Sunday, January 21, 2018

If These Shoes Could Talk...


If your running shoes could talk, what would they say?

Probably a lot.

Is there anything we love more about running than our shoes?  Well, yes, we love our running friends, we love our bling, we love the rush of adrenaline at the start lines...but oh, how we love our shoes. Seriously, the shoes are the major players that make it all possible.


I have had many shoes come and go in my almost 13 years of running. Some have been bad, many have been good, and a select few have been great. I did a walk down memory lane awhile ago, highlighting some of my shoes a few years ago (in a post Because it's all about the Shoes), but a lot has happened since then.

So, which shoes were my greatest loves? And what would they say about our relationship?

Here's the favorites:

Nike Structure. Nikey was my first shoe love. They introduced me to running and guided me through my first -ever training experience (a local 5K).
Nike Structure 17's...my prettiest pair of Nikeys
We were inseparable for nearly 2-1/2 years, when we decided to do our first long distance endeavor... the Dam to Dam 20K in 2008. Alas, I believe they would speak kindly of my loyalty towards them. I went through several pairs of the Nikeys, and many great runs and races.

On a whim, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 8’s we’re introduced to me. I was in the midst of training for my first marathon, the Quad Cities Marathon (September 2013) and got these for a discounted price because they were from the previous season. Oh my. Can you say, Love At First Run?
These babies were my true sole mate...
I wasn't aware at the time how difficult it would be to replace them when they started to show signs of wear. After all, they got me through not only the Quad Cities Marathon, but also the IMT Des Moines Marathon a year later (as well as numerous other races in between and many training miles as well).

Since these Wave Inspires 8's were "previous season" shoes (and I wore them for so long), the next available model was the Wave Inspire 11's. These were comfy shoes, but they just weren't the same. As we all know, almost every new version of a shoe has a few tweaks to it. You know, the manufacturer's attempt to improve on what's already a perfect shoe.  Well, that works for a lot of runners; the improvements and upgrades are subtle enough, the fit feels the same. I, however, have pretty high-maintenance feet...I over-pronate something terrible, my arches are unusually high, and my feet are slightly asymmetrical in size and shape. UGH. I'm one of the chosen few who can feel almost every new tweak, and not usually in a good way.
My two pairs of Wave Inspire 11's
That said, the Wave Inspire 11's, though a great shoe, just weren't as ideal for my feet as their older siblings (the WI 8's) were. I gave them a go, and they worked alright....but they never felt quite as perfect. About that same time (summer of 2015), I experienced my first-ever episode of Plantar Fasciitis. By then, I had been wearing the WI 11's for several months, so I don't think it was the shoes that were at fault for the PF, but the shoes were not helping my situation either. Eventually, I went back to the running store (where I'd gotten the Mizunos), and the owner herself refitted me. She recommended a different shoe, one that offered even more stability, but a bit more flexibility and cushion....

...and the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15's went home with me. And, thus began another wonderful running relationship. Oh, these Brooks were SO comfy and did not need any breaking in.

Aren't these pretty? 
A short while later, I ordered another pair (in a different color), and those two pairs of shoes were wonderful. They were every bit as perfect as the Mizuno WI 8's had been. They even got me through my 12-hour ultra the next summer (July 2016), as well as several half marathons and other distance events and runs.

After the ultra, I bought the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16's. I had been wearing the first pair of 15's for a year, and the second pair for about eight months. And, I had the Route 66 Marathon happening a few months later. Similar to my Wave Inspire 11's experience, the Adrenaline GTS 16's had a similar scenario....they felt good, but not quite as great as their previous model (the 15's). I did buy a second pair of them, though, and alternated between both pairs during my Route 66 training.
The two pairs of Adrenaline GTS 16's
In the spring of last year, I knew it was time for new shoes. Although I have always kept my "older" shoes and rotated them periodically for shorter distance runs, the longer distance runs demand shoes in their prime. Back at the running store, I decided to give the Mizunos another go, and went home with the Wave Inspire 13's. These felt much like the original WI 8's that I had loved and adored so much a few years prior. It definitely felt great to be back in Mizunos.

