Friday, July 15, 2011

Shoes? F#@% shoes!

 This was originally going to be my blog title, but I declined for several reasons:

  • Dane Cook was only really funny in college.
  • I curse enough in person, no need to title my blog with that.
  • I actually do run in shoes.

Speaking of shoes, I love them. So it's odd that I'd want to barefoot run. I'm not *exactly* a barefoot runner though. Barefoot purists don't like people like me. They say we need to feel the earth under our feet. Like that Carole King song. This is all well and good if everyone ran on soft pine needle trails, but I run mostly on roads and in neighborhoods where I encounter: sharp rocks, glass, nails, and since this is Pennsyltuckey the charred husks of spent fireworks at all times of the year. I'll go barefoot around my house and on the beach, but not while I run, thanks.

Here is a brief history of my experience with footwear...

1) The first pair of shoes I can remember were Zips. Pink velcro kids shoes. As a new mom I can appreciate the on-and-off ease of velcro. Maybe Zips have gone the way of L.A. Gear (which I also had) because I can't find a picture of them, but they looked like this only pink.

2) I also recall a pair of red patent t-straps which I fondly referred to as my "ruby slippers":

3) In my awkward years I got really into Converse. The high-tops. These are all over the place now, just look at my students, but in 1994 I was not cool. Later I had the fish heads, which I drew all over.

4) I also had the ubiquitous pair of Dr. Martens. I went to high school right in the middle of the Columbine shootings so there was a lot of hysteria regarding certain styles of clothing. After reading the book Columbine by David Cullen I learned everything they news reported or presumed about the massacre was wrong.  We had a marginal skinhead population so I erred on the side of not looking like a racist pig. So my poor Docs got little public use until I wore them as riding boots because I cared way too much about what others think. This angry chick pretty much sums up my feelings about shoes in high school.

OK seriously now: Running shoes. Here are some highlights:

4) Brooks Addiction 5 - I know, right? HUGE. Like boats on your feet. The well-meaning folks at the running store convinced me that my feet need guidance. 
5) Brooks Adrenaline GTS 5 - I liked this shoe. Then they came out with the 6's and I didn't like them anymore.
6) Brooks Cascadia - Always received nice comments about these. They're pretty badass. Probably the most badass shoes I've had since the aforementioned Dr. Martens. 
7) Adidas Supernova Classic - Finally figured out I need a shoe with a narrow heel and a wide toe. Too bad they discontinued these.
Nike Structure Triax 12 - Ran my first marathon in these!
Nike+ Lunarglide - Lots of cushion in these shoes. More cushion than I typically go to, but the upper was very flexible and great for my wide feet. I walked in these today and it was like walking 2" above the ground after running in my minimalist shoes.
Inov8 Terroc - These are my current trail shoes. Not much cushion at all, but great tread for trails. You can "feel the earth beneath you". Whatever that means.

Brooks Ravenna - Back to Brooks. These are firm, with way less cushion than the Lunarglides. I like them. I still do most of my runs in these until I fully acclimate to the minimalist shoes. Although trying to adjust my form to run on my forefoot and midfoot is difficult in these, but I guess that would be the case with most regular running shoes.

Merrell Pace Glove - My first minimalist shoes!!! Bonus points for making my duck feet look small. Being minimalist shoes they have no support whatsoever. The footbed is molded to really mimic the natural shape of your foot. The Vibram outsoles are supposed to last forever so these shouldn't need replacing as frequently as traditional running shoes. I've heard some people mention that stretchy back part rubs, but this has not been a problem for me. When I first got them I just wore them around and out to run errands and to walk the dogs. This week I've worked up to 3 miles in them. Oddly, I don't really feel the lack of cushion when I run. The nature of the shoes encourages forefoot/midfoot landing which is a lighter step than heel striking. Later that day and today my calves are definitely sore, but my feet feel fine. I'm pretty psyched about these!

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