Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Running shoes: lucky number 7? #runchat

Sit down, kids.  Grab a beverage. I'd like to tell you a little story about 7 pairs of running shoes and my quest to find the perfect pair.  Because my foot is a little on the wide side, finding shoes that fit is difficult.  I don't really need a wide width (except my Asics are a wide) because most wides are actually too big.  If a shoe does come in a wide width, most stores don't even carry them - you have to special order.  It's dumb but it is what it is.  Since my race is in less than 11 days, I don't have time for that shit.
From left to right, my shoes for the past 2 years.

Asics GT 2170 (grey and purple) - I've run in Asics GT 2170s (or whatever number their predecessors were) from the time I started running.  When I had my stress fracture and started running again, everyone said I needed MORE support.  I tried the newer GT 2000 and hated it.  Too much support and they hurt my feet.  I had doctors telling me I needed orthotics and other crap too, but whatever I tried just made my shin still hurt and I felt like I wasn't getting better.  Then, my PT suggested something very radical - that I probably had been running with too much support and I should try Newtons.

2011 Newton Gravity (orange) - LIGHT BULB! It took some time to transition to a shoe with a 4 or 5 mm drop, but transition I did.  I set PR after PR in these shoes and they will always hold a special place in my heart.  They were on my feet for the Martian Half (17 minute PR), Rivertown Half (3rd fastest half), River Bank Run 25k (11 minute PR), Reeds Lake 10k (9 minute PR), and then Bayshore Half (another 3 min PR from Martian), and then my first relay - The Fred - where I ran 18 miles in less than 24 hours.  Yes, a lot of hard work went into those 10k, half and 25k PRs but I attribute a lot of it to learning to run more midfoot in my Newtons.  Obviously, all that racing and training did a number on those shoes and they needed to be retired. By the time The Fred came around, I was having heel and achilles issues, probably from overtraining and my shoes wearing out.

2012 Newton Gravity (blue and green) - I bought these shoes and something was not right.  They felt HUGE.  I exchanged them for a half size smaller and started really feeling some issues with my heel.  I wore them with heel cups for the Wine Trail Half and it really sucked.  My body was telling me I went a bit overboard this year.  I don't really blame the shoes, but I think the fit not being quite right contributed to my heel spurs.

2013 Newton Gravity (hot pink and blue) - I decided that maybe there was something flawed in the 2012 Newtons so I ordered the 2013 version.  These seemed to run very narrow and my runs in them left me with numbness and tingling in my right foot (the "good" side).  Wearing shoes a bit too tight probably have given me either a neuroma or I have a fracture.  At this point, I'm not finding out until after Jax.  These are currently sitting in the box waiting to be shipped back. *sad face*

Mizuno Wave Inspire 10 (black) - This was a completely new shoe to me and I was excited to be able to review it for the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans's holiday gift guide.  The Inspire line is a highly structured but very light shoe.  I was skeptical and sadly, my gut instincts were right.  I only managed about 4 miles total in these shoes.  This shoe had so much support that it hurt my arches.  Did you know you aren't supposed to "feel" the support in your running shoes?  If they press into your arch, they have way too much support.  These are also sitting in the box.  I can wear them for walking around but will never run in them.

Hoka One One Bondi Speed 2 (white, red and orange) - I ordered these out of sheer desperation.  I was able to borrow my girlfriend's Bondi 2 and although it was way too big, I liked the cushioning.  (These shoes are insanely cushioned but still quite light).  Do you notice anything in the picture when you compare this shoe with all the others?  How about the fact it's about 2 sizes too big?  I think these could have had potential, but if you have baby feel like me (about a 7-8 in running shoes) you are pretty much out of luck in Hokas.  They run very big and the ones I ordered only come in men's sizing.  This is the smallest size they carry.  Also sitting in the box waiting to be shipped back.

Mizuno Wave Elixir 8 (blue and orange) - Also a completely new shoe to me and just purchased last night at our local running store.  I'm getting very desperate. I love the look of this shoe - it actually feels like a racing flat and is very light, but it isn't a racing flat at all.  This shoe has very little support but a lot of cushioning in the heels, to the point of a 13mm heel to toe differential (for comparison, the industry average drop is about 12mm).  This is HUGE, especially since I'm used to running with 8mm (Asics) or 4mm (Newtons).  It also has almost no cushioning in the forefoot to allow for a more powerful toe-off.  This part worries me for my run this afternoon.  I already have issues with my forefoot from the neuroma or whatever and I'm afraid they are going to hurt.  I ran 1/2 mile at the store in them fine, but that 5 minutes was nothing compared to a 2+ hour half marathon.  I also feel like I'm taking a giant step backwards in that I had transitioned to a more minimal running shoe and now I'm clear at the other end of the spectrum.  I'll put them to the test this afternoon.  I know that already being broken, there will be no miracle shoe that will all of a sudden make all the hurt go away, but I'd like to get through a run without limping.  Stay tuned.

In case you missed it - Corey won my book giveaway! Congrats, Corey.
Have you ever had this much trouble finding a running shoe?  What is your favorite shoe to wear?

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