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Santa was very good to me this Christmas.

I got exactly what I requested: a pair of running shoes built specifically for the way that I run.

Of course I know that I can find a pair of cross trainers on sale in a number of stores just minutes from my house.

But would they have the proper fit? Would they cushion my arch the way it needs to be supported when I head out my front door for a quick run? Would they sufficiently absorb the force of impact?

The only way to know if you’re wearing the right kind of shoe for running is to be fitted by someone who does.

They can recommend the best shoe for you by watching how your feet and ankles move as you run. Some runners need a shoe designed to help stabilize the body because their feet and ankles roll inward. Others may push off more from their outer toes.

If you don’t think wearing proper shoes is important, maybe you’ve never been injured. A poor-fitting shoe can lead to bunions, injuries and turn your workout into torture.

Isn’t exercise challenging enough by itself?

I knew on the first day that I had the right pair of shoes.

How?

I never wanted to take them off.

Thanks, Santa!

Alice Warchol is a freelance health writer and fitness instructor.

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