Quite a while ago, I read an intriguing article titled “10 Ways You’re Getting Ripped Off”. Among the many useless items listed there, one really caught my eye – Fitness Shoes. Having never been a shoe person, I wasn’t going to be buying the latest from Nike or Adidas anytime soon; but it did make me wonder how people can shell out so much cash on just a pair of shoes. Of course, the future is a whole different thing, and I made a mental note to be skeptical when choosing a pair of sportswear next time I was at a showroom.

As fate would have it, the necessity arose after I was diagnosed with perfectly flat feet sometime in the last year. This wasn’t surprising since I had known my feet were flat for a long time now – for obvious reasons as well! If you don’t notice the lack of an arch when you look at your feet, then there is something else wrong with you entirely. However, what I did not realize was the consequences they would have. A visit to the orthopedist resulted in me having to have orthopedic inserts done in all my pair of shoes. Now, having these done on your formal shoes is not really an issue; and since my work involves sitting most of the time, they were trouble-free. However, for running shoes, they are an entirely different matter altogether.

I bought a pair of generic Nike running shoes last year in the hope that it would kick-start a running habit in me. After the flat foot diagnosis, I had the inserts done on this pair as well, but still… no running! Being the laziest person alive, this was always going to be the case, and they have been gathering dust for a year now. Things changed a couple of months back, however. For some strange reason, I decided to transform myself into a compulsive runner. I started following the following 8-Week Plan dutifully; and the first few weeks were pretty uneventful.

The third week of the plan is where the need arises for you to step up your game and exert a lot of effort to keep up. Unfortunately, my flat feet and shoes with inserts came back to bite at me. The plan required me to run for four minutes with three-minute walks in-between. By the time I had completed the first 4-minute run my legs were begging me to stop. I tried to keep up with the plan by getting on with it, but my legs simply refused to obey. What was frustrating was that I had the stamina to complete the run; and my legs weren’t in pain but there was an intense burning sensation like they were on fire. Some research on the net led me to believe that other people with flat feet had similar problems and that it could have something to do with my shoes not providing proper balance.

All of that background information brings me to the topic at hand – The Nike Zoom Structure Triax+14 Shoes. Since my only visit to the orthopedist hadn’t proven to be successful, I decided to try out a different pair of running shoes before booking another appointment. Diligent research suggested that one the best shoes for runners with flat feet or overpronators was the aforementioned Nikes. I noted down the model name and visited the nearest Nike showroom.

Thankfully, they had them in stock and I was able to try them on. People say first impression is the best impression, and the Triax+14 scored full marks on that account. These had to be the lightest shoes I had ever tried on. Then, I got the bad news. They were priced at 600 AED; calling it steep would be an understatement. Funnily enough, two thoughts popped into my head. The first one was the article I talked about in the beginning and it filled me with skepticism as to whether they would be worth it. The second was the famous “The Jacket” episode from the second season of Seinfeld, and that quote from the title character: “Should I get it? I hate these moments. I’m hearing the dual voices now, you know. “What about the money?” “What’s money?”” Eventually, I made the same decision Jerry makes in that episode.

On the shoes themselves, turns out my first impression wasn’t false after all. I’ve been using them for about a week now and they have helped me continue my 8-Week plan without fail. After a couple of weeks of falling short of the plan, I was able to complete four sessions of 4-minute runs interspersed with 3-minute walks – and still have enough energy left to do more even – over the past week.

What makes these shoes so special is the stability they offer. On my old pair, I felt pain in my knees, heels, and even the underside of my feet when I landed each step. I could feel the lack of support they provided for someone with my condition, even with the orthopedic inserts. The Triax+14 have been designed with that in mind. What this means is that my knees are no longer compensating for the shocks I receive due to the absence of an arch. Further technical details of how they do that escape me. However, I can say this without a doubt that I have felt little or no pain at all when I have been using these shoes. So, they must be doing something right.

These are a pair of shoes I would easily recommend to people with similar feet to mine or even severe overpronators; though it has to be noted that each person is different. These shoes came with high praise and lived up to the expectations as well. They also taught me that you always get what you pay for. Turns out I wasn’t ripped off after all!