I really needed some new running shoes for the work outs that I do, so today I bit the bullet and went to a big athletic store and spent about an hour trying on all kinds of shoes. The last pair of running shoes I bought are about 10 years old and were bought on a whim, without any regard to their actual specs and comfort - I basically bought those because they were on sale and dirt cheap.
Unfortunately, they also really hurt my toes whenever I worked out in them, I think they were too small for me because my big toe nail would always knock against the front, which is really painful when you do plyometric jump training. No amount of nail trimming worked, so I knew I just had to get something better that actually felt good and gave me support.
After trying on so many pairs, I finally purchased the Adidas Response Cushion shoes.
These are actually mens shoes since ladies runners don't run in my size. I have to say I don't really care for the design or colors very much, but Adidas make some of the narrowest mens shoes (most other mens shoes are cut wider, so aren't suitable for most women) and these were actually darn comfortable with a lot of grip and support. Having large feet means my choices are limited, and the point of these shoes was to find a pair that filled my requirements, who cares what they really look like. I'll only be wearing these for workouts anyway.
Here with my horrible old and painful Nikes...
I don't really have a lot of experience buying training shoes, but the sales staff was pretty helpful and the best thing is to take your time and do a few moves in the store to see how they feel - if you run, do a few laps around the shop. I must have looked a bit silly doing plyometric jumps around the store! Haha... But in the end they felt good on and my toe wasn't hitting the front anymore. I think buying good shoes is definitely worth the investment if you plan to do a lot of exercise with them, it makes a huge difference to your comfort level.
I also purchased some fitness gloves for weight lifting and push-ups.
I used to think these were a bit superfluous unless you were a pro bodybuilder or something, but I've realized how slippery and wet my hands get from sweating, and it makes weightlifting a bit cumbersome when you can't get a good grip on the darn thing. Also, we have a hardwood floor, so when doing push-ups with sweaty hands, I'd leave huge hand prints or just be sliding around - not fun.
To be honest I didn't enjoy spending money on the shoes, they are so outrageously marked up here in Switzerland (they cost less than half online in the USA I saw) but I see it as investing in my health and well being and it's actually something I needed.
I can't wait to do my first workout with these tomorrow.