Newton Kismet 2 – 50 Mile Review

Well it has been an interesting month in running shoes. The shoes that I bought at a premium price and thought would be the solution to many of my issues, are not the ones that I will be writing about. Actually they still have under 10 miles on them and are sitting in their box in the closet, with me having no plans of using them for running anytime soon.

No, the shoes that I found have worked the best for me were ones that bought on a whim and wasn’t sure that I would even use them all that much. Instead they have become my go to running shoes and yes, most everything else shoes too.

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They just fit well and are comfortable.

The Newton Kismet 2’s that I bought on closeout from Left Lane Sports for an easy on the wallet price.

They are my 4th pair of Newton’s and without a doubt my favorite pair. I thought when I ordered them that I would use them to tweak my running form, because the front lugs do help me think about how I am running. Continue reading “Newton Kismet 2 – 50 Mile Review”

What Are Brands Doing to MY Running Shoes

Whine Alert – Yes I am doing a little bit of whining here.

Yesterday, I was reading my RSS Feeds and Seth Goodin – who often has very thought-provoking posts, had an excellent one You are not the lowest common denominator and it got me to thinking about running shoes and the companies that bring these technological marvels to us runners.

Honestly, I can say that I have no brand loyalty or as Seth put it – have allowed any lock-in by any of the running shoe companies that are out there. I have written about it before here and here.

I have been called, picky, finicky, a pain in the ass and all those other endearing terms that I am sure that the brands use behind closed doors to describe runners who hop from brand-to-brand and do not show the proper loyalty to their great product lines.

Something, I think that the brands tend to forget, is that after I buy a pair of running shoes, especially if I like them.

Their running shoes become “my” running shoes and when that happens there is a huge difference in how I view “my” shoes versus other running shoes, I try.

I know that I get upset when a brand screws up “my” running shoes, especially when I go to buy another pair and they no longer work me, the same as they did in the past.

Yeah it pisses me off.

This is primarily why I am one of the many runners, who show no loyalty to a brand. Continue reading “What Are Brands Doing to MY Running Shoes”

First Real Run in the Newton Gravitas

Yes I know that I ran a whole mile in the Gravitas yesterday, but that was more of an excitement run than a real run. My legs were so beat up and tired when I ran yesterday, I was shocked at how well I ran in spite of that.

Going slow

I have watched most of the Newton Videos and read their literature over the past few months and take the warning that several have given me to be careful when starting out in the Newtons and to not overdo it and trash my Achilles/calves. After my experience with the MT20’s I plan to be very careful with how I transition to the Gravitas. I had planned to do between 2-3 and stop, everything felt fine and there were no aches or pains, so I did the 3.0.

I think that the work I have put in to change my form, the daily 100 ups, drills, running in the Kinvara 2 and the MT110s are going to make this transition a lot easier (plus the calf has healed up from that snowmobile trail strain). I still plan to make it a slow transition and don’t expect to make these my primary running shoes until early April.  I just want them ready for when the Kinvara have started to show a lot more wear.

So how did it go today?

The Newtons are very comfortable to run in, but I had a hard time getting a good rhythm through the first 1/2 mile. Every so often I would find the sweet spot and then lose the correct lean or how to lift instead of toe off (that is how I was taught back in the day and revert back to pretty quickly as my preferred way to run).

As I got more and more into the run, the better I felt. I won’t say that I was a speed demon, but I was moving along without putting a huffing and puffing like a wolf trying to get the three little pigs kind of effort. I stayed in the sweet spot more often and not and corrected myself when the landing started to feel clunky (good technical term, but if you run in Newtons you know what I mean).

While running tonight, I did notice that while landing on my heal is pretty easy and comfortable, however, it just doesn’t feel right and I tried to quickly correct whatever it is that I was or was not doing right pretty quickly, to get back the “correct” feel.

Also I ran right after a pretty good rain shower and the Gravitas gripped the roads without any problems. No they are not trail shoes, but that is not what they are made for and not what I got them for, I got them for running roads and maybe some dirt roads or paths, not trails. I have a sneaking suspicion that they are going to work great for me.

The reality is that

if the Newtons do work great for me it will really cause a huge dilemma, at some point down the road. When I have to replace them after X amount of mileage (because my form is far from perfect and I know that I still weigh too much for a 5’7″ inch runner). I will have to decide if the advantages of the Newton shoes outweigh the cost of Newton shoes.  But that is a problem that I don’t have to worry about now and I can just enjoy running for a while.

