I’m not very adventurous in my running shoes purchases for the sole reason that not a lot of shoes fit my foot. I have a very narrow heel so my heel slips out of the heel cup of most shoes. For years, I have trained in Saucony and raced short distances in Nike for this very reason. Over the last couple of years, the minimalist shoes have made an appearance and while not all runners have jumped on the band wagon, the minimalist movement has affected most of us. I’m not interested in entering the debate as to which is better, traditional or minimalist running shoes, however you can go HERE or HERE if you would like more information.
I’m all about funky colors and cool looking shoes but I first and foremost, choose shoes based on fit and feel. I like a shoe with some guts and a little cushion. Yes, I basically want to walk on clouds. If I feel a stone thru the bottom of my shoe while running, I won’t wear them again
which is why I shop at Running for Kicks because they will take my shoes back after I run/race in them if for WHATEVER reason I do not like them.
This spring, the minimalist movement affected my running shoe, the Saucony Guide 5. Saucony moved their entire collection from the traditional 12 mm heel to toe drop to an 8 mm drop. Saucony Guide 5 pictured below.
To say the least I was nervous. Although I was excited about them being 1.5 oz lighter, I was nervous about the change in the heel to toe drop. In actuality, I never really noticed a difference in the drop but loved the new fit, lightness and
style cushion. Click on the green link, if you are interested in a full review and comparison of the Saucony Guide 4 vs 5.
like me who forefoot strike, the lower drop is ideal. We have less shoe that we weren’t using anyhow to haul around. This never was an issue when I didn’t have other options know any better but last night, I went to purchase a new pair of lightweight shoes for 5K races and we went thru the entire fit process again and I tried on a large variety of shoes. Although, I like to have a pair of shoes specifically for shorter races, I can’t go to “race flats” because I’m not fast enough my current state of injury/recovery is not conducive to shoes without cushion and support.
You may wonder why I need a pair of “racing” shoes since I’m not really that fast and that would be a great question. For me, “race” shoes are like a frame of mind. You slip them on when you want to run fast and only when you want to run fast. It’s more mental
in my opinion than physical. It’s a break from the normal training regime, a special day and it requires a fast pair of shoes. Yes, shoes CAN make you run faster but only if you BELIEVE. Retired racing shoes, Nike Lunar Flys.
So last night as I was going thru the lightweight shoes that would work for me, one of the shoes I tried was a lightweight trainer which still had the 12 mm drop. While the shoe
looked really cool is a very popular brand, I felt like I was going to fall on my face. The heel was noticeably higher than the forefoot and all the cushion was in the heel without any much under the ball of the foot. It didn’t feel good to stand in those shoes and running was worse. I was a bit surprised the larger drop was so noticeable. I wonder if it was just a difference between my normal brand and that one, or if a minute 4 mm difference is really that noticeable to my feet? Or did my injury play a role? I could actually feel the tear site pull from heel to toe imbalance when I was running in those shoes. Not good for my tender foot.
The next two pair I tried had a 4 mm drop and I was instantly nervous about those thinking this was TOO close to minimalist for my body type. I was concerned less drop equaled less protection/cushion. I was wrong. Both shoes were adequately cushioned in the forefoot where I strike, they both fit like a glove and were light on my feet. They made me FEEL light and fast, like I was ready to run with the wind! So my new 5K race shoes are….
Brooks Pure Cadence, a lightweight shoe with cushioning and light stability. And…..my heel doesn’t slip! I’ve never ran in Brooks before but I’m loving the fit and feel of this shoe. They will make their run debut at the Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5K at the Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday, September 9th. More on the race day feel/fit later!
I encourage you to go to a local running store that will take the time to talk with you about your needs, concerns, injury history and then fit you accordingly. Find a store that encourages you to run in all the shoes they have in your size/foot type either on a treadmill or the sidewalk outside the store. Don’t be shy to run in the shoes during the fit session because you need something that feels good on the run, not in the store. A good running shoe store will also allow you to return shoes that you do not like, even after you have ran in them. If you buy your shoes at a store where you
and your kids do not feel comfortable, talk to the local run clubs and find out where their runners buy shoes, you will probably even find a club discount floating around. Running shoes are an integral part of your health and training and a good store wants to help you.
Are you a minimalist runner? Can you tell the difference in the heel toe drop just by trying on a shoe? Do you have specific shoes for racing?
** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** firstname.lastname@example.org