I wore them for Grandma's Marathon (June 2017), then abruptly put them in hibernation 12 days later following my emergency surgery. They stayed in my closet for those three months while I was sidelined, and they were ready and waiting for my return to running after my recovery was finished. They then saw me through five races, helped me earn an AG award, and carried me along the Las Vegas strip for the R'nR Half Marathon in November. My rally back was pretty epic, and these babies played a big part of it.
These WI 13's were my rally back shoes after my 3-month running sabbatical
On a whim, right before Christmas, I saw a great deal on the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17's...so guess what showed up in my mail box a few days later? Even though the Mizunos were doing well, I knew it would be time for new shoes in a few months, and I really wanted to give the Brooks another go-round. Well, these Adrenaline GTS 17's have been another perfect fit. It's almost like I have a thing where every other season the models seem to fit well.
My current kicks...Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17's
Those are my favorites. Like every race and every medal, these shoes all have special memories, and all have come with lessons learned and miles well spent.

Do you have a favorite pair of shoes? Have you been brand loyal, or have you had to switch back and forth between various brands as the models have been modified?

**I'm  linking up with Marcia and Patty and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run. We're chatting about shoes. Join the conversation!

**I'm also linking this with Debbie and Rachel and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner.


**And, I'm also linking up with Nicole and Annmarie for the Wild Wednesday Workout

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34 comments:

  1. I wore Adrenalines a long time ago...maybe around 2010? Im sure they have changed quite a bit since then and my shoe choices have also changed!

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    1. I also think our feet change somewhat...I know I'm running a lot more distance events now than I was a few years ago.

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  2. I started with Nike too, but after my first official shoe fitting I became loyal to Mizuno. My favorites have been the Wave Riders.

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    1. Having been a loyal Nikey gal, I was pleasantly surprised how awesome the Mizunos felt. I wish I would have had the forethought to get online and find a bunch of those Wave Inspire 8's way back then and stockpile them.

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  3. As you know, I have been a loyal Asics Gel Nimbus wearer for years--at least 15 and maybe more. But over the past year, they haven't been working for me anymore. Now I'm running in Mizuno Wave Riders. What a difference.

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    1. It's hard to make a change from what we know (and love). I have learned, though, that my running has changed over the years...I'm running much more races (a lot of which are long distances) and my needs have definitely changes as a result. I'm a lot more open minded about trying new shoes, just in case there's something even better out there.

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  4. Mostly I'm a Mizuno girl. 7 of my 11 marathons were run in them until they changed my shoe. I hate when they do that! My very first runnng shoe was a Nike too! Look at those pretty laces!

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    1. Well, I have to runfess, those pretty laces in the Nikey's are my own "modification." Those shoes came with black laces...hello? #boring

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  5. I've tried many shoes over the years: Brooks, Mizuno, New Balance... and really enjoyed them all. Then after injury this summer I switched again and am now running in Altras! I guess I need my shoes to grow and change with me!

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    1. I think it's good to keep an open mind like that...as our running/training evolves, our needs will probably change as well.

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  6. I know feel like the newer versions of the Mizunos wave inspires arent as good as the older versions and that makes me sad :(

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    1. Those WI 8's were SOOOO perfect. The newer models have been good, but just not the same. Although, the 13's definitely felt much like the older ones (to me at least).

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  7. When I first started running I wore Nikes as well, but since have changed to more durable shoes that could withstand more mileage. I haven't wore any other Brooks but the Launch, since I like the neutral shoes.

