Canadian Running

Cross­ing the Line

Find­ing the Per­fect Shoe

- By Pas­cale Duguay Sports · Running · Athletics

Itook a few steps back­ward to avoid be­ing jos­tled by the Satur­day morn­ing shop­ping crowd as I tried to make sense of the daz­zling as­sort­ment of run­ning shoes. They filled the wall from f loor to ceil­ing and came in every colour imag­in­able.

I had en­tered this sports store fully ex­pect­ing to quickly select a pair of run­ning shoes and be out the door in a few min­utes. My needs were sim­ple, but there didn’t seem to be any­thing sim­ple about this. Not only was the choice over­whelm­ing, but each shoe was la­beled un­der cat­e­gories that meant noth­ing to me. I looked down at my well-worn black sneak­ers, hop­ing for a clue. But noth­ing stood out, ex­cept for me: an all-black-clad, gloomy shop­per sur­rounded by cheer­ful pea­cocks.

I thought of ask­ing for help, but the store was busy, and the staff were run off their feet – not a good time to bom­bard them with new­bie ques­tions. Study­ing the dis­play, I no­ticed some­thing else: the prices. I kept hear­ing that run­ning was one of the cheap­est sports out there. But th­ese babies were far from cheap. How could I jus­tify spend­ing so much money on some­thing I wasn’t even sure I would stick with?

I didn’t buy shoes of­ten. When I did, I vis­ited stores I knew I could count on to meet my need for some­thing comfy (prefer­ably black) and af­ford­able. In this in­stance, I had made a spe­cial ef­fort to come here, so I could start my run­ning jour­ney on the right foot. But I hadn’t ex­pected this level of com­plex­ity. I was afraid that the longer I waited, the more likely I’d give up on the idea. I had never liked run­ning – not un­less it in­volved a ball, shut­tle, Fris­bee, puck or other iden­ti­fi­able f ly­ing ob­ject. Un­for­tu­nately, I had al­lowed my­self to get so out of shape that I needed to be able to run be­fore I could at­tempt any kind of sporting ac­tiv­ity.

I left the store empty-handed but dou­bly de­ter­mined to start on the path I had set for my­self. The next day, my well-worn black sneak­ers and I had our very first fiveminute run. Dur­ing those ex­cru­ci­at­ing min­utes, I don’t re­mem­ber be­ing con­cerned as much about my shoes as be­ing able to catch my breath. I’m afraid that no shoe, no mat­ter how su­pe­rior or daz­zling, would have made me look any less pur­ple in the face.

It took me over a year, but I did re­turn to that sports store. By then, I loved it so much I couldn’t imag­ine my life with­out it. As my run­ning slowly im­proved, I started learn­ing more about the sport. I read re­views and dis­cov­ered the dif­fer­ences be­tween shoes, along with my foot type. As I ex­am­ined the shoe dis­play, I fell for a pair of pink and or­ange beau­ties. Luck­ily for me, they hap­pened to be well rated. Not only that, but the price was slashed in half! I barely hes­i­tated be­fore reach­ing for my size. When, a month later, a neigh­bour stopped me to say, “It’s beau­ti­ful to see you run! You have such an even tempo!” I felt like my f lashy shoes had not out­shone me af­ter all. We were per­fectly matched.

Pas­cale Duguay is a free­lance writer and school li­brar­ian based in Que­bec’s beau­ti­ful East­ern Town­ships. Her morn­ing runs are wit­nessed mainly by cows and as­sorted wildlife.

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