BY MICHAEL VANCE
When you walk into our store in Greensboro or High Point, you'll see a variety of products, most of which are self explanatory.
Shoes - provide protection and support for your feet, knees, back, etc. A great place to start when you're looking to get active or stay active, since it's hard to enjoy fitness if your feet aren't happy.
Socks - a moisture-wicking sock (the only kind that we carry) can reduce the occurrence and severity of blisters, keeping your feet cooler and drier.
Apparel - shorts, pants, capris, tanks, shirts, skirts, technical fabrics, seamless designs, focused on keeping you cool and comfortable, while also providing fashionable looks and hidden benefits.
Bras - tremendously important for more than half of our customer base, require regular replacing to avoid excess strain on important ligaments
Massage tools - products like Trigger Point and Addaday can help work out tired muscles and relieve aches and pains
One of the most overlooked products can also provide almost every single one of those benefits I just listed. It provides protection and support for your feet, reduces blisters, keeps you comfortable, reduces strain on important tendons/muscles/ligaments and relieves aches and pains.
The right insole can do all of this and more, and yet most people think they only need them if they're already injured, or if they've been prescribed by a doctor. Let's take a look at how they can help almost every runner/walker/person.
Efficiency - Products such a Superfeet can provide extra support under your feet, reducing the strain on your plantar fascia, and limiting excess movement in your subtalar and mid tarsal joints. This can result in a more efficient stride, which leads to faster race times, easier daily walks and less fatigue at the end of a work day. It doesn't matter if you're running a marathon, walking 5 miles every day or working 12 hours on your feet, we could all benefit from less wear and tear.
Comfort - it isn't exactly revolutionary to say that our feet are 3-dimensional. And yet when we look inside a standard running shoe, beneath the basic sock-liner we'll see a 2-dimensional surface. We can still feel support under our feet because of how the midsole accommodates the pressures that we put on it, but it still can't do as much as good insole. And because insoles come in a variety of shapes and volumes, a shoe that felt not-so-good with one insole can become your favorite when the right insole is added.
And yes, there's also Injury Prevention/Rehabilitation - The more time you spend on your feet, the greater the chances are that something will start to go wrong. It could start gradually, it could happen instantly. In some situations, an accommodative insert can provide the support that's needed to get you back to where you once were. Every stride we take involves a complex network of muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones, and sometimes things go wrong. It doesn't mean that your body doesn't work right, or that you're not as skilled an athlete, it just means that you need a minor adjustment to keep moving forward.
Michael Vance is Fleet Feet Greensboro and High Point's footwear buyer, long time runner and running shoe expert.