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I've got quite into recreational running over the past 8-9 months, having started out with some extremely cheap trainers I bought off-the-shelf at a large sports store. Last week I finally got round to heeding the wisdom of getting my gait analysed and fitted with some proper shoes at a local shop that a number of friends have recommended. Being quite flat-footed and tending to over-pronate they kitted me out with some stability shoes (Asics GTS-1000s). However, having gone on some short runs since (3-6k) I've been getting a lot of twinges. Generally it's just a lot more exhausting during the run, and getting blisters on my arches if I go beyond 4k or so, but in the hours afterwards I'm getting some discomfort on the inside of my heel up along my achilles, the inside of my knees and round to the bottom of my hamstrings.

I've spoken to the shop on the phone and they've suggested I keep trying a few more light runs, and if necessary go back and get them changed. But I don't really want to change them if I'm just going to get the same issues with my next shoes. Is this a normal experience? I have wondered if the last few months have got me into some bad habits with my technique which I need to get out of, but I'm not sure what they would be.

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That doesn't sound normal. I also started out running in some very cheap shoes and then switched to stability shoes. They do feel different, and you may get some "new shoe" issues such as blisters until they break in. However, I never had any obvious muscle or joint pain caused by the shoes, and the general sense was that I could run further in the stability shoes.

One possibility is that you're running slightly faster in the new shoes, which would explain the exhaustion and heel/knee pains. "Better" shoes will have more support and padding, and thus will tend to be heavier than "cheap" shoes. If you're suddenly running faster in heavier shoes, the body would need time to adapt to that.

Also, consistent training is more important than having the perfect pair of shoes. A good shoe will let you run perhaps 25% more weekly mileage than a mediocre shoe. Consistent training will let you increase your mileage about 10% each month. Thus, a good shoe will effectively give you a few months head start on your training relative to a mediocre shoe. The wrong shoes, or trying to do too much too soon, will leave you injured and obviously that won't do much for your pace or distance.

Personally, I would alternate runs between the new shoes and the old shoes, and if the new shoes don't feel obviously better than the old shoes in a couple weeks then they aren't for you.

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  • I actually went back to the shop this lunchtime and their response was fantastic. He said that in a few cases, people overpronate so much that trying to correct it with support ends up doing making things so awkward that they do more harm than good. So he recommended just going for a neutral shoe like I'd had, but with the cushioning that my old shoes lack. Your advice is interesting though, as over the 4 runs I'd managed in the stability shoes I'd actually been getting slower and generally finding it more of a slog. Felt I'd hit the wall at just 3k this morning. – Si Wilkins May 9 '16 at 15:44
  • ...whereas I had been pushing 7k with fewer rest days in my old shoes. So your points also seem to confirm that the GTS-1000s weren't a good shoe for me. – Si Wilkins May 9 '16 at 15:49

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