Running Shoe Conundrum Solved

[This is an update on my progress with transitioning into becoming a barefoot runner. It’s going to be a long one, so bear with me!]

08/03/10: I ran two miles in my running shoes followed by 1 mile in the Bikilas. I have to admit this first trial run was a bit weird for me — I was too methodical in trying to correct my form. I couldn’t figure out if I wanted to allow my heel to touch the ground or not and overall, everything just felt awkward. Despite the awkwardness, I did enjoy how light my feet felt during the run.

08/05/10: I decided to go to Potomac River Running store to try on some shoes and just take a look at what type of runner I was. It was never my intention to actually purchase a shoe, but just to see what type of shoe the store would recommend me since I’d never done anything like that before. I also knew that I would need a better running shoe than the one I’ve been using for the past couple of years to help with my transition into the Vibrams. The experience itself was pretty fun; it was digitally determined that I’m a size 8 running shoe and I apply extra pressure to my big toes. I also found out that my left foot is “neutral” as in it does not pronate, while my right foot has moderate over-pronation. The man assisting me then suggested I needed more support to correct my over-pronating right foot. More support also means a more expensive shoe. I tried on 3 different brands: Brooks, Asics, and Mizunos. To me, the Brooks and Asics had too much padding and the shoe felt heavy; and at the time, the Mizunos felt amazing and so light. It was lust at first sight. So although I didn’t intend to buy a shoe, I did that day. I bought a shoe that goes against all things barefoot.

Mizuno Wave Nirvana 5.0, $117

08/10/10: Today was my second trial run. I decided to start out on the Vibrams with 1.5 miles and follow it up with 1.5 miles in regular running shoes. This time was 10 times better than the first; it felt natural, comfortable, and light. Although my calves burned, I felt like I could keep going. I then slipped off my Vibrams and put on the Mizunos. I was even getting a little excited as I was putting them on. That soon changed when I stood up. The raised heel made me feel so high off the ground that it felt, for a lack of a better word, unnatural. Then I started to run. The then-light Mizunos I tried on last week now felt like heavy bricks on my feet. It felt like my heels were being pulled down to the ground and I so badly wanted to chop the raised heels off. I made it through the 1.5 miles, but I didn’t like it. It has been decided; my brief lust affair with the Mizunos has ended and they are going back to the store.

So what now? Now with the suggestion of Runblogger, I’ve decided to buy a more minimalist running shoe. What does this mean? Here are his 8 guidelines:

1. A minimalist shoe should not have a thick, heavily cushioned heel.

2. A minimalist shoe should be lightweight

3. A minimalist shoe should, by definition, have minimal structure in the upper

4. A minimalist shoe should be as flexible as possible to let the foot move and flex naturally

5. A minimalist shoe should have a roomy toebox to allow the forefoot and toes to expand upon footstrike.

6. A minimalist shoe should minimize or remove support elements

7. A minimalist shoe should ride close to the ground.

8. A minimalist running shoe should minimize toe spring.

He also says it should never be more than $100. I pretty much failed on all aspects when I bought the Mizuno Nirvanas. So I’ve chosen the Saucony KilKenny XC3 Flat Racing Shoe – currently on sale for 20 bucks (plus $10 s/h) on Amazon!

post-script: If you do ever decide to go to Potomac River Running, don’t mention Vibrams; they aren’t too supportive of the barefoot/minimalist style of running!


2 responses to “Running Shoe Conundrum Solved

  1. Pingback: Body Workout 101

  2. Thanks for the informative article, it was a good read and I hope its ok that I share this with some facebook friends. Thanks.

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