Part 2: Training for Hilton Head Island’s Upcoming Races

I have a confession. For the longest time I bought running shoes and wine with the same motto in mind–“If the design looks good, buy it.” Obviously, I knew very little about running and wine-ing and went on a purely aesthetic guess. After learning a few things the hard way, both my feet and my dinner guests will no longer need to suffer.

And nor do you. As far as footwear is concerned, get on course with Ryan Stefonick of Go Tri Sports. Stefonick–an accomplished triathlete who will readily admit, “Shopping for a proper pair or running or walking shoes can be overwhelming”–will hold your hand through finding the perfect fit for your feet.

“Every pair of shoes is assessed by our custom foot strike analysis. Whether you are a seasoned runner, or a leisurely walker, we have the shoes for you,” says Stefonik.


Stefonick helped me get fitted to this pair of Pearl Izumis

Here’s how Stefonick’s sizes up which shoe is best for you:

1.     He determines which of the 3 basic styles of shoes you need

  • Neutral
  • Stability
  • Motion control

2.     He examines your arch type to see if you have a

  • Low/flat foot
  • Medium arch
  • High arch

3.     He assesses your gait by watching you walk/run on an in-store treadmill and determines if you are

  • Supinate
  • Neutral
  • Over pronate

4.     He listens to your “shoe story” or foot troubles to see if you have any

  • Past foot pain
  • Injuries
  • Bone deformities (such as bunions)

5.     He educates you on his shoe recommendations and footwear basics (such as “sizing up from your dress shoe size”)

6.     He asks you about line preferences (for example)

  • Saucony = comfort
  • Asics = gel cushioning and memory foam in heal
  • Brooks = consistency, adaptability
  • Mizuno = high arch, smooth ride
  • Pearl Izumi = seamless upper fit that feels like a sock
  • Inov-8 = minimal light shoes

Elite triathlete Bridget Campbell

Stefonick advises runners, “If you start to feel achy in your legs or feet, chances are your shoes are broken down” and recommends buying  a new pair of shoes “every 500-600 miles or 6-8 months.”

And don’t worry about being wasteful. Go Tri Sports donates “well-loved shoes” to the Litter Box Thrift Store, which raises money for the Hilton Head Humane Society.

Those of you training for one of Hilton Head Island’s upcoming races, or just returning to running after a hot summer, can also talk with Stefonick and other Go Tri Sports employees about good clothing options. In the past, I bought exercise clothes from Target but recently I found that quality clothes–from sports bras to shorts–really add comfort to my run and enable me to run longer, especially when it’s a hot one.

Be, well–Becca