Monday, February 17, 2014

omg [running] SHOES

I love my running shoes.

When I first started running, I had whatever pair of shoes that had probably been in use since 9th grade gym class. This was fine, and I kept buying cheap shoes I found on sale as the old pair wore out.

After my first half marathon, when I was getting more into running, I was gifted a pair of Vibram FiveFingers and gradually started wearing them exclusively for running. I loved them! I went on to run a couple half marathons in the Vibrams over the years. My favorite style has ended up being the Bikila LS. I'm on my third pair of these, and I hate to admit that my current pair needs to be replaced soon! The only thing I don't like about these shoes is the ~$100 price tag. But these shoes majorly transformed how I ran - teaching me how to forefoot strike and run naturally. I credit my injury-free running career to the Vibrams.

Vibram Bikila LS
I started training for my first marathon in Vibrams Five Fingers. When I was ramping up mileage I started getting some tendon pain, so I decided to get something with more support. I got a pair of Brooks GTS 7 shoes, which worked out fine. They felt clunky compared to the Vibrams, but I was worried about running 40 miles a week in the Vibrams and straining my tendons due to overuse.
Brooks GTS - quite the difference from the Vibrams!
A little while after the marathon, I was at an REI attic sale and spotted a pair of gently used Brooks PureConnects for $20. It was love at first step. I had been eyeing these babies for a while, but their $120 price tag drove me away from ever actually trying them out. Now I swear by my fancy running shoes and will never go back to anything but a quality minimalist shoe.

Brooks PureConnect - the best running shoe ever!
I find the PureConnects to be the perfect balance for someone who likes the feel of the barefoot "shoe" but needs something with a little more sustainability for more miles. These shoes feel fast and I highly recommend them! My husband also wears these and honestly believes they hold magical properties. Running was hard for him, and not enjoyable. Since getting these shoes, he enjoys going out for a run and feels.. magically faster in them.

The only downside to any minimalist shoe is that they wear out quickly. The soles are very soft and will get torn up if you run on gravel or trails in them.

That said, I also have a pair of trail runners, also made by Brooks. I was first introduced to Brooks Cascasdias on the Appalachian Trail, where it seemed like every other hiker wore them. When I started trail running more seriously last summer, I wanted something more durable and grippy. I wear the Cascadias as my trail runners and hiking shoes, and absolutely love them.
Brooks Cascadias- my trail shoes
I would be interested in trying a more minimalist trail shoe, like the PureGrit. I'm not sure how I would like have a thinner sole for trail running. The rocks and roots and mud on the trails can be hard on your feet! Maybe at the next REI sale I will find a pair I can snag.

So there you have it! My running shoe collection, which I take far more pride in than my regular shoes. :)

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