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Featured Altramaniac: Matt Hester

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I fell in love with running when I was in high school and never knew I had the appetite to run until I broke my wrist my senior season in football. I ran to stay in shape and it really grabbed hold of me. Since then I have run 4 marathons including 2 Goofy Challenges. People ask me what it takes to run a marathon, my answer you have to love to run and train. I love running unfortunately my feet did not love running. :) Over time I have had capsulitis, and plantar fasciitis, and eventually they developed into a really bad hammer toe and a bunion. The only way I was able to run with the hammer toe and stay pain free was by wearing custom orthotics. Which allowed me to keep running, but I also wanted to fix my form. Like most folks I never got any formal coaching I just did it. How bad can you really screw up running just put one foot in front of another?
I was doing a lot research and reading. One of the books that really changed my perspective on running is book a lot of people know: Born to Run. The booked helped me to start to understand a majority of my problems were caused by heel striking, not landing in my forefoot, and my shoes. Could shoes really have caused my foot issues and could I get them fixed? So I reached out to an expert. I reached out to Jimmy Hart, excellent running coach, great personal trainer and friend of mine for his guidance. I was still wearing the orthotics but I really liked the efficient form that Born to Run talked about. Unfortunately at this time I did know about Altras, not even sure if they actually existed. I started focusing on getting off the heels and shortening my stride but really could not get the feel I was looking for. While I have to say I loved the orthotics, my legs did not. The orthotics allowed me to run without pain in my feet, but that adjustment to my feet and running form caused pain in other places, mainly my hips and knees.
I knew I had to get my toe fixed, so I decided to get the surgery so not only I could keep running but extend my running “career”. To fix my hammer toe they also had to fix my bunion. In short, 2 screws, 1 pin and 5 months later I was finally able to take my first run. The doctors did a great job and I was able to run again! I also knew I had an opportunity most runners do not get; I was able to hit the reset button. I had a chance to be able to rebuild my running literally from the feet up.
Enter my first pair of Altras, thanks go to Jimmy Hart for the challenge me to wear these shoes. To be honest I was very leery about these shoes when I first saw them. They looked too thin, no support, no wide sizes (I have always worn 4e running shoes) and this zero drop thing maybe it was just a gimmick. Then I put them on and the first impression was how comfortable this show was. I did not need the wide size and the foot shape really makes a difference. Then I went for a short run in them. Wow. The shoes were not only great feel but they were actively helping me get on my forefoot and improving my form. They were getting me where I want to be as a runner. My advice to runners be open to change. I find most runners are with the exception of shoes. When it comes to shoes runners can be stubborn, I was and I know most of you are. My advice to everyone is to try these shoes.
Simply put these are the best shoes I have ever worn. I wear them when I am walking around the house, mowing my lawn and most importantly when I am running! I will never go back to another shoe! I wear the Provisions to run in and a pair of Instincts for everything else. These are truly a life changing shoe for me. Keep up the fantastic work!

-Matt Hester

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