Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The post I didn't want to have to write

Okay, so that is an odd title for a blog post, but it's true. This is one post I didn't want to have to write but I AM writing it because we have always believed in being upfront, honest, and transparent on our blog.
Altra shoe rep

In 2013 I had my first experience with Altra shoes. I heard the head of the company speak about how they were made and how they were different from the normal running shoe. I loved the wide toe box the Altras had and the concept behind the zero drop made perfect sense. This was a product I could definitely get behind so shortly after running in my Altra's I was brought on board as one of their ambassadors.  These were the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn! I will NEVER deny that. And for being an ambassador I got lots of shoes for free. Totally not a bad deal, right?

If you are transitioning from a traditional running shoe to a zero drop shoe then you know that you have to ease into the switch. Go for smaller runs in the zero drop and alternate with your traditional running shoes until things feel comfortable. If you don't you may experience calf pain because your legs are depending on muscle they haven't had to use before in the traditional shoes.  I did the transitioning just fine and I never felt the calf pain. It is when I started running in the Altras more often that I have felt the worst leg pain in my entire life. I had a first hand experience as to what ITBS really felt like mixed in with Greater Trochataric pain, lateral tendonitis in the knee and hip bursitis.

Now, I am NOT saying that the Altras caused all this pain because I will admit that there are many factors that could have contributed to all this pain and one of them was the increase in mileage I was doing over that time frame. As you know, I was in Physical Therapy for 7 months (January thru July 2014) before I started to see any relief. I had a few good races in the fall of 2014 but then shortly afterwards fell victim to the same pain. I was continuing running in the Altras, along with running more miles. I will say that I NEVER had a problem when I wore my old running shoes. 

Again, I don't want to pass blame on the shoes, but I do want to be able to explore my options and see if there is something different out there that will work better for my body. I really believe the concept behind the Altras is great but perhaps it is not for me.  I tell you all this because I have decided to put my ambassadorship on hiatus.  I will never deny that they are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn in my life, but  I don't want to go through another 7 months of therapy to only follow the same pattern of going back to these shoes and becoming injured again.  If the injuries continue even after trying different shoes, then I will know that perhaps it wasn't the Altras.  I know its so hard to tell what is giving me the problems because there are so many variables involved, but for now I need to take one variable out of the equation and see if that makes a difference.  Don't get me wrong, I love the free shoes and the free gear, but I can not keep accepting it if I don't feel comfortable using it.

I tell you this because over the next few months I will be trying out some new shoes, and I don't want anyone to think that I am being disloyal to my Altras which I have said that I loved so much.

Sadly it is true, sometimes you can love shoes, but they just might not love you back!

Have you ever had to switch out of a brand ( of anything) that you really liked because it wasn't working for you? -M

42 comments:

  1. I wore Brooks Adrenalines for years. They were the only shoes I ran in. Then I swithced to Ravennas and developed plantar fasciitis. My orthodepist told me that stability shoes were totally wrong for me and my foot. He recommended gradually switching to a zero drop shoe. So I now have bought some Altras.

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    1. I have heard other runners say they too were in stability shoes when they didn't need to be and it has caused them pain!

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  2. You have made a smart decision for yourself. Christine and I talk endlessly about bloggers who will wear whatever shoes they are given despite the chance for injury or poor fit. We are brand loyal and really don't care if we get things for free. Luckily, we can afford to purchase what we need for running.

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    1. It's nice to try different brands so you can tell if it is a good fit or not. I know if I hadn't liked the way the Altras fit, I wouldn't have continued to wear them.

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  3. I feel the same way about Brooks. I wanted to love them so much but they messed up my calf! The nice thing about running shoes is that there are so many choices out there! I love my Altras, but I'd change in a heartbeat if I thought they might be contributing to an injury. Best wishes on getting all healed up!

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    1. I was so happy when I found out that you wore Altras too! I'm glad you've had better luck with them then I did!

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  4. I hope you figure out what your issue is :)

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  5. Hopefully you can find something that works for you! If its just a shoes issue, that may be a good thing in that once you find something that works better for you, you may see progress with healing your injury.

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    1. I've been trying out different things an will be excited when I can run again!

