Since registering interest for my upcoming marathon I've walked 452 miles in training, lost 1 1/2 stones, and worn out a pair of trainers. When Sportsshoes.com were offering the chance of pair of trainers to review via Britmums I jumped at the chance.
When I went into our tiny local sports shop they had about 12 pairs of trainers. Sportshoes.com had 888 pairs in the women's section. Oh boy. How on earth can you choose from that many? But once you've filtered for activity, and size which are the obvious place to start it gets easier. Then you can filter for price, brand, colour, feature and most importantly type. This is where you can choose the trainers that are most suitable to your own feet. There is plenty of advice on the site how to choose the right shoes for you, and you get to have fun making footprints whilst you do it!
Power walking requires a certain type of trainer, and none of the shoe companies make the perfect one, so I sat with my list of requirements - supportive fabric eg. goretex, wide toe box - plenty of wriggle room for those toes, supportive flexible sole and came up with the selection of asics lady gel cumulus 14
which ticked all of my requirements, and had many more including gel cushioning, memory foam for comfort and my personal favourite - go faster stripes! - technically these are described as 3M reflectives - for running in low light, but I'm calling them go faster stripes and that's final.
I also personally really liked them as they aren't pink. I don't mind pink, but I just don't like that the sports companies assume women want pink and therefore it's almost impossible to find a pair of women's trainers without pink on somewhere.....
So I ordered a pair, a size larger as recommended for power walking (extra toe wriggle room) and was very excited when they came, and hugely disappointed to find that after all my deliberations they didn't fit..... too narrow. At this point I rang customer service, and got some very helpful advice, discussed the comparisons with another brand, and the operator went and found out all of the information I asked, and very helpfully suggested I tried a man's pair which would come up with a wider fit. I was also emailed a size comparison chart as a women's 8 is not the same as a man's 8 if you consider the European sizing (42/42.5) to help choose the perfect replacement. Sportshoes.com have a 14 day no quibble returns / and or replacement policy, but as is often the case whenever you shop online you are liable for the return postage. I was fortunate to have a courier collect my shoes, but out of interest I took the parcel to the post office to get a quote, and it would cost £5.25 to return them second class postage, however if you wanted to have insurance as recommended by the returns policy the easiest way would be to return them recorded delivery at a cost of £8.25. The prices on the site are very competitive and there are some very good reductions to be found amongst all the ranges, which don't just include shoes but a good range of clothing and other products. The risk of having to return something is always there when you buy online, and for me the convenience of online shopping outweighs the risk.
My replacement pair asics gel cumulus have so far been a joy to wear. After a few short walks in them I was unsure whether it was a good idea to wear them for the 26.2 mile walk we had planned last week, long distances in new trainers is not the wisest decision, so I started out in them, and was prepared to change into my old worn out pair after 12 miles. After 12 miles they were still really comfortable so I kept them on, and didn't get a single blister.
Fingers/toes/arms and legs crossed that this continues!
disclosure; I wasn't paid to write this post, but I did receive a pair of trainers. Since I had been saving up to buy some new trainers myself I have added my savings to my fund raising.
What's the most unusual thing you've ever bought online?