Oh, for the love of shoes.
Well, not just any shoes. We're talking running shoes here. I've worn many in the past (almost) 16 years of lacing up. Some have been good. Some have been duds. And some have been nothing short of total perfection.
I'm a proud sentimentalist, and I don't easily part with cherished pieces. That goes for greeting cards, thank you notes, past training logs and an occasional art piece from our (grown) kids' (childhood) art classes. And, my running shoes are no exception.
Maybe that's why I had to put an expandable shoe rack under my bathroom counter to house some of my retired running shoes. I kid you not.
Anyways, here's a few things I believe these favorite shoes would have to say...
Mizuno Wave Inspire 8's - "Let's run your first (and second) marathon!"
Hands-down, my most favorite shoe of all time would be the Mizuno Wave Inspire 8. These babies entered my life when I was training for the 2013 Quad Cities Marathon (race recap HERE). They fit my feet like they'd been custom-made for me. In fact, they were such a perfect shoe, I wore the exact same pair of them for my second marathon, the 2014 IMT Des Moines Marathon (race recap HERE). While they are long past their prime for any running miles, I do sneak in a walk with them on occasion. I just cannot let them go.
Brooks Adrenaline 15's - "I got you."
During the early summer of 2015, I had my first bout with plantar fasciitis. Thankfully, this was very short-lived, but was quite painful the 2-3 weeks that I had to deal with it. I had retired the Mizuno Wave Inspire 8's, and moved on to the WI 10's, but they never quite felt as good as their predecessors. On a whim, my shoe store gal recommended the Brooks Adrenalines, and it was love-at-first-fitting. These truly were the first running shoe that felt great right out of the box. I even got a second pair, a few months later, in a different color.
Brooks Ravenna 7's - "Let's run fast!"
After working through both pairs of the Adrenaline 15's, as well as two pairs of the 16's, a Brooks rep recommended the Ravenna to me (at the 2016 Route 66 Marathon expo). Also a support/stability shoe, it was lighter and offered a little more flexibility. I thought, "Why not?" This shoe quickly became a favorite for short runs (anything up to 5ish miles). I wore the Ravenna 7's for the 2019 Grand Blue Mile (race recap HERE) and set a nice 1-mile PR, and landed a 4th place AG (from a field of 73 other "old gals").
Mizuno Wave Inspire 13's - "I'll be waiting for you while your knee heals."
The Adrenalines were still working well for me, though the subsequent models (the 16's and 17's) had been tweaked a bit. I didn't love them quite as much as the 15's, so I opted to go back to the Mizuno WI's in the spring of 2017...and these felt a lot like the beloved 8's had felt, a few years prior! Unfortunately, a couple months later, I had emergency knee surgery, and was ordered to a 3-month running sabbatical. Alas, the new WI-13's were sequestered to the closet for a few months. When I was released to run again, we picked up from where we left off...and, a couple months later, we ran the Las Vegas Rock'n Roll Half Marathon (race recap HERE). Talk about a valued rally-back shoe!
Brooks Ravenna 11's - "Let's face 2021 head-on!"
A Black Friday purchase, the Ravenna-11's were waiting on my door step a couple days later. Having had a great experience with the Ravenna-7's, I was willing to give the 11's a try (besides, their BF price was too good to pass up). So far, so great! They were a key part of my winter run streak, and are in a permanent rotation for my short runs.
Needless to say, the bond between a runner and their shoe(s) is pretty strong (or is that just me?). After all, we log many miles together, in all kinds of weather, over all kinds of terrain. Even after their glory days of long runs/races are over, many still see some action for very short runs, walks, or even biking.
That's my story.
Have you ever held on to a favorite pair of running shoes? Ever transitioned them to "general" all-purpose shoes after their running days have ended? Do you stay loyal to one brand, or have you jumped back and forth between a couple favorites?
Oh, I know what you mean, Kim. I'm not good at throwing away running shoes.ReplyDelete
I try to use them as long as possible as "everyday" shoes until I finally have to say goodbye to them in true Mari Kondo fashion.
I'm a big Asics fan but I really need to try the Mizunos one day. Thanks for the review!
...and I have never tried Asics LOL It's really tough to keep an open mind to other brands when one brand (or, in my case, two) have worked so well.Delete
I still have my first pair of "real" running shoes. They were Saucony that I ordered on a whim b/c I'd heard of the brand and they were cheap. So 100% not the way to buy shoes but they were wonderful and we had many wonderful miles together and today they're in the trunk of my car in case I need sneakers when I'm out an about. After that a running store matched me up with Brooks Launch and that's where my loyalty has stayed. This year's model is supposed to have a lot of improvements so I'm very excited to try them out.ReplyDelete
I have thought of revisiting Saucony shoes. A shoe guy (in a different store than I usually go to) tried putting me in a neutral shoe (I cannot remember the name of the model). It was a bad fit because I typically need stability/support, but I trusted him LOL. I know it was the model, and not the brand, but I never went back and I gave the shoes to my mom. I've had great luck with Brooks, and Mizuno (for the most part). Both brands tweak the models a bit each year, so I seem to be on an alternate-year rotation at the moment between the two companies ;-)Delete
One of my favorites is the Brooks Launch 2. Those fit just perfect. But you know how companies just love to "make improvements" and the rest are not the same. Sure, some were great but others not that good. But I have also heard that the ones that were just released are even better. We'll see.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately, I know all too well about the "improvements" every year. My feet have really high arches, and a over-pronate something terrible, so I can feel every so-called improvement made. Sometimes, it's not a drastic change, but other times it's a no-go.Delete
This is really interesting - I've been using Brooks Adrenaline 19 and was thinking of trying another Brooks shoe for shorter distances as I currently use the Adrenalines for everything and then they wear down so much faster. From your review, it looks like the Ravennas could serve that purpose! I'd have to order them online so just a quick question - do you use the same size for the Adrenalines and the Ravennas?ReplyDelete
The Ravennas have worked well for me, but I only use them for the shorter runs because they don't have as much support as the Adrenalines. My experience is that the two pairs of Ravennas I have seem to run a bit "long" on size. I also have pretty narrow feet, so I prefer a 1/2 size smaller in the Ravennas than with my Adrenalines.Delete
Thanks so much for this info Kim!Delete
This is such a fun post, Kim!ReplyDelete
No, I easily donate old shoes. Never hold on to them for sentimental reasons. I will transition them to screw shoes for winter, and also for walking once their running days are over.
