The Shoes Make the Marathoner.

As a runner, and now, an employee of two running stores, it’s safe to say that I am surrounded my shoes a lot of the time. While I am a huge believer that the right shoe makes all the difference (GET FITTED!) I also believe that the shoes are only part of your identity as a runner – and it’s okay (and even a good thing) if you don’t have just one SOLE MATE when it comes to your running shoes. In fact, rotating shoes can even make your shoes last longer – a great thing when it comes to the higher mileage demand of training for 26.2+!

I’ve written about it before and, to be quite honest, I will likely write about it a few more times, because let’s face it…there are always new cool running shoes your running, goals and yes, even your feet change!

In this training cycle, I am rotating a few pairs of shoes, and do my best to always select the correct pair for the variety of running workouts, conditions and terrain I’ll be working with. Now, this goes without saying, but I have to make this clear – these are the shoes that I’ve found work for ME – this post is all based on my experience, no paid endorsements (unfortunately) or compensation – and your mileage may vary 😉

So, shall we go on? Here we go!

shoes(1) and (2) – these are the New Balance 890v4, a neutral trainer with an 8 MM drop. I was fitted for these a little after I started working at New Balance and have worn them for one half marathon (the Echo Half) and quite a few training runs. These shoes are quite lightweight, and come in a great variety of colors (the #1 version are the special edition Boston Marathon shoes) but after a few months of running in them, I’ve come to the conclusion that for longer runs, the drop has been irritating my right foot (I am more accustomed to a 4 MM), relegating these shoes to walking or work shoes now – they were perfect for our recent Universal visit!

(3) I found this pair of Saucony Kinvara 4’s at Nordstrom Rack, of all places! These HOT PINK beauties are actually the Gore-tex version of the shoe, and block moisture, which has been great for steamy/stormy summer training. I love using these shoes for bridge repeats down by the bayside (the 4 MM drop really connects me to the road), as well as for easy night runs that may otherwise be diverted by rogue sprinkler systems – due to the “flexfilm” cover on the shoe, however, I found that these are NOT the shoes to wear on the treadmill – they make a plastic-y sound!

(4) Brooks Pure Flow 2 –  I fell in love with the Pure Flow in 2012, and have been able to transition successfully from the original version of the shoe to these (they’ve since moved to the third version, but I may or may not have stockpiled these for the next few months, thanks to some great online sale shopping). These shoes feature 4 MM drop as well, and a wider toe box, which allows for miles of training with nary a blister. These are my “all workout” shoes – from speedwork, to long runs, these are my workhorse, for sure. This particular pair has also been outfitted with Lock Laces, which I have grown fond of – need top pick up some more at Fleet Feet soon…

(5) Brooks Cascadia – I think my version are ‘8,’ anyway, these are the shoes I wear on the loose dirt and trails of Oscar Scherer State Park (at my first Ultra!) I don’t wear them that often, but I am glad to have found a pair that can withstand the abuse, and keep sand, dirt and rocks at bay.

(6) Brooks Pure Connect 2 – I have stock in these too…haven’t tried version 3 yet, but these shoes are my go-to for racing (I ran my 5K PR in them) thought they are also able to go the distance for longer runs (they matched my St Patrick’s outfit for Sarasota Half) and treadmill tempo/speed work. I love how they feature a glove-like fit, and cradle the arch of my foot. Whenever I feel a tweak in my foot, these are the best shoes to ease soreness out.


On top of these six pairs, I’ve recently added a 7th pair (NB Fresh Foam) to my training / mentoring for our No Boundaries program at Fleet Feet. These are also a 4 MM drop, and I simply cannot get over how bright and beautiful these shoes are – perfect for those early morning sessions, as well as light and responsive for the stopping and starting on the course, as I work with my awesome 10K training group! I love the idea of having a special pair of shoes just for this program – and it doesn’t hurt that they feel great on, too!

As the Chicago Marathon approaches (AHH) it’s great to know that my feet will be ready – no shoe emergencies – and beyond that, my shoe collection will continue to complement the miles I run – and the miles yet to come!

What do you run in?


