Last year about this time, it is hard to believe I had only one pair of running shoes, that I was actually running in – Saucony Peregrines. They were wearing out and I was in the final stages of researching what would be my next pair of running shoes.
- Narrowed the Choices Down to 5 Running Shoes post.
To say that the last year has been an adventure in learning, trying and believe it or not actually running in so many styles, makes and models of running shoes would be an understatement. However, trying out new running shoes to see whether they work for me is something that I enjoy doing, even if my feet and body don’t always agree. If a pair of running shoes ultimately doesn’t work for me, they are the ones that tell.
Sometimes, it seems that I have to just try a pair of shoes, for no real reason other than – they are new shoes. I would be the perfect wear tester – fairly articulate, willing to sacrifice my body a little and have an open mind. HInt, Hint 🙂
Okay, let’s get real, I have a running shoe addiction! Just ask TheWife she will agree with that in less than a heart-beat and has the receipts to back up that claim.
Now in that post, I listed 5 pair of shoes that I really wanted to look at and try out a lot more in 2012 – they were:
1. Altra Instinct
2. Newton Trail Guidance Trainer (I tried the Newton Gravity’s instead)
3. Brooks Pure Flow
4. Saucony Kinvara
5. Mizuno Ronin
Honorable Mention: Adidas – Original Blue Marathon Trainer with Dillinger Web
Surprisingly, I got to try all of those shoes and quite a few more.
How did these shoes make out after everything shook out?
Find out below in descending order of how I liked them:
Honorable Mention: Adidas Marathon Trainer II – I bought a pair of reproduction Adidas Marathon Trainer II’s (which are the closest thing I could find to the Blue original).
They are not nearly as comfortable or well-fitting as well as I remembered the Trainers being back in the early 80’s.
All wearing these reproduction shoes accomplished was bring back memories of some of the bad things about the Marathon Trainer’s that I had forgotten about. You know how you get that romantic idea of how things should have been, not how they were. All I know is that my feet do not like them now, nearly as much as my brain remembers how great a shoe they were.
Wait a minute
there were only 5 pair of running shoes that were listed initially on your list, what gives with starting at number 7?
Answer: I ran in a lot more than just 5 pairs of running shoes since that post and I would have been doing a disservice to the The Elixir 7 and Nike Free 4.0 v2 if I had not added them to the list, since they did so well for me this year.
7. Brooks Pure Flow – 50 Mile Review here. Nice shoe, well-built, but just didn’t work for me, they felt too narrow and my right foot just couldn’t get comfortable.
The right foot felt compressed and my little toe hurt after running several miles. I attempted to change the removable sock insert, but nothing really seemed to help at this time.
I got to almost 50 miles and stopped wearing them. I put them into storage and may try them again this summer.
6. Newton Gravity – 50 Mile Review here. I had to perform major surgery on the heel counter, to make it so that I could run in it without it biting into my ankle.
Otherwise it performed well enough out to 250-300 miles and while they still had some life left in them, honestly, I got tired of fighting with the pebbles that would sneak through the mesh during most of my runs.
While I had some really great runs in these shoes, when I checked out the updated model, the heel cup felt the same and I am not going to subject my ankle to that kind of discomfort and I shouldn’t have to do major surgery on a pair of new shoes, so that I can run in them.
5. Saucony Kinvara 2 – 50 Mile Review here. The right foot just never felt completely right on my right foot. Some days it felt fine and then on others, felt like it was constricting my foot.
It just felt too narrow and the soles wore down too quickly and I got my knee ache at around 200 miles and made it a little ways past that.
The good thing was that they didn’t wear on the typical wear spot I have with most Saucony shoes.
I have a feeling if they were a bit wider, with the improvements Saucony has made to the subsequent editions they might get another look from me..
4. Nike Free 4.0 v2 – 50 Mile Review here. A surprise that slipped in here during last spring when I was frustrated with my Newton’s and allowed my ankle to heal up completely.
To say that I initially loved this shoe would be an understatement.
However, the Nike Free’s habit of picking up a lot of rocks (sometimes pretty good-sized ones), became more than a nuisance. It seemed that I was always stopping to dislodge a rock that was uncomfortable or clicking when it hit the pavement, plus cleaning them out after almost every run became a pain in the butt.
I think if it hadn’t been for those issues I would still be running in Nike Free’s, but where I live and run a lot on dirt roads and it seems that I spend a lot of time on the road’s shoulder which is also dirt, so they would always be picking up more rocks, which I didn’t want to put up with. I finally had to make a choice between the flexibility siping or no rocks.
3. Mizuno Elixir 7 – 50 Mile Review here. Another surprise shoe that I received as part of the Mesamashii Project.
I really liked this shoe a lot! It is a shoe that I have run very fast in and felt like I could run for a long time in them.
However, I worked hard to change my stride to more of a mid foot landing and I found myself reverting back to a heel first style of running in these shoes, which I did not want to continue.
Although there doesn’t appear to be a lot of wear on these shoes at 270+ miles. However, my knees started to give that telltale ache I get when it is time to move on and they had started a small wear spot on the inside of the left heel cup, that eventually ends up with blisters, if my past experience is true to form. Because of those reasons I chose not to get another pair at this time.
2. Mizuno Ronin 4 – 50 Mile Review here. Wow look-out ahead and below, these are a fast shoe. Initially I was skeptical of how they would do for me, since they felt very snug to my right foot.
However, once I started running in them, they definitely got my attention. They let me run fast!
The only thing I am not crazy about is that I run with a much more pronounced heel-first landing than do in some other shoes.
Perhaps after I re-dial in my running form, I will be able to run more in these more again, but until that happens, I have a feeling that they will stay in the closet. Unless I take them out to run a special race, where I really want to run fast.
So what was my favorite running shoe this past year?
1. Altra Instinct 1.0 – 50 Mile Review and Initial Review here. I just like the way that they fit and feel on my feet. Yes it took a little to get used to the different gait that I needed to run properly in these shoes, but once I did I could tell a difference.
Looking back to when I first got the Instincts and brought them back from Minnesota, that I had way too many pair of shoes going and was having a lot of difficulty with my hamstrings, which I mistakenly blamed on the Instincts. I couldn’t tell if the Instincts were helping or making things worse, so I decided to put them in storage tosee if my hamstrings got better or not and also see if I could reduce the number of shoes in my inventory.
As a result of this break, I found out was that the Instinct’s were actually helping me improve my running form, which was helping my hamstrings not hurting them. Which means I am back to running in them full-time again (well alternating with the 1.5’s, which I got as free media samples at #RWHalf).
The reality is that
your choice in running shoes do make a difference in how you well run and how comfortably you run – yes there is a difference.
Also, sometimes small flaws for you, in another wise great shoe like the Nike Free’s problems with rocks, make it so that you don’t want to get that model again. At least that is how I work.
I have learned a lot about which running shoes work for me and found out the hard way, that my initial and 50 mile reviews are not probably how I will feel at 200 miles. When the initial flush of having new shoes is dissipating.
Now it is time to tweak my form and focus on running and having fun while running…the saga to find the perfect shoe is an ongoing adventure – of that I am sure!
FTC Disclaimer: The Altra Intuition 1.5 and Mizuno Elixir 7 were media samples and provided to me at no charge. All the other shoes in this review were personal purchases. I was not provided with any form of compensation for this post and all opinions and thoughts are my own.