My ongoing shoe journey…

I mentioned in my last blog post that I’m a bit of a shoe hoarder.

If only…

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.

It may not be the sexiest shoe in the world…but I love it.

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)?

I do love this shoe.

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!)


7 responses to “My ongoing shoe journey…

  • dirtygirlrunning

    Have you tried the Kinvaras yet? They’re going to be lighter weight than the Cortanas and the next step to to a more minimal shoe. I trained for a half in the original Kinvaras and loved them. I didn’t like the Kinvara 2s, but haven’t tried the 3s yet. I also love love LOVE my Brooks PureFlows. I’m on my 2nd pair and they are wonderful. Not as light as the Kinvara 3s, but lighter than the Cortanas with the 4 mm offset still. Plus, they come in pretty purple. I have a pic of me modeling them somewhere 🙂

    • illinoishawkeye

      The Kinvaras are definitely on my “must try” list. It’s amazing to me that I didn’t try them on when I got the Cortanas…but I didn’t. So those are an option. I’m also going to have to decide what distances I want to run in the next year or so. I have three half marathons this fall, so I will need to find the right show for those.

  • kaitwatts

    I love Mizunos. I have a titanium rod in my foot holding my 5th metatarsal together and I went through the craziness that you described here. They give me the best support and tend to be on the lighter side than some of the other. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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