Shoe Therapy and Wednesday Giveaway

I hate feet.  I hate my feet and I hate other people’s feet.  I have felt this way nearly all of my life.  It wasn’t until the past few years that I realized pedicures aren’t terrifying.  It could explain why I am so devoted to shoes.  I won’t even attempt to count how many shoes I own… it would be astonishing even to me.  Growing up, however, I tormented my feet with inappropriate shoes.  It wasn’t until I moved to Colorado, quickly followed by my dear friend Tessa from back east, that I realized I needed shoe intervention.

Tessa was working part-time for Clarks in Colorado Springs.  Every time I went to visit her I met her at the shop, and always managed to leave with something in hand.  I would get home and think, “Self, why were you wearing such horrendously ill-supported and ill-fitting shoes before?  Time to purge!”  From then on, Clarks and a few other select brands are my go-to’s.  I rarely consider other shoes because I know how incredible my feet feel in Clarks.

I know what you’re thinking… “Isn’t Clarks a ‘comfort shoe’ brand?  Aren’t they… dare I say it, unattractive?”  Well the answer is no.  Granted I am selective in the styles I purchase (I always steer clear of the comfort walking sandals of our older generations), but there are so many cute options!  My favorite oxfords (both heeled and men’s style) have come from Clarks.  I adore their wedges all summer long.  I am not sure if I could have survived this winter without their meticulously crafted boots and wedge booties.  Even better, everything is so incredibly comfortable, with ample arch support and cushioning, and lasts.

Um, hello snake print wood heel wedges! LOVE them and so versatile!
Um, hello snake print wood heel wedges! LOVE them and so versatile!

The icing on top of this very large cake is their sock policy.  Sounds strange, I know, but it’s what keeps me and the hubs coming back (oh yeah, I have converted him too, as well as some of my coworkers…).  Buy a pair of socks from Clarks, and you can return them when they’re worn out and get a new pair, wait for it, for FREE, and even better, for LIFE!!  Incredible, isn’t it?

So on that note, now that I have converted everyone to happy footwear heaven, you’ll definitely want to check out the Clarks Soho Chic Sweepstakes styled by Lucky Magazine!  You could win a trip to NYC to shop and strut your stylish stuff.  You can get a customized shopping trip tailored to your personal style courtesy of a Lucky style expert, along with airfare, hotel accommodations, and $2,000 to shop ‘til you drop!  And Lucky magazine will also magically appear in your mailbox for a year, so style and read on!  All I know is that if this shopping trip includes shoes, I so want to win.  Cinderella, after all, is proof that a pair of shoes can change your life.  Words to live by, ladies, words to live by.

 Carousel_SlideSweeps

Ain’t no Party like a Fresh Foam Party!

Last night I attended the launch event for New Balance’s Fresh Foam 980.  I have to say, I am not usually all about these events, having to deal with corporate folks swarming like vultures waiting for you to say something mildly positive about their product so they can immediately tweet about it, but I do love some giveaways and free loot.  I also have fallen deeply in love with my New Balance 3190s.  Not only do they feel like running on air, but they are bright yellow and hot pink.  They are the perfect complement to my Belle running outfit for the Disney Princess Half Marathon (TEN DAYS YAY!).  Obviously.  I will be revealing my carefully planned ensemble soon.  It’s going to be FAAAAAABULOUS.

My 3190s are pretty much the greatest thing since sliced bread.
My 3190s are pretty much the greatest thing since sliced bread.

So after work I headed to the New Balance store in Littleton, Colorado.  This was one of six stores selected across the country to host a promo party.  I do wish they had incorporated a bit more excitement like the shop in Chicago with their 3 mile fun run and foam pit, but it was a good event regardless.  My sales associate, Mike, was incredibly helpful.  He measured my feet, utilized a foot pressure plate to determine the pressure points in my feet, fit me for athletic inserts, and although he recommended the new Fresh Foam 980, he also recommended a few other models as well.

 

I didn’t realize before, and this could simply be a major lapse in my understanding (so forgive me if this is common knowledge), but New Balance was founded in 1906 and originally provided arch support products to police men, fire men, and laborers.  This explains why a major element of their brand is consideration of pressure points, arch support and examining the effects of a body in motion.  They didn’t actually release their first running shoe until 1938.

 

I had always poked fun at my hubby for wearing the old school New Balance shoes.  They are, after all, very collegiate, and here we are approaching 30.  But for an athletic shoe, I will never scoff again.  I love the spaciousness of the toe box, the comfort around the heel and the lightness of the shoe.  I crave a shoe that is simultaneously sturdy and lightweight, and New Balance delivers.

 

After testing out the Fresh Foam 980, I am sold.  Given the 4 millimeter drop from the heel to toe, it takes some of the work out of running.  I know that sounds highly counterintuitive and lazy on my part, but it allows you the freedom to not have to think about your feet whilst running, and keeps your feet closer to the ground.  It’s a more natural stance, and that’s a great and ingenious improvement.  I was also personally looking for a shoe that could withstand many miles without feeling weighty.  This shoe performs.  The foam is light, but shock absorbent and durable.  Of course only time will tell how the shoe wears, but I have high hopes.

 

Aren't they fabulous?  The color is purple cactus flower with neon yellow.
Aren’t they fabulous? The color is purple cactus flower with neon yellow.

The event wouldn’t be complete without a little swag, so after loading up with new socks, a running shirt, and the most glorious athletic pullover (um, hello, a zip up with a hood that has a hole for your pony tail!!), I got a free NB string backpack (can’t wait to use it for my Zumba class!), t-shirt (which actually came in size small, halleluiah), a beaker (it is the science of running, after all, although I did have to ask the significance), and a #Freshfoam marshmallow (Hahahaha!  Oh, punny!).  Overall, I was pleased with the event, the product, and the freebies!  I’ll be going back this weekend to get the hubs a new pair.  He probably never thought I would be taking him to the New Balance store, especially with such excitement.

Can't wait to wear these for the Nike Women's Half in April (ironic, I know, but oh well).
Can’t wait to wear these for the Nike Women’s Half in April (ironic, I know, but oh well).
Giant #Freshfoam marshmallow and beaker!
Giant #Freshfoam marshmallow and beaker!

Asics The Gear for The Year Sweepstakes

So I realized in my early days of running, as in last year, that footwear is the single most important thing you can do to ensure successful, safe, and comfortable running and training.  Clothing matters, but the shoe is king.  Which is perfect because I LOVE shoe shopping.  So a friend of mine recommended Asics and that has been primarily the brand I have gone to ever since.  I have narrow feet and ankles, but I need a wider toe box.  I’ve grown up having issues with my feet, so finding a shoe that fits perfectly, provides lasting support, and doesn’t cause pain is a pretty phenomenal feeling.  I ran my first race in Asics and I am so grateful I did!

Look at me go in my schnazzy shoes!
Look at me go in my schnazzy shoes!

If you are in any way considering a new brand, they are one I respect, they have quality items, and the fit and feel are consistently good.  So now you’re in luck, and you can thank me when you win, because Asics is having their Gear for the Year Sweepstakes.  $5000 worth of Asics gear could be yours!  Enter daily through March 31st!  I love spreading the word about deals and sweepstakes (what can I say, I love getting a lot for, well, nothing, but at least very little), so be prepared.

Giveaway Wednesday has a nice ring to it… too bad I don’t have anything to giveaway!