In Which Jenn Gets New Sneakers From Fleet Feet

Picky about shoes

The Annapolis Light House Half Marathon was last Sunday, and was so small that there was no expo, just packet pickup. This would not seem to warrant a special post, but since the pickup was at Fleet Feet I decided to get some LOOOOONG overdue sneakers while I was there. As far as I am concerned, new sneakers are very newsworthy!

Because of her mother’s medical issues, Moon decided not to run, but she did want to meet me at Fleet Feet to look at sneakers. This plan suffered a small hiccup when I arrived at the designated address to discover a Fleet Feet location that was dark, locked, and boasted a sign reading “Grand Opening November 1.” Um…

I call Moon with this information and she looked up the address again, confirming that I was at the right place. This seemed deeply suspicious so I called the number given for the pickup location and was informed that I was – get ready to be surprised – at the wrong branch. Turns out that, when you clicked on the link provided by the pre-race email, there was more than one address listed on the page; I was supposed to scroll down and go to the SECOND address listed. Sigh. Moon decided to skip, understandably, since it was 20 minutes further away in downtown Annapolis.

Ah well. I was rather annoyed at the time but since I made it to the pickup location before it was too late it all came out in the wash. I accepted my envelope with bib and timing chip, a long-sleeved unisex tech shirt, and a small duffle bag with some race swag and stuff. I promptly dumped all of this in my car to be examined later and went into the store.

The shop was quite busy, but I managed to snag the last free certified fitter. I don’t think I ever got her name but she was super nice, so that worked out. I told her about my occasional knee pain and how switching to my current Nike Pro Fits mostly solved the problem but also made any knee tightness I still experienced migrate over to the other knee. She checked my shoe size, watched me walk, and then went into the back to get some sneakers for me to try.

Fleet Feet
Oh my God, shoes.

My first pair: the exact same Nikes I was presently using. I went outside and jogged up and down the sidewalk a bit, finding them just as serviceable as always. Interesting side note: she didn’t ever watch me run, just sent me to experiment, but I saw other fitters doing this. Maybe it’s a case-by-case thing.

Next: a pair of Brooks Ravenna 4. I put them on and noticed immediately that I could feel the tongue of the shoe pressing lightly on the top of my foot. It wasn’t remotely uncomfortable, but since I was told at my first shoe fitting that you shouldn’t feel your shoes, I mentioned it.

And then I took them outside. And WHEEEEE! I was practically getting airtime, so much bounce did I feel in those sneakers. It was awesome. But the tongue made me uncertain (now there’s a sentence for ya), so it was on to the next pair.

I think the next two I tried were both asics (if not, one was a pair of asics and one was something I don’t remember). They were both fine but nothing noteworthy, so those were eliminated. I tried the Ravennas again and felt the same bounce… Hmmm.

A new element was introduced: a Super Feet insert. My fitter swapped out the sole of the shoe for a pair of inserts with more support. Immediately I could feel them pressed against my foot just behind my arch, which I noted; I was told that this was where the pressure should be, for maximum effect. So I took the Ravennas out with those and: No. Yuck. My fitter then removed those inserts in favor of a less extreme pair and the bounce was back.

What followed probably drove my fitter CRAZY, but she was perfectly nice about it. I tried the Nikes again. I tried the Ravennas again. I tried the Ravennas with the insert. Then I tried the Nikes with the insert. Then I tried the Ravennas with the insert AGAIN. Then, at my fitter’s behest, I put a different shoe on each foot and BAM: I had a winner. The Ravennas it would be.

My fitter had one more offering for me: off-day shoes. They were leather slipper-type shoes, cute, with stronger arch support than afforded than average. But I was already dropping some serious cash on my sneakers so I passed on that one.

Speaking of serious cash, I was a bit dismayed to discover that the inserts were $40. Yeesh. But I was assured they would do wonders for my residual knee stiffness and if there’s anything you should spend money to protect, it’s your knees. Still, I’m pondering an experiment: run a week or two with the inserts, then a week or two without. If I don’t notice a difference, maybe I don’t need to buy them next time. Should be worth the anatomical experiment, anyway.

Not to say that I wasn’t tempted by the promise of a sports bra fitting, not to mention the racks of running clothes and GPS watch displays, but I managed to stay strong and just buy the sneakers plus inserts. Then it was back to the car to examine my race goodies.

Of which there were quite a bit more than I expected. Some of your usual tchotchkes – pens, magnets, flashlight keychains, lip balm, a protein bar. But then there were three packets of EmergenC (perfect for plane trips to Disney, because airports always get me), a full packet of Fitfood brand whey protein shake mix in Vanilla Delight, a packet of pain relief gel, and no less than four doses of a vitamin mix meant to increase endurance. That will all be quite interesting to try.

There you have it: my packet pickup and sneaker adventure. I’m SUPER EXCITED to try my Ravennas this evening – wish me luck!

New running shoes
Hello, sailor.

And tune in tomorrow for my post-apocalyptic race recap, of course.

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email See ya real soon!


  1. I absolutely LOVE my Brooks shoes! I, too, made the decision after having one foot in a Brooks and the other in an Asics shoe… there was no contest! They give so much support! Can't wait for the race recap 🙂

    Have a magical day! 🙂

  2. Oh, yay! Every individual's needs are different, of course, but it's heartening to know someone else loves something you just bought. 😀

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