The Great Shoe Debate

There are so many different brands, types, and styles of shoes – how does a runner pick the right one? Sure, we are all fitted on a mill and observed running…but that doesnt always mean its the best shoe….its been a debate for me up until this last year…

When I started running in 2009, I was wearing a standard, neutral Mizuno….wore those for a couple years, but gosh, the Nike Lunar Racers are AWESOME looking. I must have them! And then Adidas had the most awesome colored shoes…had to have those…and then why not try a Brooks pair…more nikes…more versions of everything! And then why not get injured in the skeme of all this shoe flipping! My feet liked them…they looked cool…but why was I injured with a PT telling me its my shoes?!

Coming back from injury in 2013, I went right back to the Nikes…the Fly Knit was pretty awesome looking and felt good.  A 4 mm drop shoe….that seemed to be what was working at the time. But again, I continued to have this lingering injury in my glut/hamstring. Hmmm. Speed started to decline. The Fly Knits are great gym shoes and in case I forget my running shoes, I can use them for a quick 10 minutes max.  So, back to the running store we go!  Went with a Newton….

I don’t need to say much about them. They were a great trail shoe when it was muddy or icy for good traction, but pain continued and I couldnt regain my speed. They are now in my car as backups in case I get soaked or forget a pair of shoes.

Well, at the time of getting back on the trails this past summer, and working with Zach Bitter, I thought it would be a good idea to start switching over to a different shoe while in the Newton – Id need a second or third pair anyways.  I wanted a zero drop, cushioned, yet supportive shoe.  Altra. Boom.

I was running on air in the Olympus.  It felt GREAT! Was my lingering pain gone. Nope.

I didn’t want to dismiss them too soon. So I started to alternate between a couple pairs of Altras, and overtime, the overuse injury I was told I would have for life, started to fade. Is it the training with Rivs? Is it my shoes? I honestly think its a combination of both. The right training and being, finally, in the right shoe.

So I picked up my two new Altras last night – have to have both colors of course! Same size, same model, but of course, they made some changes to the Olympus. Noooooooooo! The insole was the same so that was reassuring, but the top changed. They were a bit on the bigger size, so it felt, but I decided to go with the same size and model. No changes for me.

This morning, I got up, laced up my new Olympus’ (the 1.5) …felt like I grew 6 inches….and hopped on the mill. I almost burst out laughing!….I could barely run in them! It took a good minute to adjust to the new shoe – this is the first time this has happened! But they did feel great running.  My only concern with them is when I started to hike, I had to lift my foot up a bit more to avoid a shuffle….I felt more proned to blisters than the older model.  It may take some getting used to, but I still think running in them outside will work really well for my upcoming races this spring.

I compair these to a really high pair of heels….I need to wear them around for a bit first and practice my strut! 🙂



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