So... about today... I bought a new pair of shoes.
Wait, did I say one pair of shoes? I mean two.
I don't know what's wrong with me. I can't control myself.
In my defense, I was planning to return one pair once I had a chance to walk around in them some more. As anyone could have told you would happen, my resolve has weakened considerably since I made that choice.
Let's start at the beginning.
I love, love, love the shoes I do 95% of my runs in. They are light, they aren't very cushioned, and I feel wicked fast when I wear them.
I trained for a marathon last year entirely in these shoes. The one time I ran in another pair, I got a stress fracture. In all fairness, I had just bought the shoes (another Merrell model) and stupidly ran a half marathon in them without properly breaking them in. My bad. I've run in the shoes a few times since that happened, but I just don't like them that much. So after a brief affair, I went crawling back to my Pace Gloves with promises of eternal love.
Anyway, these shoes got me through marathon training (or at least, up to 20 miles), and while I think they're excellent shoes and would recommend them to anyone, after about 15 miles things get kind of tough. After that much pavement pounding, the skin on my feet starts to ache. Not anything within the foot, just the skin. Imagine repeatedly slapping your bare hand against cement. For 3+ hours. After a while, your palm skin will feel like it's falling off.
This time around, I've decided to experiment with some different shoes. Ideally, they would be identical to my Pace Gloves, only slightly more cushioned. Unfortunately, this ideal doesn't seem to exist. I haven't been very happy with the other Merrells I've tried (*cough* stress fracture), and given all the ridiculous "technology" shoe companies feel obligated to spew all over their shoes, finding a nearly identical model from someone else isn't realistic. It seems I'll have to be content with a totally different shoe.
I hate myself for this, but a certain shoe company's incessant blog campaigning has been massively successful, and the "buy these shoes" message finally worked its way into my head after the umpteeth blogger raved about them. I swear I looked into other options, but I've just heard so many positive things about these shoes that I wasn't seriously considering anything else.
I was convinced I was going to try on the most "minimalist" offering and run out of there with it, but surprisingly when I first tried it on I kind of hated it. Maybe it's because I've been running in "less shoe" for the past two years, but I really dislike arch support. I'm not, like, morally opposed to it or anything; I just hate how it feels. Also, the shoes I was wearing when I hurt my foot had a significant arch bump. PTSD. This shoe's arch bump felt like it was going to poke me in the chin, so I was less than pleased.
Door number one. I really wish they had the other color. Pink + Jeano = puuuuuuke.
So I put these shoes on and wasn't really feeling it. So much for the quick trip I had envisioned. I proceeded to run the salesperson ragged, demanding that he bring me shoe after shoe after shoe and wait patiently as I tried each of them on multiple times. A good forty-five minutes later, I thought I was happiest with the feel of a slightly more cushioned model. The "bumpy" shoe is already so cushioned that the slight increase in cushioning is negligible to me. Most importantly, it doesn't have the pronounced arch bump the other shoe has.
Door number two.
You would think I would quit while I was ahead and PTFO... but I just couldn't.
I wasn't really able to run in either shoe (note to REI: get a treadmill for your shoe area), and from what I've read the experience of running in the bumpy shoe is very different from that of walking in them. It seems the bump isn't nearly as noticeable once you get moving. Plus, they feel like really fast shoes. I was obviously having a hard time letting go of the shoe I had been so certain I would buy, so like a breakup that just won't seem to take, I decided to give it another shot.
I've had a chance to try the shoes every which way (socks on, socks off, insoles in, insoles out). Conclusions? To me, both feel better sockless (although I think there is major potential for some bad blistering - the inside is nowhere near as seamless/smooth as Merrell's shoes) but with insoles. Sockless, they're both pretty rad. You wouldn't think it would make much of a difference, but it totally does with these shoes.
So what am I going to do? Who am I kidding: I'm probably keeping both pairs.
I was just shown this video and think you might enjoy it. Unless I'm the last person on the planet to watch this thing. Wouldn't surprise me.
Post-script: sorry for not using the shoes' real names. They kind of make me gag. It is next to impossible to say them out loud without rolling your eyes at yourself. If you want to ask what they're called, I'll suck it up and tell you. If you ask me about "pod technology," though, I'll probably punch you in the face.
Thanks for putting up with all this shoe rambling. But if I can't talk about it here, I REALLY can't talk about it anywhere, right?
- What do you run in? Have you tried this company before (I think we all know what company it is)? Are you a convert?
- Tell me about your terrible shoe-buying habit so I feel better. I swear, all my casual shoes are hideous and were given to me as gifts. I hate spending money on real shoes. Put some running shoes in front of me, though, and I'll buy it all.
- Watched any funny Youtube videos recently? Send 'em my way!