Shopping for athletic shoes can work up a sweat

Chicago TribuneDecember 11, 2013 


Shopping for athletic shoes can work up a sweat.


There’s been a lot of reader angst over shoes lately. But Angel’s got your back. Or your feet. Or … whatever.

Needs supportive, wants cool

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: After much trial and error, I am frustrated with the two extremes of athletic shoes – clunky, orthopedic-looking or cool looking but not supportive. What athletic lace-up shoe brands can you recommend that are low-profile yet supportive? I am very grateful for your answer. – Flatfooted and hating it

Dear Flatfooted: Technology is your friend. People with the same brain power that makes it possible for the world to communicate in 140 characters have been working on athletic shoe designs. Today there are so many options for shoes that look good and give you the support you want, it will make your head spin. To keep you coming back and buying more, shoe manufacturers are constantly coming out with new models and features.

Frankly, it’s so confusing that you might just want to do what I do: Go to the best running store you can find and tell a veteran sales associate what you want in a shoe. When I did that recently I walked out in a pink/orange Saucony “Kinvara 3” which gets high marks (and compliments) for cute and does the job (although they might not be supportive enough for you). The guy who sold me the shoes even diagnosed my running injury and successfully suggested how to rehab it. If you want to do some serious shoe research, a good place to start is Want more? Check the Runner’s World quarterly shoe guide ( and its “shoe finder,” which asks a bunch of questions, then makes recommendations. Unfortunately “cool looking” isn’t one of the options.

A friend just ran a marathon (a personal best!) and raved about his Nike Flyknit Lunar1+ – a little pricey (around $160), but they were an “Editor’s Choice” in the Runner’s World shoe guide, and I love the way they look. You can search for “stability” under the women’s running shoe tab on and find 16 recommendations including one (Nike LunarGlide+ 5 iD, $145) that you can customize with colors in eight different parts of the shoe. Other manufacturers’ websites also allow you to search for the features you want. Long story short, once you get into it, there’s way too much info and too many options out there. Good luck.

Supportive and dressy, not dowdy

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have severe heel pain and am limited to tennis shoes or Orthaheel brand shoes. I’m going on a cruise to Mexico in December and am at a loss as to what to wear to the formal dinner night. Any advice? – Barb

Dear Barb: I’ll grant you that the Orthaheel shoes are not much to look at, but that brand does make a couple models that look OK for your needs. The Milan flat ($129.95) is passable, and the Olivia flat ($89.95) with a tiny bow will work, especially in black patent, which is dressier than plain leather. Find both on Another solution is to add a detachable rhinestone shoe clip, which will give any shoe a fancier look. I’ve seen them on and And remember this good news: Nobody can see your feet when you’re seated at the dining table.

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