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    1. And I cannot do neutral LOL (I tried a few years ago and it was a major FAIL).I have thought about checking out the Nikes...just to see if the Structure model still exists

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  8. I've tried Mizunos once - can't remember which ones they were, it was a while ago - but they did not work on my feet at all. I was actually pretty crushed because so many runners I knew absolutely loved that shoe! Alas, my picky feet said no. I've had great luck with my Sauconys - so long as I 1/2 size up. I'm honestly too nervous to try too many other brands because I like my Kinvaras so much. haha

    And yeah, it's always hard for me to get rid of a running shoe. So many memories! Usually, I set them aside for walking and mowing the lawn, etc. Until they completely fall apart. :)

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    1. Are the Kinvaras a stability shoe? I think I had a pair of Triumphs a few years (by the advice of a BAD shoe store person), and they were a nightmare for me because they were for neutral runners. UGH.

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  9. I was in shoe limbo for a couple years, which also coincided with my ITBS. ASICS changed the model I loved (and my feet loved), and I wasn't sure what to do. I tried the Brooks Ghost and Adrenaline, but they never felt quite right, and I also tried Altras, but that wasn't right either. So far my New Balance shoes are working well.

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    1. It's really annoying and inconvenient when the models keep changing....it drives me to another brand LOL

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  10. I love Brooks shoes but find them so stiff for me. Which is why when I tried on the Transcend I was happily surprised.

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    1. I have had really good luck with the Brooks Adrenalines, they actually were more flexible than the Mizunos right out of the box. The Mizunos did loosen up, though, so they still were great ;-)

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  11. If my running shoes could talk, they would probably spill all the dirt from our group runs. We talk about everything and everyone. :)

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  12. I have a few shoes that I like and rotate through on a regular basis, but I really don't think that I've find the "one" yet. I'm not sure I ever really will. I use different shoes for different runs.

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  13. Mine would tell me to hang out more :( I've worn the same brand and style of shoes for the last 4 years (Asics Gel Cumulus) and LOVE them!

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  14. I had the same experience with Mizunos. Fell in love and then they changed them on me! It was the saddest day ever.

    Your Nikes sure are beautiful!!

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  15. I love this post! I have always had a certain loyalty to Saucony and then they changed...I got fitted for Nikes and never thought ever that I'd love them, but they were my favorites- I am back to Brooks for the 2nd go, and I have to say..I am not in love. Searching still!

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  16. Funny!! My very first running shoe was a Nike as well. Loved them until they discontinued them. Moved on to Saucony. Brooks never worked for me and I've never tried Mizuno. I've had the most success with Newtons and have been wearing them for 5+ years. I have some Altras and really like them ...but need some time to transition into that zero drop deal.

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  17. Wow, you've definitely tried out different running shoes! I've also worn the Adrenaline and various Mizuno shoes but have finally decided on the Launch. The newest version is out but I have a feeling I won't like them.

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  18. A few years ago I switched to minimalist shoes by Merrell and I'll never go back. Love that shoe and never have issues!

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  19. Yes, the Saucony Ride 7 were my dream shoe - straight out of the box, never had an issue. In fact, when the Ride 8 came out, I wasn't thrilled with the fit and backstocked like 10 pairs of the Ride 7 - and I'm up to my last pair with a little over 100 miles on them. I got fitted for the Ride 10 and purchased them for fall marathon season, and they are just "OK." I get arch pain every once in a while, and had pain/numb leg during my last marathon, which I'm unsure if to attribute to the shoes or...??? In any event, I need to go back to the running store and try out some new brands and models again. But man, was that a love affair with the Ride 7!

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  20. You have had a lot of pretty running shoes - love your current Brooks. I have always been a Saucony girl - tried to switch once and it didn't go so well! :P

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  21. I have tried many but once I found my Nikes, I've stuck with them. They're not perfect but who knows if there really is a perfect shoe.

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  22. I know a lot of people who swear by Brooks. I've been really loving my Mizuno Wave Riders 21s, and I've also had good experiences with Reebok, Asics, Ryka and Adidas. I guess I'm not too picky haha.

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  23. I'm still struggling to find shoes that are right for me. One of these days!!

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  24. I've been a Nike girl 90% of my running career - I've tried to like other shoes and just can't!

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