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  6. I have struggled through this and wondered the same thing about my tibial stress fracture. I loved Altra Torin's and when I started running in them I started to build calf muscle I had never seen in my Brooks. I ran in them almost a year before I had the stress fracture. When I returned to running I discovered I felt a lot of pain in them, so I have only been running in Brooks Ghosts and a pair of Newton's so far. I have been so tempted to try some of the new 2.0's and the One, but I think it's better not to. I am with you, I loved my Altra's and the cushion is amazing. My feet were much happier with the padding in Altra's but there's a little part of me that says go with your gut...I don't want to blame the shoes, but I think they aren't the best for me :(

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    1. Yea, if you have doubt, stay away...lol. I have recently found some shoes that have the same amount of cushioning as the Torins.

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  7. I tried switching to Saucony Guides because everyone just loves them, but oh, did they hurt my legs! So it was back to my Asics Gel Nimbus. I'll never stray again.

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    1. I have a few pair of Saucony that I use for walking shoes and always found them to be comfy!

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  8. I have contemplated making the transition into Altras. In fact, about 3 months ago I said I was going to, but then I got scared!

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    1. Some people's body can adjust well to them. I guess mine didn't. Which ones were you thinking of?

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  9. I hope the new shoes help out! I've been running in Saucony Guides since I started but I developed calf pain with the last pair I had. When I went to buy new shoes, I realized that particular model had less of a drop but thankfully with the new model, they went back to the more traditional drop and that works better for me. So even when you think you're running in the same shoe, I guess different models can vary enough to make a difference in your experience.

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    1. Isn't it crazy how the slightest change in a shoe can make a huge difference?

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  10. I hate it when things like this happen, but thanks for devoting a post to it! Good to know your readers can trust you both :) I've always been loyal to Brooks since I was about 18, but there have been some shoes that just do not work for me. Mizunos also have never worked for my feet!

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    1. My mom has always liked Brooks. I've never tried them. I have tried Mizuno and have liked them.

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  11. Its never easy to make hard decisions, but this sounds like the best decision for you. Like Pam said, it amazes me how some bloggers will wear several brands of shoes, just because its free and they're getting (likely a paid) opportunity to review the shoes. Shoes is something to not mess with when it comes to running, and while every blogger enjoys receiving products to review, its never worth risking a foot injury in order to do so.

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    1. I guess some runners can run in anything. If that's the case, why not try different shoes. Up until last year I probably could have run in anything too because I never had any problems. Oh those where the days!

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  12. Running shoes can be so tricky sometimes. I've normally had pretty great success with Nike and New Balance, so I'm hoping that remains true for me!

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  13. A girl has gotta do what a girl has gotta do! It tried to ease into a zero drop shoe and at first it was all fine and good and then my ankle started to throb! Well that is not worth a pair of free shoes, pain went away went I went back to my Asics :)

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  14. I wore Brooks and switched to Newtons and LOVED THEM. But then, I had an ankle injury that eventually required surgery. Recovered, rehabbed, worked my way from walking back up to running - in the Newtons. Then, suddenly, I had the exact same ankle pain! So I went back to Brooks and the pain went away. I hated to stop running in the Newtons, but clearly they were trying to kill me (LOL). Now I run in Hoka Cliftons and love them...and while I wish they would sponsor me and give me free shoes (who wouldn't, right??), in a way I'm glad to be free to switch to whatever brand I want without the ties of sponsorship.

    I hope the change in shoes help to keep you pain-free and running!

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  15. Good for you for not sticking with an ambassadorship with a brand where you're questioning the effectiveness. There are a lot of bloggers out there who shill for everything they can get their hands on. I stop reading them when I sense BS. I hope you find a good alternative. As difficult as it might be to change brands, in the long run, if a brand change solves your problem, it's an easy fix.

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  16. I think even though a tough choice, this is a very wise choice!!! I used to love running in Saucony's and when they changed the guide into a lower drop. I bought a pair thinkng, how bad could they be. I ran in them for months and even 1 marathon and I noticed a gradual achillies pain coming on. I hated dumping the shoes they were expensive and I was just past the refundable point on them. One week after switching pains were gone and I had zero problems for a couple of years until I got the work injury ftom, no other than wearing flat shoes lol...
    I really hope if the shoes are the problem then over the next month you can experience your injury fade into completely healed:)

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  17. You are being honest and forthcoming and that is all anyone can expect from you. No one could judge you for being honest and you have to do what is right for you and your health. I think (hope) it will make your legs feel better and you can put the injuries behind you!