The only item of clothing I've ever saved is the jeans I used to wear before I lost 40 lbs. :)
I have gotten in the habit of reserving my "newer" shoes for the long runs and rotating the past few pairs of "seasoned" shoes for the short runs. That said, I have a surplus of shoes, but all are still in decent condition.Delete
I donate a lot of my shoes but I do hold on to one of each - so I wear Topos now but I have one Mizuno, one Brooks, one Nike, one Hoka. lolReplyDelete
My feet are always a problem yet they are the most important part of your body as a runner.
I agree, our feet are pretty important! They need to be happy or their owner won't be LOLDelete
My first running shoe was Nike but found them to be too narrow so switched to Saucony. I’ve been wearing Saucony for years and the pair I have now are so comfortable I want to buy another pair in a different color. I save two or three pairs to switch off with and a couple pairs of trail shoes but for the most part I donate or toss old shoes. I only wear my running shoes for running or walking the dog.ReplyDelete
I started in Nike (Structure?), but after that first Mizuno shoe, I never went back. I rotate my shoes for different runs (long/short/speed), but never wear them as street shoes (except for walking, and I use the older shoes for that).Delete
You know all about my love for the Wave Inspires. They carried me through my first marathon but unfortunately I had to break up with them lol. I like to think they would have told me "Nice job, we'll miss you". I've been loving the Brooks GTS Adrenaline since 2019 - they are my new friends :) I normally drop off my old sneakers at my local DSW. They collect them for Soles4Souls.ReplyDelete
I think we went through the Mizuno-Brooks transition(s) around the same time (#twinning again LOL). If we had a local place that took donations, I'd be more inclined to keep fewer of the older shoes on hand. I have noticed, though, that it seems like every-other updated model feels good on me...like Mizuno and Brooks have this alternate-year plan of action for me.Delete
What a fun post! I love it and yes our shoes are such an important part of our training as runners. Thanks for linking up!ReplyDelete
Our shoes are everything ;-) Speaking of which, I'm due for a new pair of distance shoes...soon.Delete
This was fun to read, and I went back and read some of your race recaps as well (I LOVE race recaps!) I'll usually stay loyal to a shoe for a while, but then eventually switch things up. I'm always on the lookout for shoes with really wide toe boxes, which is an issue for me with most shoes.ReplyDelete
And I have very narrow feet; often times the toe box is uncomfortably too wide on me LOL Thankfully, the Brooks and Mizuno shoes have been a great fit for me.Delete
These are all of my favorites! I would be interested in trying Wave Inspires again, but for right now, give me allll the Adrenalines!ReplyDelete
My old shoes always do a spell as hike/yard/errands shoes, and then they get retired for good.
The Adrenalines have really been good to me, too ;-) I'm about due for some new "distance" shoes, so I might try both the Adrenalines vs. Wave Inspires....Delete
Those Mizunos are cute. And they have a lot of good memories. I save my shoes for a while, but I only have 2 past pairs of shoes for knocking around in. The color I tend to save is pink!ReplyDelete
Congrats on your 4th place mile finish. And you are definitely are not an "old gal"!
My hubby is a Brooks guy, but I always run in Nikes.
I ran in Nikeys when I first started running, and loved them. That was until the Mizunos stole my heart LOLDelete
I've tried a few other brands besides Brooks but always go back to them. I wore the Adrenalines when I started running. I don't think I've ever tried Mizunos!ReplyDelete
To me, the Mizuno Wave Inspires and Brooks Adrenalines feel very similar, but both brands keep tweaking & "improving" them every year, so I've done a little hopping back and forth.Delete
What a fun way to look back :) Like Lisa said, I've tried a few brands but Brooks has served me so well. I've been meaning to try a pair of Ravennas to compliment my Adrenalines. I know what you mean about being sentimental about shoes - I may never part with the pair from my marathon ;)ReplyDelete
Brooks have really been quite kind to me as well. There are a few tweaks, though, that I've had to live with, but they haven't been deal breakers.Delete
It's interesting to think about! I've had so many different brands but for a while I loved the Adidas Supernova, then I was hooked on the Mizuno Wave Rider. I held onto my pair that took me through my first marathon for a really long time! They tweaked the Wave Riders and then I went to Brooks Ghosts. Those were working great, then the next model I didn't enjoy so much. I really need to start buying multiples of the shoe that I like best!ReplyDelete
I've noticed with Brooks, at least the Adrenalines, every-other year seems to fit me best LOL Luckily, I've also noticed that seems to be true with the Mizuno Wave Inspires. So, when I haven't stock-piled the "current" season's shoe (of either brand), I am able to switch to the other brand.Delete
I keep old shoes as walking/yard work/strength training shoes. I love my Saucony Freedoms. I used to be a die-hard Kinvara fan but they changed and my feet changed, so now I'm experimenting with some other options.ReplyDelete
This was fun! I track the mileage on my running shoes and when the time comes I toss them in the wash and use them for casual and work. Unless they look a little too well-loved.ReplyDelete