New Balance Sneakers v. Fancy Kicks. (Or, Trust Your Instincts.)
I’m from New Jersey, and you need to know that those MTV stereotypes are lies. I’m paler than pale; I don’t even own hairspray or hoop earrings; and I haven’t been to the Jersey Shore in years. Also, the only people with that awful accent are New Yorkers.
I will confess, though, that the mall stereotype is true. I spent my 1990s teenagerhood in a mall. (And I paid the price: I used up a lifetime of mall tolerance in one decade. Thank the baby Jesus for Amazon Prime.)
So if you told me in 1995 that I’d be writing about shoe shopping in 2010, I’d get it – but if you told me I’d be a runner? I’d have snickered over my Orange Julius, hitched up my handful of purchases (probably a plaid oxford shirt, a tiny pair of silver earrings, and the latest cassette single), and told you to get lost. Me, a runner? No way. I was not an athlete. Mostly, although I wouldn’t have admitted or even realized it, because I was scared to try.
Fast-forward 15 years. I’ve just gotten my black belt in tae kwon do, I do yoga, rock climbing – and, yes, I run. As long as 10 miles, and about 20 5Ks, but usually just a couple of miles a few times a week. It took me long enough, and I’m not the best, but I’m here and I love it.
Not having being athletic growing up, though, means I never had a coach, I never went shopping for new gear or kit with my parents: in short, I haven’t a clue what to buy.
So when I started to actually think of myself as A Runner, I became skeptical of my faithful New Balance sneakers. Sure, they were comfortable, but what did I know? I’d never really used running shoes for running. How did I know if they were any good?
There’s a fancy running-shoe store 90 minutes from me: a cavernous place with a patented super-high-tech way to fit you for sneakers. They would know, right? So I drove all that way. Stood barefoot on a special mat so a computer could map the pressure I put on different parts of my feet. Ran on a treadmill so another computer could analyze my gait. Listened to the experts discuss my results. And I ended up…
…with a pair of expensive running shoes that I hated. I kept convincing myself that they’d been Chosen For Me and I just needed to get used to them. I trusted the fancy process more than what my own body was telling me. I spent six months with blisters before I wised up. I admitted the truth and got a pair of New Balance 738s. I absolutely adore them.
I’ve got wide feet, regular arches, I don’t pronate, I crosstrain, and I’m usually only running about 5 miles a week. I absolutely love New Balance athletic shoes, and I’d recommend them to anyone, but your mileage with these particular sneaks may vary. (Pun intended.)
And that’s my whole point. That’s why I love Buy-Her: because your mileage does vary. See, what matters is not what the sales pitch says or what the experts say you’re supposed to like. What matters is what it feels like for real people like you and me. And the more we trust our own reactions, the better we’ll be at choosing purchases that really help our lives.