Who knows, by then running in Newton’s might make me into a running Demi God and I will have Newton or someone else clamoring to give me free running shoes for the rest of my life.

Yeah right I am laughing too and have a big grin about how much of a fantasy world that would be. 🙂

Ya gotta have a sense of humor to be a runnah.

Newton Gravitas – Initial Impressions

When I got home from my long run these were sitting waiting for me, in the living room (in the box)

I am very excited about it!!!

Start from the beginning

Oh wait, I guess I should back up and tell the story first.

Back in January and February after I was done researching what my next pair of shoes should be, I finally came up with a list of the 5 top shoes that I really wanted to try. Today, I got the shoes that I listed as second only because of the price, because there was no way in hell that I could afford them at their retail price – $175.00 or slide it by TheWife who keeps my urges to spend in check :-).

The Newton Gravitas were actually a dream shoe that I didn’t believe I would never get, unless I won them in a contest. I sure ain’t fast enough for them to send me shoes for free.

However the Natural Running Store is having a 50% off sale on Newton Shoes and I had a coupon for another 10%, so I got a hell of a deal on a pair of Newton Gravitas.

That same shoes that I never thought that I would be able to afford – I have worn running today. Are they last year’s model – YES – do I give a damn? No.

They are still brandy-spanky new Newton Gravitas and they are mine.

Best of all – this means that I get a chance to try the Newtons and see what all the hype is about.

Check-out the Natural Running Store

Do yourself a favor and check out the Natural Running Store, the more I do business with them the more I am impressed!!! No they didn’t pay me to say that or give me any product/discounts beyond anyone else, in return putting this in the middle of this post. I did it because I wanted to and because I believe that the people at the Natural Running Store do a great job and provide superior customer service.

First Impressions

First impressions out of the box for a pair of shoes that retail for a $175.00 – no defects, everything is where it is supposed to be, nice clean lines and a fantastic looking shoe. I had only seen the Gravitas in pictures and never seen a pair of Gravitas up close and personal (like in my hand or on my foot before), so I looked them over pretty damn close.

Yes I like bright colors, just ask the wife ;-).

 

How did they fit?

I was still pretty apprehensive about how they would fit (the one weakness with ordering online), but was much more willing to take a chance at this sale price, than at the regular price – just the way I am.

How did they fit? About as perfect as a shoe that is not hand-made for me is going to fit me. An 8.0 would have been a little too small and the 8.5 will worked just fine. The recommendations for buying a pair of Newtons 1/2 size bigger than you do normally is good advice.

The Moment of Truth

The moment of truth was taking them out for a spin up the road. My legs were pretty much toast from my 10.0 mile run this morning and then almost another mile walk with the dog, just before I decided that I had to try out the Newtons, so they definitely were tired.  In other words great time to test new shoes, to see how they will really feel and fit while running.

I could definitely feel Newton’s Action/Reaction Technology Lugs when I walked in the shoes and when I started running. It took a little while for my legs to say oh okay, we are doing this again? – today? – why? and then go ahead and do it.

The first half-mile was a little wonky as I got used to the “lugs”, but coming back down the hill, something happened and I could tell that I was landing right, it just felt good. I was able to keep up this most of the way back to the finish.

They felt light and fast, now to get used to them a little more to see if they are :-). They should help me will my efforts to improve my form – at least that is the plan. Just gotta remember Land-Lever-Lift.

I only ran 1.0 mile (the legs would have done more once they got going-but I am trying to be semi-smart) and did that in an easy 8:35. For a first run in a completely different type of running shoes, I am very happy with the results.

Another good thing about getting the Newton’s now – is that I don’t have to start using them as my daily shoes for a while longer and can adjust to the Gravitas slowly, while I continue to wear my Kinvara 2 as part of my three shoe rotation. The New Balance MT110 for sloppy stuff and trail work, Saucony Kinvara 2 for long runs and Newton Gravitas for breaking in, for when the Kinvaras eventually start to break down.

The reality is that

I know there have been too many posts about the first run in such and such a shoe lately, but hopefully, I have my 3 shoe rotation, that will last me through the end of the summer. It will be interesting to see how the Newtons do and if I will be willing to go a LONG way into my piggy-bank to keep running in them as my next pair of running shoes.

