Fitness Friday: Footwear

For those of you that have ran with me or followed my running over the last 4 years might have noticed a transformation in my running and what has gone on my feet. Since 2009 I have made a couple of transitions in footwear.

racing in VFFs

After the 2009 California International Marathon I thought to myself it is time to “get serious” and try to solve my running aches and pains, I opted to jump onto the barefoot fad and opted to run in Vibram Five Fingers. I wore these “shoes” for a couple of reasons, the first was running hurt, and I was willing to try anything to make it feel better. The other reason was just plain out curiosity on how these goofy things would feel running in them. One thing I noticed when I jumped in these things right away, was that I felt a different soreness when running in them, but not an ache or pain. In fact I quickly found myself running injury free due to the changes in my running style. I was doing a lot less heel striking! Yes running in these things removed me from hitting the pavement incorrectly. Going heel down first hurts, especially when you don’t have that nicely cushioned sole.

I felt my feet and ankles getting stronger, not to mention my knees and hips no longer felt pain when I ran. This positive experience of pain free running provided me to continue and keep running 4 years after putting those goofy looking shoe covers on.

As I started to work more and more towards becoming a runner at this point, I realized my feet started to get tired. Yes tired, not hurting, just fatigued. So I decided to run in something that provided me a little more cushion under my feet. This decision is due to the fact that I personally think that unless I only wear VFFs 24/7 my feet wouldn’t overcome this fatigue. So I opted to start running in the New Balance Minimus Zeros.

running in NB Minimus Zeros

At this point I started running well and found myself to become a better runner by just adding a little more under my feet that a road shoe had to offer. In fact I started to run faster than before, this was due to various things, running more miles, being more focused, and working harder. However these things wouldn’t have happened had I gone through a transition in footwear riding my feet of fatigue during my runs and workouts.

So this brings me to 2013 where I have again made a transition which I believe to be one that will be staying with me over the next few years. With a wider foot (2E), I started to realize that even a shoe with width that the New Balance offered, I was starting to bust through the sides making for some rubbing and soreness on the sides of my feet as I started to log high mileage during training. In fact during certain races, I looked forward to getting my feet out of my shoes to allow them to relax.

26.2 in GOrun2 by Skechers

Most recently, I was introduced to various models of Skechers and have been running and racing in them. What I have noticed with specifically the GOrun 2 is that a wide toe box is critical for me when it comes to footwear. As I continue to log high mileage and attempt to run faster, comfort is not just what is under my feet, but what is around it on the sides as well. I have logged in a full 26.2-miles (Big Sur International Marathon) as well as ran on various terrains including pacing a portion of a 50-mile trail run (American River 50-Mile Endurance Run) in my new found favorite shoe. 

What do you look for in a running shoe? Have you gone through various changes and transitions like I have? What is your current favorite shoe to run and race in?

6 thoughts on “Fitness Friday: Footwear

  1. I've changed shoes several times as well – I mainly run in Mizuno now. I need shoes with good support and a wide toe box. Haven't tested Vibrams out but my sister in law has a pair and loves them!

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  2. I transitioned to a minimalist shoe a couple years ago. It was a very gradual transition for me. I ran in the Newton Distance U shoes for about a year, and then transition to their zero-drop shoe, the MV2. I love them! They're very lightweight, and just a fast shoe. I have a couple pairs of New Balance Minimus that I run in occasionally as well.

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  3. At the moment I wear Nike Lunarfly GTX but my podiatrist says I should wear Asics because of the heel differential. When I purchase my next shoes I think I will give them a go 🙂

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  4. I'm currently running in the Brooks Launch, but I don't think I can do a marathon in them. I need more cush…so I switched it up to the Brooks Pure Cadence for what will hopefully be my first full marathon in June. I'd love to try the Newton Distance U or even Skechers, but I think I'll wait until after the marathon…

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  5. I'm so glad I found this post via running bloggers fitness friday link up.
    I'm really interested in barefoot running too. I have some vibrams that I'm slowing building up to wearing more and more.
    I too am suffering problems with my shoes (asics). I didn't have problems when I got them. I'm now getting them grr.
    So reading this post is just another reason to go down the barefoot alley.
    Thanks

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  6. Skechers have a very wide toe box. I really recommend them.

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