Friday, April 8

Mama's Magic Running Shoes

My friend Kate asked an excellent question on her last post about minimalist shoes and barefoot running. I went to reply to her post when I realized it would be embarrassingly looooong. So I decided to post about my recent experience with minimalist shoes here. 

Right before my last half I NEEDED new shoes and since I had been looking into this whole minimalist thing I decided I would order an extra pair of shoes (a pair of minimalist) along with my normal Asics. I figured since running warehouse offers free shipping I would just send them back if I didn’t like them. After looking into my options I decided on the Saucony Kinvara, a minimalist shoe for the neutral runner. When my shoes arrived, the Asics I normally wear had a different lacing system and it was very uncomfortable. When I put on the Sauconys I immediately noticed how light they felt in comparison to my Asics. It felt like I was wearing nothing! How could a few ounces make such a difference? I couldn’t wait to try running in them. The first time I ran in them I was hooked! I had to make myself slow down! They changed the way my foot struck the ground and I was actually running faster. Yes! the shoes made me faster! I started calling them mama’s magic running shoes. BUT, I could feel every nook and cranny on the street. After about a week of running in them my legs were feeling a bit beat-up. I could tell they were not giving my feet or legs the cushioning I needed. I started to experience pain in areas I had not hurt in a long while. Problem was I was running out of time to find a new pair of regular running shoes and I LOVED THESES SHOES! Fast-forward…after trying numerous pairs of shoes to replace my Asics, I had no choice but to run in them for my last ½, but my legs felt pretty beat-up toward the end. Since the 1/2 I have been looking into finding a new daily trainer and have found the Brooks Ghost to be a good replacement for my Asics. The only problem is when I put on the Brooks shoes they feel like lead weights now. I also notice the tendency to heel strike in the Brooks. The Sauconys promote a more mid foot strike. So what’s my conclusion…I think for injury sake and training I am sticking with my Brooks. When I drop some weight I plan to give the Sauconys another try and see how my legs feel. I love the more natural stride the minimalist shoe promotes, and I truly believe this causes me to run faster. I’m hooked on the minimalist shoes but my legs tell a different story.

Just an added note here; with my new found love for the minimalist shoe I also tried the Brooks Launch which offers a tad more cushioning. I never ran in them because they were so narrow and hurt just to put on. If these come in a wide I may give them another try later on down the road.

I would love to know your thoughts…have you tried minimalist shoes? Do you recommend them?


Kate said...

ooooo wow! so good to know all of this! which asics do/did you use? i use the nimbus model. LOTS of cushion compared to the 2100 versions i used to use. but i'm oh so curious as to how i'll do in a minimalist shoe. i have read in a few forums that when switching over to a minimalist shoe, it has to be slow and gradual. so i'm trying to find out more about that approach as well.
thanks for sharing this terri!

Black Knight said...

I have never tried minimalist shoes and I think I cannot wear them. After the incident I need more cushion: my present shoes are Asics Gel Cumulus 12 (training) and Nike Air Waffle (race).

Much Ado said...

I can't tell you how much this post made me smile. Whenever we got new running shoes (as kids), my dad always asked us jokingly "do they make you run fast?" and we always said "yes!" :).

You have really piqued my interest on the whole idea of Minimalist shoes!

Meg said...

Hi Terri!
I have one pair of minimalists flats which I wear for speed work but I was just told NOT to wear them for the marathon. I need the stability for my foot. I think they work for some and not for others but those that can wear them are fortunate, they are SO light!!

Terri said...

Kate the Asics I have been wearing for the past few years are the Gel Cumulus 12, just like Black Knight:) But the new Cumulus (13 I think they called it) had an A-symmetrical lace that bothered the top of my foot. I could've ordered the 12's again but I thought why bother if they discontinue them...I'm okay with the Brooks for now but boy do they feel heavy after wearing the Sauconys for a couple of weeks.

I agree with caution on the minimalist shoes, especially if you have had a serious or chronic injury. I have not had either so I think I dodged a bullet there. I don't think it would be wise to run anything over the 1/2 distance in them or to train in them daily.

Small Town Runner said...

Informative post here...
I am definitely looking to go lighter. I agree with meg, that if you need stability, better to go heavier and have that in the shoe. A performance trainer is a great option for more cushioning, but a lighter shoe than the heavy mileage type.

My calves are taking some adjusting just going from the normal trainer to a lighter performance trainer...a little at a time.

It is a GREAT looking shoe!!