Very Positive

So what are my first impressions of a $175.00 retail shoe?

Very positive and I wouldn’t expect it to be anything different. Newton knows they damn well have to pay attention to the details.

When a company expects the consumer to pay that kind of money for a running shoe, they know that we will also expect the shoe to have top quality workmanship, materials and to be wowed by the shoe itself.

From what I can see so far the Newton Gravitas is every thing I would expect from that price and they meet my expectations for workmanship. The quality  and WOW factor are still something I will find out more about as I wear them more.

I am pretty cheap, so the Gravitas will have to really WOW me for me to consider it for next time, because I don’t think I will come across a deal like this again anytime soon and full-price is a little out of my budget for running shoes.

Let’s see if the Newton Gravitas WOWs me or comes down with a thunk.

FTC Disclaimer: I purchased these shoes with my own money, on sale from the Natural Running Store. The thoughts and opinions are my own.

First Run in New Balance MT110 – 3-3-12

I got my New Balance MT110s in late last night and I wasn’t even tempted to run in them. I tried them on and put them walked around the house for about 10 minutes and then just put them in the shoe pile by the door. You know something, to be honest I am not really excited by these shoes, but I had to stay with New Balance, because that is where I had to return them to and all I could get was New Balance store credit.

Which is too bad, because from all the reviews I have read, they are a very nice trail running shoe and should meet my needs quite well.

I needed the trail shoes for the kind of running that I want to do a lot of this year, so I went with the MT110s and I didn’t like what New Balance had for other trail shoes. Hopefully, once I get to running on trails with them, I might get a little/lot more excited about them. I do know that they did a great job this morning while walking down-back in the snow/rain – so maybe by the time I get 50 miles on the 110s, I will have changed my tune about this shoe and not be blase about them.

They are a nice looking shoe and very comfortable, but I am not going to make the mistake that I made with the MT20s and go out and just run in them.

I will transition to them much more slowly and rely on my Saucony Kinvara 2 to be my primary shoes to run in over the next month or so. My transition plan includes wearing the MT110s on most of my walks for the next 2 weeks and running a mile in them each day after my 3-4 mile runs this week. After that I will increase my running in them by a half mile a week until I can just run comfortably in them. Go slow grasshopper is the word this time.

I did run a mile in them after running 3.0 this afternoon and they felt really good. I could feel them stretching the left calf just a little, but not enough to be concerned about. I hope that the calf is pretty well healed and as long as I go slow with the MT110s everything will be just fine.

The shoes themselves are actually very nice looking and seem to be well-made. I am not big on the shininess, but if it help to wipe of mud and other crud more quickly/easily then it will be a good thing. The tread pattern I am quite confident will work well for the mud, roots and rocks that I run for trails around here and will be a light/quick shoe, that I can run trails in happily.

Why am I blase about these shoes? I think it is because I just want to run in my shoes, not mess around with having to transition to them. Patience is not one of my stronger points and while I know that I have to take my time and ease into each more minimal shoe, but it doesn’t mean that I have to like it.  Especially, with what happened last time with the MT20s. The MT110 definitely are more shoe than the 20s, but are still one step down on the minimal ladder from the Kinvara 2 or Peregrines.

The reality is that

I have just been running in my Saucony Kinvaras 2 and am enjoying them on the road and am now spoiled about just being able to run in a pair of new shoes, without having to worry about a long transition. Although many of the lower drop shoes are recommending a transition period/plan to use the shoes.

Another part of the problem was I saw the shoes that I really, really want – Newtons on sale for a price that was less than these and within my shoe budget (just that TheWife would rightly kill me, if I went ahead and bought another pair of shoes – after being so patient last month). Sometimes you just have to be happy with what you have, instead of what you want. Ah well like they say timing is everything. I just timed it wrong this time. 🙂

Have you ever gotten a pair of shoes and just was all that excited about them? Why and what shoes?

Raiding the “Cookie Jar” – New Running Shoes Again

After my efforts yesterday to find a pair of old shoes that, I could use while I was transitioning to my New Balance MT20s, resulted in less than spectacular – to be honest nothing that I had around the house was going to work. TheWife and I decided that it would probably be wiser to go ahead and buy another pair of running shoes and that way I would have a pair to alternate in the future. Which in theory allows both shoes to last longer.

So we raided the cookie jar and used the proceeds towards getting me another pair of running shoes.

