I mentioned in my last blog post that I’m a bit of a shoe hoarder.
In fact, just last week I took about 10 pairs to Goodwill…some I had only worn once or twice.
In my defense, I buy almost all my shoes on clearance or on sale, or on eBay. So I can fund this
minor obsession with minimal expenses. I probably get 3-4 pairs for the price of one new pair, because I am so cheap frugal good at finding a deal.
Except for my running shoes. I am perfectly willing to spend money on good running shoes, because I know the value that I get out of them. And I know how important it is to have the right shoes for my running style, and my body. Of course, I am still not afraid to search for the best deal I can find on the shoes I want, but I won’t buy a pair of running shoes just because they are cheap. Make those a cute pair of flats or sandals, and all bets are off.
I’ve also made a shoe evolution of sorts through the last 5 years of running.
I started out with a pair of Saucony stability shoes (the ProGrid Guide). I went through two pairs of these when I was first starting out in my running career. And they worked out pretty well.
Then I started with Team in Training, and I finally got professionally fitted (at my favorite running store in the world, Running Wild). They fitted me in the Adidas Supernova Sequence. Again, I wore two pairs of these. These are the shoes I wore for my first two half marathons, back in 2009.
I then made another transition (notice a pattern here? I can’t really stick with one thing for very long…). I had recently read Born to Run, and I had also recently had my third child, so I had been forced to slow down my running and was in the process of building back up. I had experimented with running in the Vibram Five Finger shoes, and they just didn’t work for my feet. (I have weird toes and the toe pockets just don’t work for me, they hurt!). But I had felt the freedom of running with less on my feet, and I wanted to feel that again.
I went back to Running Wild and told them I really wanted to try running in less shoe. They recommended that I gradually work down to a minimal shoe (although I had been running in the Vibrams already), so they fitted me in the Asics Gel-DS Trainer.
Again, I wore this shoe for a few half marathons. Then, last fall, on a trip where I had forgotten to pack shoes, I was forced to go shopping (yeah, it was really tough). I tried on a pair of the New Balance Minimus shoes and was in love. They felt like slippers on my feet, they were light, and I just felt so good wearing them. And, they were on clearance at a great price! I figured I would wear them casually, but I didn’t know if I’d like to run in them.
I have been wearing these shoes since last fall, and I have been running in them. Once I tried running in them, I was hooked. I could run faster, lighter, and more easily. My form was better, and my legs were stronger. And these aren’t really “minimal” shoes – they are just less shoe than I had been wearing. There’s still quite a substantial sole, and padding. But it’s much less than anything I had run in before, and I felt amazing.
These are now my go-to 5k racing shoes, and I wear them for everything up to and including 6 miles runs. In fact, I was running exclusively in them up until I hit the 10 mile run in my marathon training. I started to have a bit of pain in my ankle, and thought, perhaps, that these weren’t the best shoe to run a marathon in. I went back to Running Wild and found the Saucony Cortana. They felt light, yet cushioned, and I thought, “This is what I need for long distances!” And I bought them (at $150, it was definitely NOT a bargain shoe!)
And yes, I did all my long runs, and the marathon, in this shoe. But even now, when I put it on, I want my New Balances on instead. So I’m back to trying to figure out exactly what I want to run in for the future. Should I stick with the New Balance WR10’s? Should I try the WR00 (the zero drop shoe)? Should I run in the Merrell Pace Gloves (my current go-to casual shoe for summer)?
So, I have some more research to do, and some more testing. It’s going to be a fun ride, although it could get a bit expensive. Based on my history with shoe purchases, however, I bet not. I’m more likely to pass on a shoe “experiment” unless I really need one. More than likely I will run in what I have until they need to be replaced (probably later this summer or fall).
Unless some very benevolent running company out there wants to start to send me free shoes…hint, hint? (hey, it’s a very, very long shot!)