Friday, June 27, 2014

Shoe sizing

Yes, I'm still stuck on toenails. Sorry! Apparently, I am traumatized or something.

So the general wisdom is to go up a 1/2 to a full shoe size for runners, right? Because your feet swell and yadda yadda, prevents blisters and bruised toenails, et cetera, et cetera. I didn't know that back when I first started running, and bought a pair of shoes in  my normal size.

Needless to say, that was the first time I ever lost a toenail. The big toe on my right foot - and it took forevvvvver to grow back. That one is hard to hide, hah! I bumped up to a size 7 for running and haven't looked back since - happy feet, happy legs.

Until the Wholly Hell two weeks ago, which has claimed the lives of not one but two toenails.

Let's all observe a moment of silence for my poor toes.

At least this time it's the little toenails, but it's had me wondering - what the heck happened that I bruised the two little toenails on my left foot? Why TWO toenails on the same foot? Why the little ones? I don't even usually so much as get blisters, and when I do, they're on the big toe. (I did get blisters too, but not on any toes. Wut?)

So clearly, I've been busy thinking over  over-analyzing  obsessing over every bit of the race. And I think two things happened -

1) This was my longest trail run ever. In asking in a local trail group, I think I may have to size up slightly more - trails are harder on your feet (easier on your joints as they tend to be softer, but uneven ground means your feet get more battering?). Though I've used the shoes and socks I wore on way longer road runs, my longest trail race prior to this was 5 miles.

2) The vertical climb I posted a picture of - at the end of the second loop, the roots tried to steal my shoe on my left foot. And in retrospect all of the soreness started in my third loop. So it's possible that my foot being yanked out loosened the tie on the laces enough that my foot was sliding around; I was not paying enough attention to notice however. I probably should have stopped and retied!

I can't fix the latter, but in the future if that happens I will stop and retie. The former though, I picked up a pair of Brooks Ravenna 4 to try in a size 7.5. They were recommended for a slightly wider toe box and I went up a half a size to be safe. I wasn't sure how they'd feel - I was worried they'd be too big - but a test drive this morning felt great! Cross your fingers that I don't have to make anymore toenail sacrifices to the running gods...

Dark shoes are dark. Also, photobombing baby!


  1. Were you wearing trail shoes for that race? Trail shoes are designed a bit different and some may have more toe box room, and also, will be designed to help your feet deal better with the pounding of the trail. Also, consider that your feet may swell more in the summer and 1/2 may not be enough space. I go up a full size.

    1. I uh, don't actually own trail shoes. Hah! I will need to get some eventually.

      I wear a size 6 normally, 7 in runners. I went to a 7 1/2 for these Brooks though.

    2. Whoa! 1.5 bigger! I hope that helps! And maybe you mentioned this, but have you been keeping your toenails trimmed so they don't jam in to the front of the shoe?

    3. Yeah, the trail group said it sounded like a good idea. I was nervous they'd feel huge but they actually felt ok, so we'll see!

      Yes I keep them very short. I still don't quite get how I squished the two little toes but not the big one?! Even my feet are quirky!