Went to Brunswick

After not really finding what I wanted in the Augusta area last week, I also decided to go down to the Maine Running Company in Brunswick – about 45 minutes away. I prefer to buy from the local running stores when possible and this is the closest running store to where I live. Plus it is really nicer to try on the shoes you are buying instead, blind sizing that you do online.

Unfortunately, when I got to the store the selection of minimalist shoes was very minimal, (their selection of “regular” running shoes was much better) especially for my shoe  size (7.5 to 8.5 depending upon the shoe). The salesperson was very knowledgeable and helpful, but the lack of inventory and not finding what I was hoping to try (the Brooks Pure Line, Altras, Newtons, Mizuno, Innov, etc.) was disappointing to say the least.

While there I tried on some Asics, they just didn’t feel right and then because they didn’t have the other shoes in my size, in mens, she brought out comparable women’s model of the Nike Free and Newtons – none looked like anything I would wear and at that point I was done. The salesperson offered to let me try on other women’s model and then they could order the men’s model – I politely declined, thanked her for her time and left.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Topsham has a Dick’s Sporting Goods, so I stopped there hoping they might have something that I wanted. I actually found a better selection than I had at the Augusta store last week. I spent almost an hour at Dick’s trying on 8 or was it 9 pair of shoes. It finally came down to the below 3 shoes that were about the same fit:

* * *
  • Nike Free Run+2, it was a great looking, light and comfortable shoe, but for some reason, it just didn’t fit quit as nice as the other two. I had done a lot of research last night and pretty much was looking for the Nike Free +3, if I was going to run in Nike again, they didn’t have it in the store yet, so I passed on the Free +2.
  • Reebok RealFlex Transition – this was very comfortable and light. I really liked both the way it looked and how it felt on my feet. With the lugs, I thought could even do non-technical trails in these shoes. I just never think of Reeboks as a shoe that I would normally buy – I don’t know why, just haven’t considered them very often before.
  • Asics Gel Blur 33 – I don’t know what it is about black and orange/orang and black lately, but it seems that many of the shoes that I like seem to have this color pattern? The Blurs were comfortable, a little heavier than the other two choices, but seemed a little more solid too. I have had good luck with Asics in the past and know that they are generally bullet-proof shoes.

The Choice

If I had seen the Reeboks last week, I probably would have gotten them then, they seem like they would be a pretty good hybrid shoe (although they are not really minimalist), but now I have the MT20s for trail running after I get used to them. Today I was looking for more of a road shoe that could do dirt roads, an occasional non-technical trail or single-track and longer distances, while protecting me from myself.

It came down to Reeboks and the Asics and truthfully was a toss-up which one fit better. The Reeboks definitely looked better to me, but the price for the Asics was $20 less and let’s face it, I am not all that worried about looks most of the time, so I went with the lower price and got the Asics Gel Blur 33.

They are not true minimal shoes with 27mm stack height and a 10mm drop, but none of the other shoes in this list could be classified as true minimal shoes either. While they are not really what I was looking for originally in a shoe, I needed running shoes today, not in a few days, so these will do fine for now, based on the choices that were available to me.

The Reality is that

It sucks sometimes about being so damn particular and wanting to try on shoes before I buy them.

Thank goodness for having that coin bottle – our cookie jar, that I used to throw my change into every day after work. We had $78 in change that I took to the bank this morning and cashed in. It is a lot easier to justify another $5 to $20 bucks out of the budget, for another pair of running shoes, than it would be for the whole price.

Disappointed

I was more than a little disappointed in not being able to support the Maine Running Company, because they do an awful lot to support running in Maine, but the selection and inventory in their Brunswick store did not meet my needs and I wasn’t driving another half hour to Portland. Going there was the only reason I travelled to Brunswick, otherwise I think I could have gotten a similar shoe to what I got here in the Augusta area and saved time and gas.

Strange how things work out sometimes, isn’t it?

Here I am trying to go to more minimalist/transition shoes and yet can’t find the ones that I really want to try on before buying them in my area (Brooks Pure, Altra, Newton and some of the Mizuno line). I guess this is just one of the joys of living in Maine :-).

Next time I will probably take a chance on ordering the shoes I really want through the Natural Running Store, I know that I will get great customer service, but unless I fly out there, the only drawback is that I can’t try the shoes on before buying them ;-).

