Disclaimer: this post will be a bit TMI. If you don’t like reading about runner’s toes, flee now!
Anyone who’s read this blog for a while knows that I’m a big fan of kit… a gearhead, if you will. Back in March I wrote an ode to my running shoes, proclaiming my love of the Saucony Guide. I wore the Guide 6 for most of my running “career,” and recently switched over to the coveted Guide 7. The first time I gave them a trial run (you can read all about it if you so desire in my “OMG Shoes” post) they felt like they were part of my feet, and were the most comfortable running shoes I’d tried yet. I was beyond stoked when I finally bought a pair.
I was delighted to find that, after switching to the 7s, my splinty shins calmed down, and actually even went away completely. Huzzah! I concluded that my 6s had racked up enough miles to start bothering me and embraced the 7s even more.
Sadly, it’s starting to look like the 7s might not be as magical as I originally thought. Ever since making the switch at the Old Wethersfield 10K last month, my runner’s toes have been more angry than usual.
Quick TMI background: my right foot is disgusting. The nail on my second toe (next to the Big One) has turned black and fallen off 3 times in the last 15 years. Too much activity in ill-fitting shoes has its consequences! Currently it’s black and has been threatening to fall off once again for close to a year. My baby toe is angry as hell because it’s been rubbing constantly in pretty much every shoe since childhood, and the trauma of running has only made it worse. (Interestingly, the nail part has only been angry for less than a year – usually it’s a knuckle blister that’s the problem – and I’m not entirely sure what started all the nail drama.)
Now, ever since switching to the 7s, angry second toe has a big ol’ perma blister to go along with the bruised nail, and 4th toe (next to baby toe) has both a blister and a big, angry bruise. Initially I thought the new damage was from running in new socks for my 10K – lately I’ve been racing in double-lined socks and these were single-lined – but after subsiding in the week after the race, the anger and bruising have come right back after my long runs. I’ve tried a bunch of different socks but none have helped the blisters or bruising. All I can say is, thank god for super dark nail polish!
So, if it’s not the socks, it must be the shoes, right? I haven’t changed my running style, just my mileage, and this worries me. I love 5Ks but don’t want to be confined to that distance forever! I’ve been considering trying Altras because I’m curious if their wider toe box would help, but am hesitant to buy new shoes because I only just started wearing these new Guides. Plus, the Guides feel perfect in every other way. I’ve been scouring the web for Guide 7 reviews to see if anyone else has had the same problem, but reviewers have been praising them for their wide toe box and anti-blister rail (?!) and fabulous support.
On the other hand (foot?) this might all boil down to feet, and not shoes. I know I have weird feet (flat, really narrow) and messed-up toes (my second toes on both feet aren’t long like the big toe, like most people’s are, so my big toes put more strain on a smaller area and poke holes through socks like no one’s business… plus my toes point up whenever I take a step/flex my calf muscle/try to kick a ball) and this has made buying shoes a pain in the neck my whole life… if my toes don’t bump the shoes are usually too loose, but if the majority of my foot fits well, my toes will crash. Maybe the title of this post should be “Feet and the Drama They Cause;” it’s not Saucony’s fault that my feet are so bizarre!
So here are my questions for my fellow runners: Have you experienced crazy toe bruising like this and if so, have you figured out how to treat/prevent it? Do you think this onslaught of bruising is because I’ve been upping my mileage, and if so, will it get better or will I be doomed to run 4 miles or less for forever?? Does this sound like a shoe issue, or a sock issue, or is it an issue just because I have really weird feet, and toes that refuse to behave like normal toes? Do I need to win the lottery and have shoes specially made for my crazy feet? I’m at a complete loss and any advice at all would be greatly appreciated!
Happy running and happy feet!