Just like most runners that have been running for several years, we have quite a few miles under our feet. I bet I’ve gone through over 100 pairs of running shoes, if not more. If you were to ask me what was the first running shoe I ever wore, I couldn’t tell you. Also, If you asked me what shoe I wore in my first marathon, L.A. on March 5, 1989, I’d have no clue. Not even sure I wore actual running shoes. My brother was a Brooks fan, so maybe I wore Brooks but, again, I’m clueless.
Running was not as popular in 1989 as it is today, although it was gaining legs (no pun intended – well maybe!). Trying to compare running shoes from then to now, is like comparing the Commodore 64 computer to an Apple MacBook Pro. Astonishing, incredible technical advances.
The first high-tech running shoe that I remember falling in love with when I was just into my 50 state marathon quest, were the early Asics – Gel Kayano. I wore them because they felt good and cushiony. Also, my friend David wore them and they were expensive, so I thought they had to be good. Well they were – for many a marathon. The problem I found, though, with each new Kayano release there were always changes (“improvements”) that I actually felt when I wore them for the first time on a run. There was even one release, I think the Gel Kayano 9 or 10, that I believe caused me a stress fracture. I thought it was just a bad pair, so I bought another of the same release, but still felt the pressure in the same location. So, I ditched them and my love affair with the Kayanos sadly ended.
Thereafter, I went through different brands of shoes like some of us go through dates until we find the “one.” For me, “the one” ended up being the Saucony Hurricane series. They felt great from the first time I put them on. I wore them for at least four years until the Hurricane 11s came out and our relationship quickly went south. For some reason, during long runs and marathons, the 11s were killing the balls of my feet. So much so that in the 2010 Maui Marathon I had to stop 9 times, untie them, take them off and put them back on, which would give me some relief for a few miles. No, it was not the socks. I even took them off during that race for about 5 miles to make sure. So, unfortunately, I had to end my four year relationship with the Hurricanes.
However, I still love Saucony (love their gear) and my Hurricane 10s are actually featured on the cover of my upcoming book, One Foot in Front of the Other.
Now I have a new love affair. I tried so hard not to be sucked in just because some of the runners in our running group were wearing them and professed their love for them. Others swore they were a fad. I finally gave in and now I have a seriously deep love affair with my Newton Motus Running Shoes. For me, they are the best shoes I’ve ever ran in.
They changed my form considerably, are comfortable on my feet and, in my mind, the sole reason (no pun intended – well, maybe!) for my improved marathon times. I’m not recommending Newtons for everyone, but they just really work for me. So now we’ll see how long this love affair lasts.
So what’s the point to all this? Well, from 1989 to 2001, I only ran with my best friend, or by myself, so I really didn’t know anything about pronation, heel or toe strikes, or possible injuries such as shin splints, planter fasciitis, etc.. or how important the right pair of shoes were, not only to minimize injury but to enhance your overall running experience. Today, a new runner can go to their local running store, talk to an expert, hop on a treadmill and have their running form and gate analyzed. Then the expert can recommend a few pair of running shoes to try on that would work best, and a very wise purchase can be made. It’s that simple and would be my recommendation for any newer runner, especially if the goal is to run a half or full marathon this year.
I’ve been very lucky with the running shoes I chose in the past, but I got to say I’m jealous I didn’t have the choices that runners have today. Remember, running shoes are your most important running investment. There are many to choose from, some will reel you in with their beauty only to hurt you, others will be good for a few dates though you find you have nothing in common but there will be that “one” running shoe, that will take your breath away and have all the qualities you were looking for in a running shoe to sustain a long mutual loving relationship.
A good choice in shoes will serve you well, get you through the miles of training and, ultimately, the finish line of your race!
I post my blog every Tuesday and Friday. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube and feel free to forward this blog post to others in your network. Also on the homepage of this site, sign up for updates on my upcoming book, ”One Foot in Front of the Other“. You’ll also receive my first chapter FREE! And finally, I was featured on a Podcast on March 13, 2012 on The Conversation Hub. Enjoy!