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  18. You gotta do whats best for you... & NOTHING in this world fits EVERYONE just right.
    You're like Cinderella... you need the perfect fit :)

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  19. i once got in an argument with a running friend who insisted that everyone should run in minimalist shoes. At that time, I had a horse that had one leg that required some corrective shoeing. If he didn't have a special shoe on that foot, he'd go lame. Despite the fact that she knows nothing about horses, she argued with me that he should be barefoot. And likewise, I should be running in Vibrams like she did because all creatures would be better off building up their own muscles and ligaments, etc, and not rely on shoes.

    This is all understandable in theory, and I do really understand the logic behind the minimalist shoes with no drop, blah, blah, blah, but it just doesn't work for everyone. Just like my horse. He required a special shoe. I use stability shoes which do have a decent drop but I've never had problems. When I've tried a more minimalist shoe, I end up feeling worse and my feet ache.

    Also, this same friend would cross the finish line of a race with her feet hurting terribly and yet, didn't think that maybe she needed more cushion. Hmmmmm

    I do commend you for putting your ambassadorship on hold. Not everyone would do that. Shoes make all the difference and while the Altas might be great shoes, maybe they just aren't right for you. Best of luck finding the right shoe!

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  20. Shoes are vital. I got angry at Asics because they took my beloved 21xx series and turned it into the GT 2000 line. I hated the first iteration because it was never a good fit, and for two years I'd been wearing other shoes, including Brooks. Well, the Adrenaline 15s didn't feel as good at the 14s, so I switched back to the GT 2000, this time the 3, which I had read good reviews about. I haven't had them 2 weeks, so it may be a coincidence, but I banged out the best 5k yesterday that I've had in 2 years.

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  21. I thought about trying Altras but talked to my PT about it and she said absolutely not. She loves the shoes - believes in them but said that they would kill my calves. You've gotta do what's right for you!

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  22. I considered trying zero-drop shoes, but there are so many different opinions. Some people swear by them, others say they contributed to problems like yours. I've never had a problem with my Asics, so I'll be sticking with them! Wouldn't it be crazy, though, if the shoes WERE the whole source of your problems? Like you said, it's so hard to say for sure because of all the variables, but I'll be curious what switching to another shoe does. Good luck!

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  23. Good decision! Even if it turns out to not be the shoes, I think trying all your options to be injury free is a good idea! I hope you find some relief soon. My knee is really starting to frustrate me and I haven't been dealing with this for nearly as long as you. Keep us posted! -c

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  24. I was put in a pair of Brooks Ravennas buy a specialty running store that did a "professional fitting". Yeah, they felt great! Ran great! I developed a horrible case of Achilles tendonitis. Horrible. I kept running in them, not believing it was the shoe. They felt so good. Finally, I came to my senses and went back to my Mizunos. I wish I'd listened to my inner voice a lot sooner.

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  25. I think this is a really good decision. Sometimes you can love something so much, but it just doesn't work for you. There is no point pushing it. I hope you find something that works for you :)

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  26. You are doing the right thing.I had a similar experience with Newtons. I broke them in the way I was supposed to and 4 months down the road ended up with a terrible calf injury and have had calf issues ever since. I hope you find a shoe that works for you!

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  27. Absolutely! I applaud you for listening to your body and trying to figure out what is best for you right now. Changing mileage, terrain and heck aging changes our running gait and our needs might change. Being smart is nothing to apologize for!

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  28. Good decision and thank you for posting this. I've only worn one brand of shoe and would love to try another one... but afraid they may not work out for me (and why change what works for me at least).

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  29. it definitely happens-I bought a new pair of asics and ran in them a total of 3 times and had the worst shin and calf pain. once i stopped training in them, it went away in a month. I am currently trying to break in my new tink new balance shoes and I am trying to take it slow so I dont end up with similar issues. you definitely made the right decision!

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  30. I changed brands not because of pain, but because the inside would rub and wear out really really fast, in the heel area. I was spending 150 dollars every 3 to 5 months to replace shoes that were practically brand new. It took me a while to find a new make / model that worked for me, but I did !

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  31. I'm so sorry you're still dealing with this pain, Meranda! A lot of people can run in Nikes but even their highest stability shoes aren't enough for me and I have issues. It stinks because they're my hometown company and I'd love to wear them when I run. You know I can totally relate about the running injuries :( Hope you have relief from this pain soon. Big hugs!

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.