Quite honestly, the past couple of weeks has been a real pain in the butt, trying to get my running shoe situation figured out, so I can just freaking run, without injuring/hurting myself more than I already have.

Any one need a running shoe wear tester, after the past couple of weeks and all the shoes I have tried out, I have a lot more experience now :-).

Narrowed the Choices Down to 5 Running Shoes

I knew this day was going to come, it is the bane of most runners – my current running shoes are wearing out. We know that when we buy running shoes that they have a limited life expectancy. When our primary shoes have 200-300 miles on them, we usually need to start to thinking about what our next shoe is going to be. My Saucony Peregrines reached that mark a few weeks ago and unfortunately I had to start to think about new shoes then.

Here are my earlier posts in this series:

I have researched many shoes over the past few weeks, thought about what I want/need in a shoe – a lot, looked multiple shoe company and running store sites, blogs and reviews about different running shoes. Based on everything that I have learned while doing this research, I have come up with the following list of 5 Running Shoes that seem to meet my requirements for running this spring, summer and hopefully into the fall.

First my Background and Requirements

My requirements for new shoes are:

  • I just went over 30 miles a week and would like to be running 40 – 50+ miles a week consistently by the summer. My goals this summer are to race a sub 20:00 5K and possibly run in a 1/2 marathon (we will see how that goes), which are very different goals, with different training needs.
  • I am still working to change my running form back to being a forefoot runner. I liked the Peregrine’s 4MM drop (no injuries) and would like to stay with a zero to 4 MM drop in my new shoes. This style seems to be working a lot better than other shoes have for me.
  • I do a lot of running on both tar, dirt roads and during the spring, summer and into late fall, I will be running non-technical trails 1-2 times a week.
  • No treadmill running, strictly outdoor running.
  • Cost – Unfortunately, I have a limited budget for running related items and cost is a limiting factor that I have to consider when purchasing a new pair of shoes.
  • The last thing is that I would like them to last longer than a couple of months.

A tall order for a single pair of shoes, everything from roads to trails, to include eventually running 50 miles a week.

I am not asking very much of my new shoes am I {sarcasm}.

Narrowed the Choices Down to 5

I have narrowed the shoes down to which shoes that I am going to learn more about:

1. Altra – Instinct – From everything that I have read and watched they seem to be a shoe that meets my requirements, but looking at the outsole design, I wonder how they will work for me on the non-technical, but hilly, rocky and roots strewn trails that I tend to run on. Other than that question, they are neck and neck to the Newtons in how interested I am in them.

Altra has been very active on the Internet and answered questions for me when I have asked them, when other companies have ignored my inquiries. Also in a Twitter conversation the other day, some people I really respect, without prompting – talked very highly of these shoes in response to my blog post, which to me is a very important consideration. Altra seems to focus on function over being “pretty”, which is pretty much who I am. However, the price tag, while competitive is at the top of my price range.

1A. Newton – Momentum Trail Guidance Trainer – This shoe appears to meet all my needs very well. I really like the idea of a shoe that promotes forefoot striking, which I think either of these shoes would help me improve my efforts in this direction – significantly and still be able to run on trails with them. The reviews that I read were mostly positive and the negatives were more about the person’s running style than the shoe.

However, for a guy on a fixed income and a small budget, they are simply out of my price range, but you never know, there might be a closeout sale that I can scoop a pair of these or another Newton model for less. Unfortunately, the price of the Newton shoes is a real tough piece for me to get by TheWife, who thankfully reigns in my needs versus wants.

3. Brooks – Pure Flow – I am very impressed with the looks and reviews that I have read/watched about the Pure Flow. Some of the people who I talk with on Twitter, really like these shoes and I take a lot of stock in what they have to say. The soles look similar to Saucony’s Propel Plus, which I have used in a variety of running situations, with acceptable results on the trails that I run on. Which means that I could probably use these as a hybrid shoe with good results. The sole looks as though it would last fairly well and I haven’t had heel wear problem with Brooks shoes.  I am slightly concerned about the reported narrowness of the forefoot, so this is one that I would really want to try on. The price is comparable to the Kinvara and Instincts.

4. Saucony – Kinvara – I really, really liked the Peregrine, until the last week or so, which is the sister trail shoe to the Kinvara. If the wear in the left heel hadn’t occurred, I would have been very tempted to just get the Peregrine again. For trail use I have used Saucony road shoes with the triangular lugs which the Kinvara’s do have on my non-technical trails with very good results, so they could be a very good hybrid shoe.

