Saturday, February 20, 2010

Running shoe update

Since I bought a couple of new pairs of running shoes to get me through my spring marathons and ultras, I figured I should do a quick post on the ones I have retired and the ones I am still running in.

One of the reasons, I bought new shoes was the fact that I am doing a road marathon and I haven't convinced myself that trail shoes will work for a road marathon. Truth is I haven't tried before and since I seldom run on paved surfaces I wasn't sure how much experimenting I should do as I didn't want to risk some strange type of injury. I do know that since I switched to only trail shoes on the trails, I haven't had a severe ankle sprain. Severe meaning one where I couldn't run the next day. It seems to me that all of my trail shoes are lower to the ground and when I detect the ankle roll, I am able to react before damage is done. This may be because of the shoes or it may be just because I have run enough trails and have adapted or it may be neither and I have just been lucky.

The other reason I bought the ones I did is that they were shoes I think will work and the price was great. More on that in a future post, first I should deal with the past and present.

If you are curious at all about my running style and size, I am a larger older runner 6'1" ~210 lbs (yes I plan to lose weight this year, more on that later too) who wears a size 13 (US), with relatively flat feet and I tend to overpronote some but not a lot. I have run in everything from neutral to motion control shoes but tend to buy cushioned support shoes unless I have an injury which I am trying to protect and then I might go for a stiff motion control shoe. I haven't really figured out how much support I need on trails and I actually blame wearing my Montrail Continental Divides for some injuries I experienced last year at Chippewa. I have never blamed them before but here is my theory. They are real stiff shoes which I chose to wear as I was nursing a foot injury and I figured that would help me avoid any major flexing of my left foot. At Chippewa I stepped in a few holes and really torqued both of my feet and ankles. Now my new thinking is that since these were so stiff, I didn't detect the flex as it was starting to happen and therefore that caused the over flexing which caused a bit of a problem and almost ended my day and definitely caused me some issues for most of the summer, basically it's the same theory as I mentioned above.

Retired Shoes:
Vasque Velocity VST - I do like this model of shoe but I decided to not buy another pair for a couple of reasons, the first one being my VST's did have the heel separation issue that I and others have complained about. I did use silicone to reattach the heel and I was able to get another 100+ miles out of them and I might be able to go further (and I may yet do that as I still like them) but I have noticed that I was having a higher amount of post run issues than with other shoes. I do like the way Vasques fit my feet so I am hopeful that the heel issue is an anomaly and not the start of a trend. So If I do give them a few more runs it's because I do like them and I have been known to un-retire a pair of shoes occasionally.

Salomon XA Comp 3 - These have the speed laces and I have put ~350 miles on them and I retired them for two reasons. The first reason was the same as the VST's, my post run pain was higher and since I have a 2nd pair which I had started wearing and had no pain, I figured it was time. The laces also broke which would have been a bit of a nuisance if I was still running in them. I did like these shoes and I think I like the speed laces but I noticed that when I ran over 10 miles, they didn't accommodate my toes probably as my feet swell with distance and became a bit tight and caused some damage.

New Balance 767 - Retired for mileage and age. These were over 2 years old (might be 3, I would have to check) as I only ran in these on paved surfaces which meant no more than 150 miles or so a year since my almost complete conversion to trails and to trail shoes and these shoes were only picking up half of that mileage. They have more than 300+ miles and and I was having some post run soreness so they too are now retired. I used these as screw shoes on pavement this winter and they mostly worked but I am thinking that spring is coming and I won't need them anymore for this year (yes, it might be wishful thinking)

I should mention that the post run soreness thing is my way of noticing a loss of cushioning/support/something that always shows up somewhere north of 300 miles. I also do have a few more shoes in my rotation than normal, normal for me would be 2 to 4 pairs. I always like to have two valid options for any race and I freaked out over my shoes right before my first 50 at Surf the Murph. I felt like I had no options for that distance as that was when my VST's fell apart and I had discovered the issue with XA3's so I bought a couple of pairs to give me a few extra options. Since I completed the race with no issues, I think the shoes worked just fine.

Still running in:
North Face Rucky Chuckys - these are an odd fit for me and I kind of have a love/hate relationship with them. I have had them for not quite a year and I wore them for the last 18 miles of Surf the Murph (not by choice exactly but poor planning on my part which actually worked). They are a tiny bit wider than some of my shoes and have plenty of room for my toes which is good as the feet swell but the heel is also a bit wider which is not good. So I end up messing around with the laces to accommodate the heel which I never like doing even if it works. I am not sure if the wider heel is a North Face trait as these were my first pair of NF. I also have some occasional achilles pain when I wear these but it usually goes away as I run. So my plan is to continue to run in these on an occasional basis, they hopefully will go another 150 miles.

Teva Romero - I like these shoes and had been holding them out until spring but having retired a few pair, I had to pull them back into the rotation. One issue they do have is that they are coming apart in the toe area on both shoes. Right at the front flex point the fabric has torn on both sides of the shoes and it seems to keep growing. I am going to try and duct tape them on the inside to see if that slows it down. I have only 175 miles on these shoes and the tearing started during the 50 at Surf the Murph (I only had 70 miles on the shoes) which is why I switched shoes as I wasn't sure they were going to hold together. I think that may have been a bit of ultra brain but the decision to switch to my Rucky Chucky's worked out fine.

One thing I mentioned above was running on roads in my trail shoes, I decided to try these shoes on roads and although they seem kind of hard and don't have a lot of cushioning they seem to work well. Thus far the longest run in them has been 14 miles on the road.

Vasque Aether Trails - these have been held back as I decided they were similar in fit to my VST's and that I would run in those and save these for spring. The VST's are retired now so I may start running in these, they only have a little over 100 miles and may be the shoes I use at Chippewa. I know Vasques have worked well for me, so I will always want to have a pair in my rotation available for races. I would say these are not as bulky nor as cushioned as the VST's but they seem to work fine. They might be a pinch narrower too but all of my Vasques start out a bit stiff and seem to loosen up past 100 miles.

Salomon XA Comp 3 - These were my 2nd pair that I bought last fall for <$30 and they are working fine. For under 30, my expectations aren't high and it's amazing when I don't pay a whole lot for shoes how much happier I am. They are one of the pairs I put screws into this winter and I plan to run in them for shorter runs. I have just gone over 100 miles with them and expect to get to 300 with no issue.

So my analysis tells me that Vasques work for me. North Face not so well but might be worth trying a different pair, Salomon's mostly work and I like but might tend to run small and Teva's work but haven't held together. My old New Balance shoes, well they are my old New Balance road shoes and worked ok except they are made for roads which I am not.

1 comment:

Wayne said...

of course this cracked me up: "I have been known to un-retire a pair of shoes occasionally". :)


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