Though at night I dream of Christian Louboutins and their red-soled, financially out-of-reach magnificence, I don’t find myself in a beautifully appointed boutique this Thursday afternoon. I’m in a sneaker store. Specifically, I’m in the market for new running shoes, seeing as mine are so worn out they’re about as supportive to my feet as potato skins.

“Run to the door and back,” the sinewy, bored clerk instructs. “I’ll watch and see how it looks.”

I dutifully jog up and back, dodging a wayward stroller and a distracted, meandering Mommy.

A little out of breath, I say: “I’ve been to these kinds of stores before, and I’ve been told to get motion-control shoes, to prevent the return of shin splints, stress fractures, stuff like that. I guess my ankles turn in? Pro-nate, I think?”

He looks at me, aghast. “No,” he says. “That’s all wrong.”

Funny. Last time I went to one of these stores, they told me the previous shoe store’s diagnosis was all wrong, too. It’s like when you go to those fancy lingerie shops and tell them your cup size and they tsk-tsk while invasively hoisting you into a bigger and, of course, more expensive bra.
“Your ankles don’t pro-nate,” he says. “They actually turn out.”

Hmph. OK.

About $100 later I’m walking out the door with some new Nike Air Max Moto+ 5 running shoes ($93.95 at Zappos) — “core-performance,” for the love of Pete, not “motion control” — and a sinking suspicion that the clerk already is plotting their obsolescence.

I later hit the gym in my new sneaks. They do feel pretty perfect: my arches are lifted, my toes can wiggle and my feet feel safe and secure.

But let’s not kid ourselves — these shoes, like all the others, will one day lose their cushion and their bounce. And it’ll be back to the shoe store, for me, for another expensive scolding.


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