Ok, so anyone who has been following my blog of late knows that I have struggled with finding some new shoes. I don't know why this has to be so hard, but it is. After years of being told that I am a neutral runner who overpronates ever so slightly on one side - and, ergo, should wear neutral shoes - the most recent round of shoe buying necessity has found the situation changed. Now it seems everyone from my PT to the sales folks at the local running stores are telling me essentially that maybe I should do something about that overpronating-ever-so-slightly thing. Huh? Welcome to the search for mild stability, folks.
After over a year in the Nike Pegasus - the marshmallow of running shoes as I have come to know them - not to mention a year of trying to go more minimal, I was tasked with finding a shoe that offers mild support.
I guess I could see the point. There is that lingering injury thing, and I do overpronate a bit. While this should not be a problem on most shorter runs, I want to go looooooooooong. When I go long, my form suffers, and everything starts to collapse.
Anyway, the search began, and, as it turns out, the tricky part has been that I only need mild stability - not full-blown stability. I guess I would incur other problems with that. To complicate matters, since I have been having issues with my right foot as well (my bigger foot as it turns out), I needed to find a shoe with a wide toe box, too. Ugh.
I ended up going to the local running store probably three different times to try on shoes. Each time, the salesperson pulled out at least nine different boxes of shoes for me to try on. With every one there was a problem - either I didn't like them or the salesperson didn't like them on me. Go figure. Then came the Cortanas. (Cue choir of angels singing.) As soon as I slipped these puppies on, I knew there was potential. Even initially, when the shoes I tried on were a half size too small (because that is all they had), they felt right on my feet. So, I waited patiently for the correct size to come in, and I went to try them on again. Again, my feet seemed to like them. There was hope. However, I made myself walk away for a few days. I didn't want to rush into anything. These are not cheap shoes, people! In fact, my stomach still clenches a bit when I think about the price. The company will tell you that the shoes will last 500-600 miles (so longer than your typical running shoe), and I have to say that is the ONLY thing that makes this acceptable to me - well, that, and they were the only shoes that felt good after weeks of searching.
So, now I have worn the Cortanas four times, and I am happy. The first two times I wore them for two miles each day and really noticed my lower legs working. It was hard getting used to the 4 mm drop. The third day I threw caution to the wind and wore them for eight miles and felt great. Yesterday, I wore them for four miles and barely noticed them. We have a winner!
So, what are the particulars? Well, they are technically considered a neutral shoe, but they have enough support to cross over into the mild stability category. They are firm feeling underneath (so quite different from the Pegasus), but with a slightly cushiony feel to them over the firmness. There are no overlays across the toe box, so I don't feel like my toes are strapped down when I run. (I haven't noticed my foot issue this past week!) If I have any complaints, it would be that they seem to hug the ankle a little more than I would like, and on the right foot there is a piece of fabric that is poking down a bit near the base of my little toe. I guess I'll have to see if that becomes an issue or not. If it does, I feel confident that a piece of duct tape will do the trick. So, we'll see. So far, I am happy with these. Hopefully, my body will be too. Time will tell.
But wait, there may be another! In the throes of my shoe-buying odyssey, I also tried on - just for giggles, you understand - this shoe:
The Altra Intuition is a zero-drop shoe that feels amazing on my feet. It's not as cushiony comfy as the Cortanas by any stretch of the imagination, but it feels like it was cut to the shape of my foot. Talk about room to spread the toes. I actually tried these on in a full size too small, but the correct size is heading my way, and I can't wait to give them a whirl. They are definitely not a stability shoe, but for shorter runs, I think they would feel amazing. Anyway, I'll know more later.
So, now all that's left is to search for a good trail shoe. (Deep breath.) I think I'll wait a couple of weeks before starting that.
To finally wrap things up, here's a shot after a very hot, sweaty four-mile run yesterday.
I don't know what is going on, but weather in Northeast Wisconsin should NOT be 80 degrees in March. I guess I'll come clean and admit it - I like winter and I feel like I missed out this year. Oh well.
You'll notice that I am sporting a brand new Bondi Band. I am not kidding, folks, I really like these. Have you signed up for the Bondi Band giveaway? It's still going on until March 24! Sign up now!
Thursday, March 22, 2012
My feet have (finally!) found a new home AND Bondi Band Giveaway
And, we have a winner! (Drumroll, maestro, if you please................)