  1. I need to be better about choosing the shoe to the workout. I have a shoe specifically for shorter trail runs, but the rest are whatever I feel like wearing that day (NB 890s v4, Asics Gel-Lyte 33, Newtons Lady Issac)

  2. I love both those Brooks shoes and have them! I’ve only run in Brooks besides marathon training in the Adidas Energy Boost 2 but definitely love the looks of some of your shoes! And AH CHICAGO IS SO SOON!

    • SOOOOOO stoked for Chicago. It’s that weird time period where it feels so close yet, still far.

  3. Love this post. I’m currently in Nike Structure 16s, but I’m shopping for new shoes before the Chicago Marathon looms too close. I have real toe-box issues with the Nike Structures on long or hard runs.
    I’m thinking about looking at Brooks… Now that I’m coaching a Learn to Run group at a local running store, I get an employee discount, so I’ll be shopping pretty hard, pretty soon.

  4. Minutes ago I brought home a new pair of New Balance 980’s. I asked for a shoe similar to the Newton Distance shoes that I normally use but with more cush. I went a half size larger than all my other running shoes to get a great fit. Can’t with to try them out!
    The Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend starts tomorrow. I’m getting up early to sign up for the NB Virtual Queue in hopes of trying out the Goofy shoes (NB 890 v4). I haven’t tried that model – hope I like them. I’m not a fan of the NB Mickey shoes I got last year.

  5. Ohh, I want those Boston Marathon New Balance shoes, even if it is just to wear them around the neighborhood! I have a ton of shoes too, but they are all Brooks Ravennas. They work for me, and yes, I have been rechecked in them at the running store.

    • Pam – what size do you wear? We have one left. 8.5 in our store, deeply discounted. LMK if you are interested.

  6. First off: I am waaaaay jealous of your shoe collection! I only have two pair. I run in Mizuno wave Precision (which are no longer made 😦 boohoo) and now Mizuno Wave Inspire. I used to run in brooks pure flow, but once I tried Mizuno there was no going back for me. I LOVE my shoe 😉 I have my soul mate haha

  7. Thank you for talking about what works for YOU!! I see so many people getting blind advice on shoes and it makes me crazy. Having a minor stability control shoe really limits my options and I’m SO happy that NB introduced pretty colors in the 860 v4 this year. I may buy 10 pairs of the purple ones 🙂

  8. Thank you for writing about what works for YOU! I get so frustrated when I see people taking blind advice from the interwebs on shoes. As a stability shoe (and a mild one at that) wearer, I get a little bummed out at the lack of options for different shoes that work for me. And a lot of times they’re not that cute either. I am SO happy that NB introduced pretty colors for v4 of the 860s. I may buy 10 pairs of the purple ones! 🙂

  9. I am a shoes rotator also. I currently rotate 4 pairs, not including trail shoes. I too run in the NB 890v4 Boston edition but have found that they don’t work for me for long runs. The others are Saucony Kinvara 3’s I picked up at a good price after running in the 2’s. I have found that with the 3 & 4’s, Saucony has stripped away too much in the effort to get lighter. They just break down quicker and don’t last as long. I run shorter distances in Altra Instinct 1.5s but am not in love with them. My all time fav shoe is the, wait for it, Nike Free Run 3 (GASP I know!). These are my go to shoe that I always find myself gravitating back to. They work for me. Worked for me I should say, as Nike no longer makes them. They changed to the Fly Knit (no thanks).

  10. I love my Mizunos so much that I’ve been afraid to try anything else, but I’ve been thinking I need to work in some others. Just out of curiosity, when rotating so many pairs, how do you know how much mileage is on each one? Or do you just go by feel?

  11. Hi Krissy, I also believe that rotating shoes on a regular basis while you run is a good idea. It keeps your shoes in good health as well as it gives you longer mileage during running. Yes I agree on that.

    New Balance 890 V4 are pretty good for marathon training IMO. One thing I really liked about this shoe is its ABZORB cushioning in the midfoot. This feature gives us good shock absorption while long running. It is also very lightweight and its upper gives us increased support.

    I highly recommend this shoe for marathon training.



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