I am alive.. and well! Well, well enough. Still regaining energy (happening at a snails pace) but otherwise on the mend. Thank goodness! That was just... hell.
So a couple days ago I went shoe shopping. I'm going to join the gym next week (very affordable, compared to back home) and wanted to get suited up. So I walk in and tell the guy I need new shoes. He tells me they have a process, and in about a half hour I will have said shoes. A process. Okay. He explained it briefly and while a little involved, otherwise painless and why not.. I had half an hour to kill.
First you take off your shoes and socks and step on this plexiglass device, which underneath is lit in neon colours. It tells you if you have high arches, fallen arches, etc etc. It was kind of cool. Then he gives you a shoe in approximate size and he watches you run (they actually have a test strip in the store) and you're vidoed (just at foot level); afterwards you review the tape together. I knew I had a pronation when I walk, but when I run not so much; my ankle rolls slightly inward when I run, but not enough to need anything specific or fitted (I can have a shoe with a neutral heel). So he brings out 3 pairs of shoes. The first pair you try on both feet. You run, he watches. Then you replace one with another shoe. Run again. Then replace one with the lesser-liked shoe. Run again (this final shoe was a definite no for me). Then try both shoes of the same pair that you like and walk around/run again. See? Involved. In the end, though, I did get a shoe I liked a lot (Psst.. CS.. they're part purple!). I've never owned Acics before so I'll be interested to see how these hold up. He recorded my information for next time which was also nice. I got a 10% discount thanks to my health Insurance and off I went, shoes in hand. I tested them out today. They make me very happy :)
I have never experienced anything like this back home and I've had my fair share of running shoes. Mind you, I would get them in the mall, and not in "special" stores for runners (where this was) so I don't know if we have those back home or not. This experience was another example of how things are in the Netherlands (comparitavely); they take the time to do something right the first time and experience (ideally) lesser hassles in the future. I'm sure it's safe to assume this store has less complaints and returns.
When I bought my winter boots (functional, yet fashionable) I was offered a spray. Oh, not this again I thought; trying to sell you something you don't need and will never use. But that's not how the Netherlands works. They sell you what you need for the product you're buying, not in an attempt to gain more profit. I discussed this with my (Dutch) friend at the time (my views, opinions etc) and yeah.. different mindset.