At the start of one primary school year, our teacher had a handy hint for anyone with new football boots: “Rub Vaseline all over the leather and leave them overnight; that’ll soften them.”
On the next games day, our dazzling footwork paled in comparison to our dazzling footwear.
Last night I had my first run in a new pair of running shoes. The new shoes are the same model as the previous pair, which brought me a great year of four new personal best times. The old pair deserve their happy retirement; the new pair have, um, big shoes to fill.
I should add that the old shoes are still in good condition – no holes or excess wear and tear. But burning up the tracks and parks and streets of Paris, London, Kerry and Dublin have thinned down the soles, so for the sake of my limbs some new upholstery is for the best.
I won’t mention the brand or model, as different shoe types suit different people. All I’ll say is that I’m not into minimalist shoes, especially those with toes.
I’ve had these new running shoes for four months, actually. I bought them because I saw them available in a nearby sports shop, and because my current pair of this model have worked so well I figured I should nab me a new pair while they’re still available. Since I bought them, I’ve broken them in by wearing them around the house and down to the shops on a Sunday to get the papers.
Last night’s first run in my new shoes went well – no problems to report. The pristine layer of cushioning took a few seconds to get used to, but once I got over the initial sensation of running on a bouncy castle, compared to my well-worn older shoes, it was business as usual.
In addition, nine years of marathon training and running have probably hardened my feet. In my early days I got plenty of blisters from new running shoes, but not any more. (Nowadays only my toenails are susceptible to battering.)
I wouldn’t recommend smearing petroleum jelly on your new running shoes. For one thing, the contact with synthetic materials, combined with the heat generated by your fast running, may cause spontaneous combustion. (Let’s see how far this spreads.)
No, the only thing for it is to get them in good time and break them in gently.
If you have a brand and model that you’re happy with, then you might want to continue with them. I changed my brand last year because I was unhappy with the shoes I was wearing up to then – the fit wasn’t great and holes burst out of the toe and sides. This hasn’t happened with my current shoes.
A good sports shop with a proper section for running, or even a dedicated running shop, will advise you on the best shoes for you. And you don’t need to break the bank either.
Like many aspects of running, finding running shoes you like is trial and error until you hit on something that works for you.