Thursday, January 05, 2012

And now, every runners favorite subject...Let's Talk Shoes!!!

So the last two years, the Trakkers / Rev3 team had hooked me up with shoes.  OMG, did this girl feel so lucky about that!

2010 was the year of Saucony and 2011 was the year of Avia!  I tried several models of both brands that worked fine for me and to my liking.

My shoe history is as such.  I used to buy the over-priced stability shoes when I first got into running more competitively about 8 years ago or so.  Over the years, I have learned I never needed all that stability and have went more minimal over the years.  I pronate to a degree and always wear out the outsides of my shoes.  My feet are on the wide side and over the years I have developed a running style that always strikes with my forefoot.  Prior to Trakkers, I was only an Asics girl.  I ran in the 2100 series for awhile and then fell in love with the Asics DS Trainers.  As the team aligned with Saucony, I looked for what shoe might be the best for me.  I finally landed on the Saucony Tangents and liked those pretty well and completed my first 140.6 in them.  Then I was introduced to the Fasttwitch 4's and the Kinvara's and liked them both....well I think it might have been a love affair with the Kinvara's.  First all, they were super light and felt fast, but I loved the bold hot pink color and have subsequently got 2 pairs in that color and one with the white/hot pink look.

As the team aligned I went to the Avia Bolt II's and III's.  Another shoe I liked for the color and many of the features that made it a nice tri shoe with the speed laces and heel tab and these shoes got me through my second 140.6.

But now that I am a free agent so to speak as far as I am not getting free shoe hookups, (but open to offers!!  ;-0   ) (Sidenote:  This is a subject for a long overdue post to come.  Cliff notes version was that I did not re-apply for Trakkers / REV3 this year and I also resigned from my local Bike Authority Fleet Feet team.  So much to say on this subject which will again be discussed later, but I think the world of both of them and am incredibly thankful for all the opportunities they gave me.  Both teams and teammates will forever hold a special place for me!  But for 2012, I am focusing on the local scene, continuing efforts of the CTC front as well as working with my good friends, Rob and Emily on building their new shop team, Team Bicycle Hub!) ...back to the free agent, anyways now I am trying to decide what I might want to run in because if you have not noticed by now, this girl loves to run!

In several magazines and articles I had read, the Brooks Pure Connects seemed to be garnering a lot of attention and seemed to be the new it shoe to try in my mind. I tried a few different pairs of shoes on at the store (Fleet Feet of course) but I think before I had went in, my mind was made up that I wanted to try to the Brooks Pure Connects.

I thought the Pure Connects had a fun fresh light look.  The shoes feel much narrower on the balls of my wide feet (vs the Kinvara) but they are not too snug.  I am not sure if it is just that they were new, but the cushioned feel was noticeable and I liked it.  One thing I was a bit concerned with that I had heard from others was that the arch was a bit much for some of my friends, but I like the way the arch feels.  Before I even started running I definitely noticed how the heel cup and strap behind seemed to push on my heel.  And once I started running, I have come to find it something that I am having a hard time with.  For me, these shoes seem to dig into my heels a lot.  I was hoping it would be just a matter of breaking them in so I have been mixing them in with others shoes. I have even changed shoes mid-run on the treadmill as they bother me so.  Everything besides the heel feels good, but even after probably 8 runs or so in them which have been probably 60+ miles, they still seem to really tear up my heels.  I always wonder when I have something like this happen if I just got a bad shoe or what.  Maybe it will get better or maybe these shoes are just not for me.

So, fortunately for me, I had scored some Dicks gift cards for Christmas so I headed back to the store to pick up old reliable, the Saucony Kinvara's because I was still in need of some shoes that I could put some miles on as there was a reason I had bought the Connects.  The store had my beloved hot pink Kinvara I's and I was just going to go for a 3-peat as they were on a killer sale, but they did not have any in my size.  So I bought the Kinvara II's.  I threw them on this Tuesday for the inaugural run on the treadmill which was 10 miles with 6x1mile repeats at just under 7 min mile pace.  This could be where the "Reunited and it feels so good" song would be playing in the background.  No issues at all, just happy light feet!!!

To compare I would say that the shoes feel similar in weight.  My strike does not change between the two shoes.  With my slightly wider feet, I do like the feel of the Kinvara's better.  As a note the Kinvara II's are definitely narrower than the I's but still fine for me.  The Kinvara feels slightly more cushioned than the Pure Connect.  The only drawback to my new Kinvara II's, was the only color that they had in stock was the one pictured above which is a little vanilla for my tastes.  Yet, I could not be happier to be running in a shoe that makes my feet feel light and pain-free!  Time to log some more miles!

And you thought I was done talking about shoes!  The husband picked up a pair of the Salomon Crossmax shoes as he has taken a liking to trail running.  These came highly recommended from Jody at Fleet Feet.  So of course I was jealous of his shiny new shoes and decided I wanted new trail shoes.  After all, I do have a 50K trail run this month on the calendar.  So back to Fleet Feet I went as my old trail shoes did bother my feet a bit (seemed to often have discomfort on the top of my foot where a seem was).  Again, I tried on several pairs, but like before, my mind was already made up and I got myself a pair of the Salomon Crossmax shoes too!

Now these shoes, I have loved from the start.  Comfortable, lightweight, good tread and laces I won't have to re-tie a thousand times (like my current ones despite all my double knotting).  I have wore these on two shorter trails runs and so far, I am impressed!  Now I am just hoping for some nice trail race conditions so all that tread will not be so necessary but lately we are just getting LOTS of mud!!!



Matty O said...

aye! I have the same DAMN SHOE PROBLEMS!

Brooks have fit me very well and work for me... however, w/ all my IT issues and achilles issues, I am believing that I too need to stray from my old reliable :(

Going in to see Jody and figure this out.

Glad you have been able to test out the shoe circuit and know what is right for you. Luckily I typically have no issues w/ blisters or anything w/ my feet.

I pronate something fierce and need the support, when I went minimalist I did some more damage :(

Good luck at the trail race!

TriEric said...

Mizuno for this runner. I have been to other shoes and I always go back to my Mizuno's.