A free gait analysis at a local running store yielded some startling results, revealing that a customer needed not just different shoes but new socks, a jacket, and a GPS watch as well.
The customer knew she needed new shoes when she visited the Runner's Zone store Sunday afternoon, she said in an interview.
"My old ones had 349 miles on them," said Anna Karenina, 33. "So they only had one more mile left before they went bad."
Requesting a pair of the same model in the same size, Karenina thought she'd be out the door with her new shoes in a matter of minutes. But when a Runner's Zone salesperson brought her the shoes, he asked her to put them on and ushered her to a treadmill.
"Let's do a quick gait analysis," Alex Vronsky, 23, told her.
Almost immediately, Vronsky told Dumb Runner, he could tell Karenina was in the wrong shoes.
"Her gluteotibial chain was skewing lateral-wise," he explained, "and the hip adductors were extensoring from the medial angle, which was impacting her bipedalism."
"We put her in a pair of Brooks, and the difference was amazing."
The improvements, however, didn't end there.
Subsequent analysis on the treadmill showed that Karenina could also benefit from new socks, a different style of waterproof jacket, and even a GPS running watch.
"It's all biomechanics and stuff," said Vronsky, who has no training in biomechanics. "And we have this little video camera behind the treadmill."
For her part, Karenina said she was impressed with the technology—and grateful for the recommendations.
"If it hadn't been for that test," she said, "I'd still be running in my old, wrong shoes and socks. And jacket. And watch."
"I'll definitely be back, after another 350 miles."