Whether you’re walking, jogging or running, the right shoes can make the difference to the success of your fitness program.

From couch to 5K: The gear to get you off and running

Put your best foot forward with shoes and clothing suited to your unique needs

Is the Comox Valley Road Runners’ 5K Fun Run on your New Year’s to-do list?

You’re not alone.

The Road Runners’ annual Learn to Run Clinic, kicking off Jan. 13 and ending with the 5K and a new commitment to wellness, tops the resolutions of many Valley residents.

After making the commitment, the right shoes are your next step.

“The right shoes can make the difference to your success, whether you’re starting a walk/run program or taking your efforts to the next level,” notes Andy Ronald, of Courtenay’s Extreme Runners. Nothing will will derail your resolution quicker than a painful experience.

Here on the West Coast, a running program typically takes you outside, so the right clothing is essential. After more than a decade in the industry, Andy has seen a variety of innovations, both in shoes and technical wear, but at the end of the day it comes down to one thing: how a particular shoe or piece of clothing works for you.

Step 1. Get fitted.

Regardless of whether you’re starting at a walk, jog or run, not all shoes – or all brands – are created equal.

“Every person is different. The unique shape of their feet and body mechanics mean what’s right for one person won’t work for another,” Andy says.

Beyond foot size and shape, a proper fitting should include a gait analysis to assess your body mechanics, which can change over time. That kind of analysis is impossible to do online, making that in-person expertise vital.

Extreme Runners’ free gait analysis helps determine how your body moves when walking and running, how your foot interacts with the ground, and issues such as overpronation that affect which shoe you should choose.

Step 2. Select the right shoe

“Today’s selection and shoe technology make it easier than ever to get you off on the right root in your fitness program, but without considering all your fit factors, it’s also far too easy to end up in the wrong shoe. The result can be a real pain – literally.”

Beyond body mechanics, the experts will guide you to the right shoe for your chosen activity. If training for the 5K, for example, are you walking or running? On the street, trail or treadmill, or a combination? “All factor into which shoe we would recommend,” Andy says, noting that at Extreme Runners, knowledge and experience don’t come at a premium price, as basic shoe prices are largely set by the manufacturers.

Step 3. Choose the right clothing

Just like activity, location and your body mechanics determine which shoe works best, those same criteria guide technical clothing. From jackets that keep you warm in winter without overheating to moisture-wicking running tights and shorts, the Extreme Running team can point you in the right direction!


Extreme Runners has been the Comox Valley run-specific shop for over 20 years, carrying established brands like New Balance, ASICS and Saucony as well as newer brands like Altra and TOPO. Visit them in Downtown Courtenay.

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