AUSTIN (KXAN) — When running extended distances, like thousands of people will be doing on Sunday in the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon, shoes can be just as important a factor as nutrition and training.
Ryan Hess, CEO of Loop Running Supply Co. in downtown Austin, knows this as well as anyone. “When you’re running 26.2 miles, the last thing you wanna think about is improper footwear or your feet hurting in the middle of the race.”
When helping a runner pick out a new pair of shoes, he takes the usual measurements, checking out things like length, width and arch. He’ll also check out foot flexibility and whether or not the foot and ankle pronate or supinate. After 12 years in the shoe industry, he’s learned how to pair the right shoe to every type of foot.
“By no means is it rocket science, I won’t even tout that, but it is a science and it is making sure we sync up the right type of shoes with the right type of feet that we’re looking at.”
There’s also a big distrinction between a shoe for racing and a shoe worn during training for the race. Racers are usually lighter and has a limited lifespan, or a set number of miles before it wears out, just like tires on a car.
“This shoe is not meant to run in every day,” Hess said of the popular Nike Vaporfly 4%. “Because it’s so light, because it only lasts 250 miles, you wanna go with something [else].”
That shoe, which comes with a hefty price tag of $250, has been proven to improve race times by minutes.
That limited lifespan (and big pricetag) also mean it — and other racers — shouldn’t be worn casually, either.
“The more you wear the shoe around, it’s still gonna be miles to the shoe,” Hess said. “If you’re just wearing them around town, that’s still miles on it, so the shoe’s gonna break down quicker, where if you only wear them for running, then you’re gona get a lot more life out of the shoe.”