer if they retain their shape. Use shoe trees (cedar works best), to keep the shoe in shape.
  3. Air them out – Take out your laces and pull out the tongues of the shoe everyone once in a while, so the shoe can get some air. You should definitely do this whenever moisture gets inside the shoe.
  4. Use powder or special insoles to reduce the smell – this is more about hygiene than aesthetics. If you keep the shoes dry and use a powder like Gold Bond, then you are much less likely to get athletes foot or other foot ailments.

Give Your Shoes Some TLC

I recently threw out about 5 pairs of shoes that I’d have anywhere from 2-6 years. Some of them were gym shoes that I’d gotten good use out of, but a couple of them were shoes that I just didn’t take good care of. It pained me to realize that I’d spent money on these shoes and had really like them, but hadn’t been conscientious enough to keep them from looking terrible.

If you have shoes you want to hold onto or just want to save money, then this article will help you. A little TLC and preventive care will help you keep your favorite shoes in rotation for years.

I’ve always liked shoes and recently started buying more of them again. Before going shopping, I do an inventory of what I have and have found that many good pairs of shoes don’t get the attention that they need.

4 Tips for Choosing the Right Triathlon Running Shoe

Triathlon Running ShoeWhen I first started into Triathlon Training, I had no idea the amount or the specificity of the equipment that I would need. I of course knew that I needed a bicycle, running shoes, and some clothing, but had no idea about watches, bike shoes, aero helmets, aero wheels, wetsuits, or any of the other myriad of items. In fact, my first running shoes were simply some I picked up at a local sports store for cheap. I just had not idea.

When I started getting more serious about my racing and my running, I knew that I needed to purchase some shoes that would enable me to have the best running performance. Once again, I was at a loss of where to turn to start this process. I looked online and searched for different items about running shoes. I found a lot of information specifically about running marathons or distance races. I did not find a lot of information about specific ideas for triathlon shoes. I took some of the ideas from the information that I found and began the process of purchasing shoes.

Along the way, I have discovered several different ideas for selecting shoes that I would like to share in this post.

Get Fit – No this is not a redundant idea of getting more physically fit, but rather get fit to the type of shoe you need. Most running specific stores will help you discover which shoe will be the best for you. Many of these stores will take you through a series of tests to determine which shoe fit will be best for you. Having done this a few times now, the process goes something like this. First, the sales representative will talk to you a little bit about what you do for running, how long you have been running, and what your goals are in running. I look and ask for someone who has been with the store a while so as to get the best kind of discussion about my needs as a runner especially since I focus on Triathlon specific running. Second, they will either electronically, by using a special pad you stand on, or manually, by using the old sizing metal platform that is always cold, they will determine your size and width of your foot. Third, they will head to the back to bring you up a sample shoe for you to do some exercise in. I always know that the sales person is going to pick a shoe they like, so I am leery of just latching on to the first shoe. The sample shoe will be a neutral shoe with no lift or assistance to keep your foot straight. Fourth, the sales rep will have you get on a treadmill and run for 5-10 minutes while they record the way your feet fall. You will want to wear something that you can run in comfortably. The last session I had like this, the gentleman also recorded me from the side to make sure I was landing correctly. After you finish this brief running session, the sales rep will watch the video with you. He is looking for supination, which is the opposite of pronation and refers to the outward roll of the foot during normal motion. If you have too much supination then you will need to have a shoe that will help to balance your feet. I have a pretty neutral fall to my feet so this has not been a problem for me. At one of the places I have visited, they had me stand on a glass screen that took a measurement of the pressure points of my foot. This helped to understand the arch level of the foot. After all of this data is collected the sales rep will choose a shoe for you to try. This fitting process is very important.

Get Choosy – The process of choosing your shoe with the data that has been handed to you by the sales rep is one that you need to take your time with. I have found that the choosing of the look and feel of the shoe is very important. If you don’t like the look of the shoe, then you will feel less than enthused about wearing it even for running. If you don’t like the feel then you will not run. This choice is critical. You might be a bit choosy about the brand of shoe, but for me I want something that is going to give me the support and comfort for a lot of miles. Most trainers will last you 300-500 miles, so choose wisely which shoe you go with. Many times, the store will enable you to run on the treadmill or on a mini-track inside the store, some will even let you go outside to run in the shoes. Take enough time to where you are convinced these are the shoes you will run in for the duration of your training and racing.

Get More – Yes, get more than one pair. Typically, what I do is find the right kind of shoe at the shop. I certainly don’t want to have someone spend 30 minutes to an hour to help me find a shoe, and then I just go home and buy it online. That is not genuine and is a terrible practice. I do however, go home and begin to look at other pairs. You want to have a rotation of shoes. When I first started rotating shoes, I bought 3 of the same type of shoe. Two of them I swapped back and forth on training days, then the third was for racing. This process worked pretty well, but I have since been told that you should have 2-3 pairs of shoes during training that are different kinds of shoes. They might have a different amount of cushion or a different amount of drop. The shoe drop is the amount of drop from the heel to the toe. You can have anything from 0 to 10 mm of drop or more. I am trying to have 3 different amounts of drop in my shoes now. The theory is that you use different foot, leg, and calf muscles with the different amounts of drop. Therefore, if you use different types then you get a stronger overall performance. You then will want to select a shoe for racing. If you are doing a sprint race, you might want to purchase a shoe that doesn’t have a lot of cushion and thus is lighter for running. If you are doing a longer race than you will want more cushion for the long distances. Much of this process of choosing your racing shoe comes through trial and error.

Get Set-up – The last tip for getting the right triathlon shoe is to get your shoe setup correctly. What I mean by this is you are not going to have a ton of time during transitions to tie your shoe or get it slipped on. You will want to make quick work of getting your running shoes on for the run leg of the race. I prefer to use elastic shoestrings for this process. The way I get my shoe setup is I purchase my elastic shoe strings online. I then change out the shoelaces and pout the elastic ones in. Next, I put the shoe on with very loose shoe strings. From this point, I tighten up the shoe laces around my foot already in the shoe. If you do this before you get your foot in the shoe then certain parts of the shoe will be too tight. I then make the appropriate adjustments to feel comfortable with the new elastic shoe strings. I do not want any pinching. I then head out for a run. I want to keep track of the mileage for the shoe, so I will know when to trade them out for new ones. You want your shoe to fit well, but not too tight as you have a lot of miles of training and running.
I hope these tips will help you to choose your running shoe for triathlons.

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