Friday, July 20, 2007

Seeking shoe sole-ace

The stereotypical women has tons of shoes, right? I suppose I qualify, yet most of mine are running shoes in various stages of wear. After a year of serious running, I've only gotten rid of one pair, and those were ones I shouldn't have bought in the first place. I think I've had seven pairs since last year. Some have been promos from the store, some I purchased, and most I like.

I like to test them out, to build my personal knowledge of different shoes. I don't do very well just memorizing the chart at the shoe store; I need first-hand accounts of different shoes so I can group them together better.

As I trained for my first half-marathon, I wore two pairs: Asics Speedstars (a lightweight trainer) and Mizuno Wave Rider 9s (a moderately cushioned shoe). They were great. The Speedstars never let me down; I wore them for daily training, speedwork, races, everything. The Wave Riders were for long runs, and sometimes during the week to mix things up.

But after the mini, I took it easy for a few weeks, and when I began more focused training again, I faced a shoe crisis. I had picked up a pair of New Balance 1061s (similar to the Wave Riders), and they were cozy. Good on shorter runs, so I took them out on a few long runs. Bad idea. Too much heel slippage, so lots of blisters, and not enough forefoot cushioning, so the balls of my feet would be sore. Went back to the Wave Riders. Suddenly uncomfortable, as if my feet changed over the past couple of months. Maybe it's from sandal season -- my toes have been free in sandals all summer, and the Wave Riders seem too narrow in the toe box all of a sudden.

And my Speedstars are wrecked. With 300 miles on them, a 30 minute run in them earlier this week made my ankles really sore. So those are out.

I started standing in the stock room of the shoe store, staring at our stock in my size. I tried on lots of shoes. We didn't have any more Speedstars, and although I could have special ordered a pair (and still might), I wasn't sure I wanted to, since they've changed it since the pair I have. And, we didn't have a lot of things I wanted to try, because I fall into a less-frequented category -- small in stature and neutral in gait, we just don't keep a lot in stock.

So what to do, what to do. I finally decided to buy a pair of Mizuno Precisions, another lightweight trainer. I had almost bought a pair earlier in the year, when looking for something with more substance than the Speedstars. I ended up getting the Wave Riders for the extra cushion, so I knew I would probably like them. The new 8s were just coming out, and my pair just came in yesterday.

All this text comes down to one thing: I love them.

I took them on a five-mile run last night, and they felt beautiful. Light, cushioned, snug fit, no rubbing, no slipping, smooth transitions through the footstrike. They are definitely going with me on my 16-miler this weekend.

Thank you Mizuno, for making my feet happy! (And specifically our rep, Dan, who got them for me!)

1 comment:

tina said...

hooray for the answer to the shoe dilemna! i like my saucony glides for dirt paths, but to this date my tried and true brooks addictions are the best! (thank you tracy) and with the great insoles they are the best of the best for me so far!
have a great 16! i'm virtual running with you...what time do we start?