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!
(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?