Could It Be The Shoes?

A friend at work suggested the other day that I should buy a new pair of running shoes for training  the next two months and to run in the AJC Peachtree Road Race.

I’m not one to spend money in advance of need and I figured I had a few more miles in the pair I ran the race in last year. I’ve heard the rule of thumb is you can expect about 500 miles out of a pair of shoes and I thought I’d reach that mark right around July 4th.

Then he said, “But those are your 74-minute shoes.”

The blunt-speaking man is right. Those Asics with the orange trim in the photo are the same shoes that I ran an unsatisfactory 1:14.47 last year. While I had chalked my slow performance up to unfocused training leading up to the race, could my shoes have been part of the problem all along?

I’ve been an Asics man since my first Peachtree in 1979. I like the way they feel and, as marketers know, once someone settles on a brand it takes something significant to knock out the incumbent.
Asics Shoes
I ran the tread off that first pair of shoes and when I wore a hole through the surface layer, I used shoe goo to get some more mileage out of them. I know now that doing that was just asking for a joint injury.

And I know that I’ve been lucky to run on pavement for many years without ever being sidelined with aching knees or ankles. I’ve had friends who needed an expert or orthopedist to help them select the right shoe to allow them to keep running a while longer.

In the photo, taken recently at the Peachtree finish line, you can see the last two pairs of race-tested shoes that I’ve retired for running  purposes, as well as the orange-trimmed incumbents still in use.

So even though the cheapskate in me wants to eke out one more road race from my Asics, circa 2009-2010, I think it’s time for me to see if I could really fly down Peachtree, if only I had the right shoes.

Are you brand-loyal when it comes to running shoes? Do you have suggestions to help me pick out a brand that will be good for runs of three to six miles?

Or, should I push back against Big Shoe and skip the footwear completely?

8 comments Add your comment

KT

April 27th, 2010
7:03 am

A guy I went to high school with is an avid runner. Every day he’s running 10+ miles preparing for the next marathon. He had posted something on his Facebook wall about purchasing the best new running sneakers. They were Nike and I’ve never been a fan of Nike.I researched the shoe, looked at reviews and I went to the Nike Store at Lenox to check them out. As soon as I slipped on the first one, I was hooked! It fit my foot like a glove. They are Nike Lunar Glide+. The + allows you to put a type of chip in your shoe so you can track your miles. I paid $100 for them and they have been well worth the money. Although everyone’s foot and running style is different which is why there are so many running shoes on market, but I would recommend checking out the Nike Lunar Glide+.

Zenith

April 27th, 2010
9:29 am

In high school circa 198…something, I ran in Nike Airs or whatever I could find. In my adult years, I regularly chose Asics. The brand-new shoe felt the same as my broken-in pair, but with the added comfort of new padding. In recent years, a friend of mine suggested a pair of Mizunos. I bought a pair and haven’t looked back since. They are a little more expensive than the Asics, but you can sometimes find them on sale at Dick’s Sporting Goods. It’s good to know that if I can’t find a pair of Mizunos on sale, that I can always fall back to the Asics for a while.

iRun

April 27th, 2010
9:07 pm

iRun in a pair of Mizuno Wave Riders (for a neutral gait). I LURVE them! They don’t squeeze my foot anywhere (I have a wide toe spread) and they’re not cumbersome. They’re not for everyone, though. I hear a lot of Asics people say they can’t wear Mizunos…must be each brand fits a certain foot shape.

I have tried others…go to Big Peach and try on the neutral shoes and always come home with the Mizunos. I even tried the Nike Lunar series and found they were too tight around the forefoot…and too bouncy. I don’t like that. Felt like I was running on a trampoline. I like to forget my shoe is on my foot and the Mizunos give me that.

As for mileage…I usually trade out before 400miles. I’m not a lightweight runner so I feel like the padding breaks down fast. and when it breaks down all in my hot spots then I end up with bruised feet.

Benson

April 27th, 2010
10:22 pm

Shoes are key. My first Peachtree was run in a $10 pair of Nikes from the bargain bin – I finished in 75 minutes and couldn’t run for three weeks. I’m on something like my 6th and 7th pairs of Saucony Pro-Grids and I’m hoping they will see me to a 48-minute finish this year. The real secret, though, is to head to a place like Big Peach (my go-to shoe store) or Phidippides where they can tell you what kind of runner you are (over/under pronator) and will let you test drive the five or six pairs of shoes that fill the bill. I trade shoes around 350 miles, but YMMV (literally).

bigdogears

April 28th, 2010
1:36 am

I’ve been a New Balance wearer since I bought my first pair before Army basic training in 1982. Last year I bought my first pair on Asics and they’ve been fine. The most important thing this is the correct fit and the type of shoe for your foot. I recently bought a new pair of New Balance 758’s. They’ll be my shoes for the Peachtree because they’re almost 2 oz. lighter per shoe than my Asics GT-2140’s. Don’t overlook your socks. They can be almost as important as your shoes, if you choose to wear them.

Bryan

April 28th, 2010
8:50 am

Mizuno, Mizuno, Mizuno!!!!! I have been running in the Mizuno Inspire(support) since they were put on the market. 1 full, 2 half’s and about 25 miles a week and I’m still a fan. Make sure you know what foot type you have before buying. Runnersworld.com has the directions for the “wet test” to see what type of arch you have. Remember, don’t look at your watch as you cross the finish line:)

JSD

April 28th, 2010
3:02 pm

bare foot you bunch of wimps

colin

April 28th, 2010
3:53 pm

2 things that helped me massively

1. Suffered from shin splints (interior) for 3+ years, got superfeet inserts and changed my stride a little = no more shin splints. No “super motion control” shoe came anywhere close to the arch support I get from green superfeet, I would argue there isn’t a shoe on the market with actual arch support.

2. Get 2 pairs of shoes. It sounds like a sales pitch, but there’s 2 reasons: (1) your lower leg muscles will be worked slightly differently in each pair, which will strengthen them/help prevent injury (2) it takes foam/cushioning in shoes about 24 hours to recover after a decent run. If you run on the same pair within say 12 hours, the shoes ability to absorb impact will be compromised somewhat (hello injury).

to anyone saying run barefoot, have any elite runners ever trained barefoot, let alone run a race barefoot? So…