One thing that stops me from looking at the Kinvara differently is that between 200 and 300 miles, I have worn a hole in the left heel of the last 3 Saucony shoes, which eventually leads to blisters on that foot. It is unfortunate, because I was very impressed with the Peregrines until this happened and would have put Kinvara ahead of the Pure Flow except for this issue. I do have some concerns about how long the shoes would last, due to the  reports that have the soles of the Kinvara 2 wearing relatively quickly compared to other similar shoes.

However, when I was looking around yesterday, I could have bought a pair of Kinvara 2 for $59.00 on closeout. With the close-out pricing, they are much more reasonable than the ones ahead of them, but if I waited for the Kinvara 3, they are in the same range as everything, but the Newtons.

5. Mizuno Ronin – This was a lot of a surprise, when I started this research I had never heard of the Ronin, but the more I read about it and the way that some of the reviews talked about the Ronin, the more impressed I became. I have owned one pair of Mizuno shoes and while they were a nice shoe, the WaveRider was a motion control shoe and wasn’t what I wanted from a shoe. I am concerned a little about how the sole will wear, but otherwise the shoe sounds bomb-proof. One of the reviews I read really had good things to say about how it worked on trails, which really got me to thinking about this shoe as a possibility. The Ronin is a shoe I would have to see before I make a decision, but it intrigues me. The pricing is similar to the others, except of course the Newtons.

Honorable Mention: Adidas – Original Blue Marathon Trainer with Dillinger Web – I would love to find a pair of these shoes again, they are after all the shoes that have come the closest for me to being the “perfect shoe”, see my post on “In Search of the Perfect Shoe”. A guy can dream can’t he. 😉

Why Not More Minimal

I am still only months removed from my knee surgery last May and I want to make sure that the shoes that I use have enough padding to protect me from myself – when I get tired and revert to heel striking, which I still do – all too often. I don’t want to have that knee hurt any more than it has too. Therefore shoes like:

  • Merrell – Trail Glove, Road Glove
  • New Balance – MT101 or 110
  • Saucony – Hattori
  • Vibram  – I really want to try the Vibram Five Finger shoes, but am concerned about the amount of time it might take me to get acclimated to the shoe and if I decide to do longer distances, would it have enough support/cushioning for me to be successful in them. To be honest – I am rather scared to pull the trigger on this one and not have other shoes to run in, if they don’t work for me.

These more minimal shoes were taken out of consideration, due to the lack of cushioning this time (I know heresy for a budding minimalist), but I don’t believe that I am ready to move to running in this level of minimal shoe at this time, especially as my primary running shoe (who knows maybe I will win a pair in one of the many contests that I have entered).  I am being conservative and cautious in my approach to moving down the minimalist shoe ladder, but I would prefer to go slowly, than move too quickly and not be able to run for an extended period again.

The reality is that

I am going to try to milk my Peregrines through the end of this month, which gets me out of the worst of the winter running season and gives me time to research these 5 shoes more. I just hope they hold up for another 90 or so miles that I need to get out of them, without blister issues.

A Road Trip

This means at some point after March 1st that I am going to have to go down to the Maine Running Company in Portland (yes I know there is one in Brunswick), try these shoes on, to see what fits me best and what I will end up with for a new shoe to run around Back Cove in (at least one lap).  However, all bets are off as far as the timing, if my Peregrines begin to cause blisters on my foot, then I might have to make an emergency trip south or stay local and get a shoe on special.

Possible Running Shoes – List Narrowed Down

Last week I talked about starting the process to research which running shoes I should get for my next pair – probably sometime in March, but sooner if my Peregrines start to really bother my heel.

The big reason for the research is to narrow down the shoes from everything that is available to about 20 or so, that I would want to look at more closely to see how they match my running needs.

