When the opportunity to run in the Puma Night Run in Seoul came knocking, the story was assigned straightaway to the most sporty member of the herworldPLUS team – that would be me. My athletic history isn’t as illustrious as my colleagues are prone to believe (maybe in hindsight, Tweet-ing about all the times I actually managed to drag myself to the gym was a bad idea) but I’ve done a couple of 10km runs in my heyday.
I knew that training for the pending run was going to be different from my previous experiences – that merely saw me jogging until my legs gave up and heading off to the nearest fast food restaurant as a reward – when I arrived at the Puma store at Marina Square for a shoe fitting.
Coach Sham educates me on the finer details of finding the right running shoe
Shoe fitting? My normal process of selection wasn’t going to cut it – I normally picked out trainers how I picked out my other footwear, by colour. But when I arrived at the store and was told to change into a running kit, I had half the mind to call my boss to send someone else.
Puma supports a local running club Team Runfanatics and I was introduced to its running coach Sham who was going to put me on a training regime. He had me do some balancing exercises and walk, then run on the treadmill in the store (yes, in front of the whole world). This was serious business – Coach Sham recorded the process as a video on his phone and I felt like a science experiment.
Coach Sham’s analysis told me things I already knew – I was slightly flat-footed – but there were new discoveries too. My left leg doesn’t move straight forward when I jog, it actually swings out to the left before moving forward – not the most efficient way of running and my left feet ends up hitting my right often. Plus, my heels hit the floor first (instead of the balls of my feet) that meant the impact from the ground was greater. Besides sounding like an elephant pounding away, this also translated to a higher possibility of injury. Gee whiz.
The perfect fit
Always happy to be trying on shoes!
I gave my normal shoe size when asked, only to have Coach Sham ask for a size up. Typically, the size of your running shoes should be a size or two bigger than your normal heels. Feet swell and lengthen during a run so there should be wriggle space between the front of the shoe and longest toe and along the widest part of your foot. On a normal day, my flats are an European size 38 but for the perfect fit, my trainers had to be a size 40.
Meeting the Faas family
Now we are talking, I thought as various pairs of running shoes were placed at my feet. Trying on shoes is always fun!
The Faas family – from left: Faas 300, Faas 500 V2 and Faas 600
The shoes in the Puma Faas range all have the FaasFoam One-Piece Midsole and Faas Engineered Recessed Outsole that make for a flexible sole and a smooth ride. The main difference was in their heel-toe-drop HTD (a zero HTD means your feet and ball of foot will be exactly at the same height on the ground and a higher HTD would see your heel sitting higher off the ground than the ball of your foot) and the Faas entourage reminded me of the three bears in Goldilocks.
The “baby” Faas 300 has the thinnest sole. While I liked how lightweight the Faas 300 was on my feet – Coach ham told me that it was the choice race-day shoe for some runners. I could see how one could speed along in them – the minimal sole didn’t provide enough stability for my flat feet.
I felt more comfortable and secure running in the “mother” of the group the Faas 500 V2. The decoupled heel provided support and helped curb my feet’s tendency to overpronate (foot rolls inwards more because of flat feet). I thought I had found my perfect match in its 4mm HTD but Coach Sham pointed out that my heel still hit the ground first during the test run on the treadmill.
As I jogged in the big “daddy” Faas 600, my feet were forced to land on the ball first instead of my heel. The 12mm HTD structured the shoe in a way that it provided great cushioning and prodded my feet to run on the balls of my feet, which according to Coach Sham is the most efficient running gait.
Taking the Faas 600 for a test-run
Coach Sham reckoned that the Faas 600 – although not the most comfy to me now – would be super in helping me correct the way I run but recommended the Faas 500 v2 for the actual race day and track work.
Track work? Well now that I had the perfect pair of shoes, it was time to hit the road.
Want to get the dream trainer to start you off on the right track? Stay tuned for how you can win more than $3,000 worth of Puma goodies, including Puma Mobium Elite Glow running shoes!
Puma is located at #02-153/154 Marina Square, #B2-23 ION Orchard and #B2-15 Ngee Ann City. For more information on Puma, go to http://www.puma.com. Follow the brand on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pumasingapore.