The amount of time I’ve spent shopping for running shoes is a little embarrassing. Up until last year, I would only run in one pair of shoes until it was time to replace them. When Mike started experimenting with rotating shoes, I decided to try it out as well to give my feet some variety. Since I had been running in the Brooks Adrenalines for the last few years, I decided to branch out to other shoes in the same line.
A quick history of my running shoes
Apparently I over pronate. I once had custom orthotics made and then was fitted with one of the highest stability shoes that money could buy. A combination of the high stability shoes with my orthotics overcorrected my problem and I ended up with a lot of knee pain. My physio suggested I try a completely neutral shoe after watching me run on a treadmill wearing different types of shoes. During that time, I ended up with a stress fracture which probably had more to do with other factors over my running shoes, but I got spooked and went back to a shoe with a little more stability. I don’t remember the names of all the different shoes I tried, but the latest shoe I’ve come to love is the Brooks Adrenaline. I ran in those exclusively for every single run until they wore out and it was time to buy a new pair.
I started experimenting with wearing a few different types of shoes within the Brooks line (baby steps) last summer and during my last training cycle in Europe, I rotated between three pairs of shoes:
- Brooks PureCadence for speed days and races
- Brooks Ravenna for easy runs
- Brooks Adrenaline for long runs
My first big “ah-ha” moment that opened me up to wearing different shoes for different runs were when I tried running in the PureCadence for a speed session. My understanding is that they’re still a pretty supportive shoe but they are lighter and therefore better for speed. I remember doing warm ups in them and feeling like my feet were going numb – but then feeling AWESOME as soon as I would start a speed interval in them. Definitely a great shoe for running intervals and races.
The biggest test was running a marathon in them, and they passed with flying colours. However, when I ran the Scotia Half in them a few months later in the heat, I had to stop mid-race because my entire left toe box had gone numb. Nothing else was different other than the weather so I’m assuming that had to do with my feet swelling up from the heat more than the shoe suddenly being a bad fit for me. My biggest complaint about them, though, are the fact that they feel a little too narrow for my feet. It’s not unbearable, but my Adrenalines and Ravennas are noticeably roomier.
I have lukewarm feelings for the Ravennas. I bought them because my coach said they were similar to the Adrenalines in terms of support but a slightly lighter shoe. I actually had some plantar fasciitis issues while I was in Europe that never stopped me from running, but always kind of hung around. Since I only do one long run and one speed work session per week, I was actually running in the Ravennas the most out of any of the shoes I owned. I’m not convinced this was the best shoe for me to be spending so much time in so these were the first shoes I was looking to replace when I retired them. Still working on this one, though.
I love the Adrenalines, but they feel like bricks on my feet sometimes. They’re so nice and cushy, but I felt a lighter shoe with decent support/cushion that also felt great shouldn’t be too much to ask for. So I use them for long run days and want to keep them for that purpose.
Mizuno Wave Sayonara
I went to a specialized run store in Vancouver to ask their opinion on trying a new shoe. Mike suggested I try the Nike Pegasus or the Lunarglide, but the associate there put me in a pair of Mizuos and at that time, they felt the best in the store. I even tried them out right after a long run so my feet were a little tired and “used” haha. I thought that might help get a real feel for what the shoes would feel like. Unfortunately, after 3-4 runs in them, I couldn’t stand them. I didn’t think it was fair to try to return them after running in them for a few days, so they’re currently collecting dust and may turn into my casual every day shoes. 🙁
I feel a little defeated. There are so many shoes out there, but every “shoe expert” has a different opinion on what will work best for you. I don’t have unlimited funds to try multiple pairs of shoes every week and it’s really hard to tell from one test run around the store whether they will be good to train in. So, for the time being, I’ve gone back to adding in my Ravennas into my shoe rotation and when I have a little more money, I’ll consider trying another shoe.
What are your favourite running shoes?
Do you rotate between a few different pairs depending on the type of run?