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Monday, February 17, 2014

Wanted: The right shoe

Also, a left shoe.
Kidding, I mean I'm still hunting for the shoe I'm comfortable - and safe - in. A few years ago, I wore the Saucony Kinvara for every run, and I loved that shoe. I still do. I'm mourning it, really. I had to stop wearing it because my foot was collapsing a little, causing undue strain on the adductors (my problem area). Switching to a slightly more stable shoe made a difference, and I don't want to take any chances going back to the Kinvara, even though I'm pretty healthy now.

When I decided to move away from such a soft, neutral shoe, I picked the closest thing possible: the Brooks PureCadence. And I've been pretty happy with the PureCadence, with two big exceptions:
1. They wear out way too quickly. I used to get 1000 miles out of a Kinvara. I hit 500 in the PureCadence and they were barely even held together still.
2. I lost 6 toenails after my last half marathon. I'm wearing a men's 8.5 because my foot is so wide, but it's a tad too large. The 8 was too narrow across the bunion, so I had to go up to my regular 8.5 just for width, but my toes are sliding forward and I'm shedding toenails. I normally might lose the same nail on my longest toe, no big deal, but SIX?! I don't want to make that a habit. I need a better fit!

I went over to Varsity Sports to get some suggestions. Whenever I buy a new style, I try to buy it locally. I don't like taking chances with fit and feel, and I do like to boost the local economy some. Since we get a discount for running with the Varsity group, it barely costs more to buy locally than from an online retailer.

Jessica had me try two shoes:
First, the Mizuno Sayonara, which was an amazing fit but didn't meet my qualifications at all (it's quite similar to the Kinvara and does not have any stability features). Of course I loved it and couldn't have it. But Jessica just thought it looked like a shoe I'd want, which I did. Darn.
Second, the Saucony Mirage. I'd tried on the mirage before, and didn't like it at all. It felt stiff, heavy, and tight in the toe box, with too much heel. But that was an older model, and Jessica said I'd like the improvements. And I did. The upper now has "Flex film" instead of overlays, which not only drops the weight, but helps a lot with fit over my wide feet. It still felt a little stiff to me, and it has a padded tongue, which I try to avoid on my shoes (they get sweat-soaked and disgusting in our summer heat). But I'm not looking for perfection. I just want some other options. So I bought it. I can comfortably fit a men's 8.5, without my foot sliding, so that is a plus.

I tried them out yesterday, and so far, so good. They're a touch tight at the bunion and do feel stiff during landing, but no major complaints. They feel like more shoe than I'm used to, but not necessarily heavy, which was a nice surprise. I think they're just over 8 ounces, which is not too terrible. Of course, I'll know more after I've worn them more. Sundays are a tough day to try out a shoe, because I go really easy on Sundays since it's sandwiched between a long run and a track workout on Monday.

What's in your shoe rotation? Have you found the right shoe for you?


  1. omg 500 - 1000 miles? I am lucky to get 250. I've read shoe life is like 350 - 500 max ... maybe that is the issue with the "collapse" and you should put less miles on each pair? Just a thought that it could contribute to injury bc the shoe is so broken down with that many miles on them.

    1. I know :( I just feel like they finally fit "right" at about 600 miles! But this year I'm really going to just toss them at 500. Or maybe 600. No more.

    2. hahaha at maybe 600

  2. Why do they keep changing perfectly good shoes??? It drives me insane. I'm running with Mizuno Wave Riders (but I'm not liking them as much as a few models ago) and Brooks Glycerine (which I've gone back to after a couple of disastrous model changes by them). I'd be so happy if they could keep making exactly the same models year after year but change up the colours.

  3. Well, I'm an all Brooks gal, but here's what I have. (Prep yourself for the long list.)
    Speed-ish shoes: Pure Connects and Pure Flows
    Daily trainers (long runs, easy runs): Ghosts, Ravennas, Launch
    Marathon racing: ST Racers, Cadence

    Happy Hunting!

  4. I'm with you 100% - I wear Brooks almost exclusively, and have tried many different brands. I feel like every pair I try on is close, but just not perfect. It shouldn't be this hard to find the right ones. And ultimately it seems like almost all of my race pictures are in different brands. I feel like my foot is always getting used to a new fit.

    Sorry about your six toes losing their nails at the same time - that explains the wide foot. Finding the right fit seems to be your Achilles heel. (eh, that wasn't great).

  5. Totally experimenting this year. Fingers crossed. For me and for you. There are definitely no stability devices in the shoes I'm wearing but I'm determined to try new things until I find something that works for my feet.
    I know you want something to keep the arches from rolling, but if you had a wider toebox for the bunions, and could run more forefoot, it might be less of an issue than it is now with the tapered toe. Really not trying to sell shoes, just giving you something to think about.

    1. The toe box is definitely part of the problem. I've recommended Altras for others with bunions but I'm scared to move back to a really neutral, soft, unsupported shoe. I can really see a difference in my leg muscles working to straighten my foot back out after the stride, and it causes me to kind of circle my leg around as I lift it. I can correct that a little with a support shoe.