Random note, my Wu-Tang Clan name is Mighty Demon. Word to my brothers and sisters…
One of the things that makes me cringe on the inside is when a runner states, “I can only run in <insert shoe name and model here>.”
I know running shoes are a personal thing and it is so much easier to find a shoe that works and keep buying it.
But the problem is running shoe designers keep changing/tweaking each and every model of shoe they produce each and every season. So the shoe you loved last year is not the same shoe you are buying this year.
If you do not think that matters; think again. Now really think again.
I will always maintain the best running lessons you can learn are those you learn about yourself. Understanding what works and what doesn’t; knowing what is good and what is bad; and determining what is best for you often requires experimentation and some failures along the way.
And believe it or not, the subtle changes of our shoes (and our bodies) can turn from a positive to a negative over time if we fail to notice.
For example, I have run in Newton shoes over the past seven plus years. I first fell in love with the Newtons (specifically the Distance and then the Gravity) because they did help my gait and I was faster to boot.
Most every other shoe I tried during my Newtonian period did not have the energy return of the Newtons, which is disappointing because who really wants to run slower when they are already slow? No need to raise your hand.
Enter my massage therapist. She has been working my body after long runs and races for over a decade. So it was surprising when she noted during one session that my feet wanted to supinate.
Of course, immediately after my massage I fired up the internet machine and became an expert (random note, I am not an expert)… Sadly, running shoe companies do not make shoes for those who supinate. I consulted my local running store expert and he gave me the story why and much like the internet machine recommended a neutral shoe.
Both the Newton Gravity and Distance are neutral shoes. But the changes to both the Newton Distance and Gravity, along with the changes to my body, created a mismatch where there was originally a match.
So the question became which neutral shoe.
This is why it is a good idea to visit your local running store (for me, Wild Pear Running). They have expertise and they want to keep your business, so they are going to try and find what is best for you. After testing several shoes, I gave the Altra Torin a run for their money.
I was pleasantly amazed. I do not know if it is the zero drop or the generous toe box or both, but suddenly there was no hip or calf pain. That said, the Torin features a bit too much cushion for my liking and compared to the Newtons, the energy return lacks. Hence, using my running stores 30 day return policy I checked out a pair of the Altra Escalante.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Shoes do matter. No more getting out of bed and waddling to the bathroom in the morning; no more persistent hip pain; I feel good during the run and after the run. I am a tad slower in these shoes, but at my age (56) it is a trade off I am happy with.
This is not meant to be a shoe review. It is meant as a reminder that what you put on your feet affects the rest of your body. So, if your favorite shoe does not seem to be as favorite as you remember, perhaps a trip to your local running store is in order.