Why I hate buying new trainers 

I hate all those blog posts by fitness bloggers with a shiny new pair of trainers showing off about how much they love them and how wonderful they are. But how did you find them?!!! I want to shout. And how did you know they fit?!!

I have a real problem with buying new trainers that seems to happen every time I go to the running shop. Everytime I end up buying the wrong pair that seems fine in the shop but really is not at all fine and hurts as soon as I run any distance.

A little bit of background. I had one pair of trainers that I absolutely loved. I bought these as a student about five years ago from Runners Need and I was properly fitted for them but knew absolutely nothing about running or running shoes. I went in and said I’m just starting to run, I’m a student, I have no money, give me shoes. They were Nike Lunarglide trainers from the previous season so cheap. They saw me through learning to run – those first ten minute runs where I felt I couldn’t possibly run any further, to my first mini sprint triathlon, a sprint, an Olympic distance, a half Ironman, my first marathon and almost all of the training for my second.
In all that time, I had no blisters, no missing toe nails, no feet pain, no lower leg pain. I didn’t get a single blister in training for and running two marathons! 


I loved those trainers. I would have run on them forever if I could. But a few weeks out from my second marathon I noticed my toes starting to poke out through holes…. Time for new trainers.

And then began a journey that I have only just reached the end of.

I went down to Sweatshop and was recommended the Adidas Supernova Boost 8. A few outdoor runs and speed treadmill sessions later, and I was getting pins and needles in my toes. I went back to the shop and the manager told me the shoes were too small, exchanging them for free for a bigger pair. All good! Except…. That bigger pair still doesn’t work for me. I still get sore toes wearing them for more than a few miles.

I kept those to be my “gym shoes” and bought the updated version of my Lunarglides, several years on and despite the fact they weren’t recommended for me on a gait assessment. I ran my second and third marathons in them and a few triathlons. Still just two blisters…


And then it came to time to buy new trainers again. Again I had a gait assessment. In New York I was recommended the Asics Gel-DS. They are super pretty and felt fine as I ran around the shop. But of course as soon as I ran more than 5km my toes were hurting – too small.


So I am back to the new version of my Lunarglides again. I LOVE them (well, look at them, how could you not?) So despite my desire to try out new trainers and to move away from Nikes (everyone loves Brooks don’t they?!) I think I have finally worked out the secret to trainer buying success.


So here are my trainer buying lessons:

– go a full size bigger. Even if you’re told the smaller size will be fine, try on the bigger one, and if they’re not slipping all over the place, get them.

– ignore all the advice you are given. If you like a pair of trainers and they work for you just stick with that model (and buy loads!!). 

– ignore all the magazine reviews and social media ads (that currently have me really wanting a pair of Adidas trainers!)

– ideally, buy your trainers from a shop that will let you take them home and run in then outside for a few runs to try them out. Sweatshop was really good at this (although they shouldn’t have sold me too small trainers in the first place!)

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5 comments

  1. I had that same problems with trainer size. My specific problem is big feet and short toes so the shoe store people tend to recommend shoes that are a size too small

  2. Great advice. I have been on a bit of a trainer odyssey too over the years and have come to the conclusion that comfort is the most important thing. I now know I like plenty of room in the toes and currently Adidas are really working well for me, especially Ultra Boost. I do love that Boost foam!
    If you find the Nikes work best for you then I’d say that’s your shoe.

  3. Yep. I buy what works repeatedly. Once in a while I try something new but I stay pretty conservative. That said, I’m ready to give Nike my money when they release their new marathon shoe.

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