Friday, March 21, 2014

My Running Shoe Program

I'm a big believer that you need to have a couple different shoes in your closet all the time for your running needs. For me I do this for three reasons.

  1. I'm wear testing a shoe
  2. I want a particular feel on a particular run
  3. My mood dictates
The end result is a variety in my running which is always good. It's what keeps the legs and the head fresh. 

First up is the Zoot Solana. A new shew for this July. My goal here is to run in it until it dies. I've had it since early December and it has been my main shoe. Still going strong. The midsole is injected EVA with a constant ground contact. Incredibly smooth and quiet. The upper is a running shoe upper. Great Heel fit, ample room in the midfoot that I can lock my skinny foot down and room in the forefoot to breath. I humbly think it's the best shoe I've made while working for a brand. There was one quite close to this at adidas and if the Solana can come anywhere close to that shoe in sales I might get a raise. 

 I may do one or two sessions a week of speed work depending on the week. I'll usually do it in the Kiawe 2.0. It's firm, low to the ground and fits tight. You can see the constant ground contact in this Photo. I like it also because it has our carbon fiber piece in the midfoot. That little extra snap at toe off feels great thanks to the carbon fiber.
When my legs are hurting or I'm going long on the roads it's the Kalani 3.0. This shoe just feels like butter on the feet. Soft, smooth and with a little kick in it. I keep it on the roads because of the massive (for me) midsole under my foot and the upper is not very stable for off road. I never have a bad run in this shoe. It's that simple. 
 I also run once or twice a week in other brands. I have some favorites and I have some shoes I simply want to test. I picked up the new Newton Motion with their 5 Lug design last week. I think the new Lug design is way better than the older 4 lugs. I personally can run in any shoe with no issues. That's not so for runners who don't have the leg strength or form that I have. I'm afraid the new shoes may be even harder to adjust to than the previous versions. I say that because their new midsole is super soft which only puts you deeper into negative when your heel touches and your heel will touch, it always does on every runner. I do think the upper and the fit is dramatically better.

 When I was a young runner it was Nike all the time. I swore by the Pegasus. Then they stopped making it and I worked with Mizuno on the Wave Rider and my life was good again. The issue is the Wave Rider today is not one of my favorite shoes. I feel the balance is off and personally I can feel it when I run. But hey that's me. So my new go to other brand shoe is the Pegasus again. I like it's simplicity and Nike always fit my foot well. Usually if it fits my foot well it's not good for all the other runners in the market. Which brings me back to Zoot. I specifically try to build shoes that don't fit me.
 I've tried the Hoka Conquest. I love the design and manufacturing of this shoe. I so much wanted it to work for me but it doesn't. The Hoka Bondi was not too bad but this Conquest is terrible for me. It's too stiff, and if a shoe is stiff it better roll and this one doesn't for me, it's flat. Remember fit for me is critical. I'll adjust fit on any shoe with socks but I can't seem to find the sock that creates the best fit. So this shoe sits on my desk as an example of beautiful shoe making.
If a brand is spending a large amount of money to launch a shoe I'm buying it. I buy with the anticipation of the kid I was doing the same thing. I had to have the Nike Air Max when it came out. I had to try the Asics flat with the split tongue. So on launch day I went to the local running store and bought the Brooks Transcend. Now I'm not the target runner for this shoe. I'm too light, too leg strong and my form is too good. But I can run in anything and it's with that knowledge that I anticipate great runs in new shoes. I was bummed when I ran in it. The shoe did not meet my expectations for value and function. Too bad for me but I can see where it will probably work for large group of runners. So instead of running in it any more we cut the shoe to pieces to see how it's made. 

I get to do all this because it's my job. But that should not stop you from being smart about your running. Have a couple different shoes in your closet. Decide which to run in based on  criteria 2 - 3  above and your legs and head will thank you. 

It's a good life....
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