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.
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.
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 :-).