Two weeks ago, a good friend from high school asked me what running shoes I wear. This is a question I’m asked often, and I never know how to respond. Despite running for all these years, I don’t know much about running shoes. I’ve never worked in a running store, I’ve never studied the structure of the shoes, I really only know what has and hasn’t worked for me. So, I always respond the same way – this is what I’m wearing now, this is what has and hasn’t worked for me.
My friend’s question got me thinking how much more adventurous I have been in the past year with my running shoes. My early running career had me riddled with injuries. I don’t really remember what brand of shoes I wore in middle and high school, but I know I wore Nike shoes all through college and was injured almost every season. When my collegiate career was over, I started wearing Asics shoes and I was injury free for the longest period ever. I don’t know what Asics shoe I was wearing in the beginning, but I know I was eventually in the Gel Cumulus and I remained injury free so I stuck with those.
After I had my daughter, I got serious about training again, and started (a month after her birth) in the Asics Gel Cumulus. I added Saucony Guide into the mix and ended up with bad plantar fasciitis in both feet and pain under my right ankle. The pain was so intense I took 3 weeks off before my peak marathon (still ran the race and had a big PR). There’s no way I can say it was the shoe and not my intense training for the first 6 months after my daughter was born. But… once I got better I was very worried about shoe choice again.
I went back to the Cumulus and had no injury problems that disrupted my training. I decided I was going to be an Asics girl for life. Despite every running magazine, runner friend, and running blog telling me I should be alternating shoes daily, I wore one pair of shoes until it was dead then bought another pair and it was always the Asics Gel Cumulus.
Then, a friend who was a New Balance Tech Rep sent me the NB 890s and I had success in them. No injuries. The 890 is a lightweight shoe that is cushiony enough for everyday training. So, I added that shoe into the mix, mostly on faster running days, and still wore the Asics on my easy runs.
Next, I started winning shoes in races. The first time I won shoes this year, the gift certificate said I could get any shoe in the store. The race was in Seattle and I was only there for a few more days so I had to take whatever they had in stock. They didn’t have my size in the Asics so I ended up with what the employee said was a similar Saucony shoe, the Ride 5. I did pretty well in it. So at that point I was alternating a pair of Asics, New Balance, and Sauconys in the training mix.
A few months later, I was online shoe shopping and saw Nike Pegasus for really cheap. Since they are a neutral shoe (what I usually go for) I decided to try them. I wasn’t a big fan, but they were ok. They irritated my heels and hips, but nothing a good dynamic stretching session couldn’t eliminate.
Then I won the Saucony Kinvaras in December and while I’m not a huge fan, they work. For some reason, they make me feel slow and make my legs feel flat, but they don’t give me any aches or pains and they were free so I can’t complain! I wear these for faster stuff. My younger brother races marathons in them!
A few weeks later my brother gave me some Saucony Peregrine trail shoes and they have been amazing on snow. They feel great on my feet and are my favorite Saucony shoes I’ve tried. Success!
Finally, I’ve been curious about Newtons for a long time. I’m a natural midfoot striker, and have been told by many people I should be running in them. So, I got the Gravity a few weeks ago. I’ve done a few miles in them and so far they are great. VERY different in a way I can’t quite explain in so few miles. I just feel like my entire body, from neck to ankles, changes when I’m running in them.
I started this post right after my friend asked me for shoe advice, but was hesitant to make it public because every time I talk about not being injured, I get an injury! But, after reading Kristy’s post, I decided being a little adventurous in my shoe selection *might* be a good thing.
Maybe after all this, I will end up back in my good old Asics. Maybe I’ll become 100% devoted to another brand. Or maybe I’ll be able to choose from multiple brands, depending what’s on sale. Time will tell!
So tell me, do you run one shoe into the ground before switching? Do you rotate multiple pairs? Do you stick with the same brand? Do you wear the same exact shoes but rotate different pairs?