Background and Requirements

My running information and requirements for my new shoes are:

  • I am currently running 25+ miles a week and would like to be running 40+ miles a week by the end of the summer. I do like to run faster (even though I am still pretty slow now) and my goal this summer is to run a sub 20:00 5K and possibly run in a 1/2 marathon (we will see how this goes).
  • During the past two months I have worked hard to change my running form back to being a forefoot runner, to help reduce the impact and stress to my knees. I have had great success with the Peregrine’s 4MM drop (no injuries) and would like to stay with a zero to 4 MM drop in my new shoes. This seems style to be working a lot better than other shoes have for me. I like the lower heel height.
  • I do have shoes that I can wear for racing or track interval workouts, but not an extra pair of shoes that are in good enough shape to wear as an alternate daily trainer. I have some older shoes that I could wear occasionally if my new ones need to dry out or something, but I wouldn’t put them into a regular shoe rotation.
  • I live in the country, so I do a lot of running on both tar and dirt roads.
  • During the spring, summer and into late fall, I will be running non-technical trails 1-2 times a week. Initially I might be able to still use the Peregrines, until they really start to bother my heel.
  • Luckily winter will be mostly over by the time I get these shoes and I won’t have to worry so much about snow and ice during most of this shoe’s running life.
  • No treadmill running, strictly outdoor running.
  • Whatever shoe I buy, probably will be a hybrid running shoe style, to do everything that I will ask of it. Since it will be the shoe that I will wear running 90% of the time.

Narrowed the Choices Down

I have narrowed the shoes down to certain companies and the shoes that I would like to learn more about over the next few weeks:

  • Adidas – Original Blue Marathon Trainer with Dillinger Web – A guy can dream can’t he. 😉
  • Altra – Instinct or Lone Peak – These are still a new shoe company.  However, their presence and engagement on Twitter has been a very good selling point (I have talked with their rep more than a couple of times and they have been very helpful) and many of the reviews I have read have nothing but positives to say about them
  • Brooks – the shoes in their Pure Project series – I have heard a lot of very good reviews about these shoes, but that they are supposedly a little narrow for some people
  • Merrell – Trail Glove, Road Glove
  • Mizuno – Wave Universe, Ronin
  • New Balance – MT101 or 110
  • Newton – Newton Momentum Trail Guidance Trainer – The price scares me on the Newtons, they may be a nice shoe, but very pricey. However, I really like the idea of a shoe that actively promotes forefoot running.
  • Nike – Free – I have run in a lot of Nike shoes and always look at them before I buy something.
  • Saucony – Peregrine, Kinvara, Hattori  – I have had good luck with Saucony, until they get about 200-250 miles on them and then my left heel wears a hole in the back of the shoe, which eventually causes blisters on that foot. Can’t figure out why it happens, but it only seems to be with Saucony shoes? My Peregrines which I love, made it to almost 260 miles before the hole got noticeable, but haven’t started any blister action yet.
  • Vibram  – I really want to try the VFF, but am concerned about the amount of time it might take me to get acclimated to the shoe and if I decide to do longer distances, would it have enough support/cushioning for me to be successful. To be honest – I am rather scared to pull the trigger on this one and not have any other shoes to run in, if they don’t work for me.

Narrowing down the number of shoes that are out there to the ones above wasn’t easy, but I tried to stay with more minimal shoes that will promote a forefoot strike, have a lower heel height and had good reviews from other bloggers.

The Reality is that

I do think that it is important to do your own research on running shoes, because you are going to be spending a lot of money, time and putting many miles on your new running shoes, you need to be fairly knowledgeable about the choices that are out there for you. It is great to go to a specialty running store and have an “expert” help you choose a shoe that meets your needs, but in the end it is you that is going to be running in the shoe, not them.

Your Choice

Like the salesperson will tell you, which shoes you finally chose will be your choice not the salesperson’s. Personally I would prefer to have it be a fairly knowledgeable choice, instead of a momentary whim on which of three shoe models feels best and that were brought out by someone who has known me for 5-10 minutes.

Questions for Readers

  • Are there any shoes that I “have” to look at besides the ones I have listed above? Please let me know which one and why you recommend that shoe.
  • Do you have any first hand experience with these shoes, what was it? If I have talked with you about shoes before, you don’t have to repeat yourself again :-).

Finally

I know to buy some of these shoes it will either be done online (which I am hesitant to do if it is a shoe I haven’t tried on – I like to know how it feels on my feet before I buy it)  or I will have to go down to Portland to the Maine Running Company, which is okay – I like going to their store and then running Back Cove in my new shoes :-). Win-Win.

No I am not looking for a free handout or anything else, I just want some good, no great information on these shoes, that I am researching, hopefully information beyond the marketing hype on the websites and more to the point why I should be running in them and how they fit my running requirements/needs.