It is my pleasure to introduce you to my friend Louise. While we haven't met in person yet, I still consider her a friend. We've had many great conversations on facebook, emails, and in texts. Someday (soon, I hope!) we'll meet! She blogs over at Runners Ramblings. I encourage you to visit her blog and show her some love. This woman is an inspiration. Jen has graciously asked me to do a guest post here on Running With The Girls, and I was happy to oblige. After careful thought I decided to write what I am passionate about! Running Shoes! :) Shoes. Everyone needs them. Everyone wears them. Some of us are totally addicted to them. I, on the other hand, only have an addiction for the running kind. (Though if you ask my husband, his reply will differ from mine!) This started a year ago, January 2012, when I was researching running shoes. I wanted to do lots of reading to find out what would work best for me, since I was just starting out running, and have had a tendon repair in my right ankle. First place I found was the website by Pete Larson. RunBlogger. He does running shoe reviews, and is very thorough and candid about his likes and dislikes. I think he has run in just about all brands. He prefers minimalist shoes, and that was where I found myself being led. I did my research and found that he brought up many good points and backed them up with documentation, that running barefoot or pretty close to it, (minimalist) is the best way to go. I even took a trip down to Concord NH last summer to a running clinic co-hosted with Dr Brett Coapland. Hearing them speak about good form and proper gait, just reinforced that I was doing the right thing and had made the right choices. They also video taped me running in slow motion so that I could critique myself to avoid injury. My first pair of minimalist shoes that I bought were the Vibram Fivefinger KomodoSport LS's. I loved the look of the toes, especially with the neon green in-between them. I found however, that going from a regular running shoe like the Asics, to a completely flat shoe, is indeed not a good idea. There has to be a step down process to get from a higher shoe, to a completely flat one.
My research led me to the Saucony website. The Kinvara 2, was a 4mm drop shoe. The "drop" is the difference between the height at the toes and the height at the heel. I actually fell in love with the shoe and bought 3 different pairs of them, each in a different color. (Gotta match my outfits, lol). Saucony has since come out with the Kinvara 3 and most recently the 4. They have made a good thing even better! These are my go to shoes when I'm running trails in the summer.
Last summer I was chosen to take part in the Mezamashii Run Project by Mizuno. Knowing that I wanted to work my way to a flatter and lighter shoe, I picked the Wave Universe 4, the lightest ones they offered. I fell in love with those shoes and they quickly became my all time favorites. Of course, I couldn't have just one pair, so I got myself another one later in the summer, and I use these when running the roads. I find that when I run in the forest, the rocks hurt my feet, so I prefer something with a bit more cushion.
My regular blog readers know that I lost my father to cancer last June. My running was my escape and my way to release the stress of losing my dad and having to be the representative of his estate. I wrote many times about that, and a representative at Mizuno liked what she saw and contacted me. Before I knew it, I had been sent a complete running outfit for winters in Maine. I didn't have any warm running clothes, so she took care of that issue. I am so grateful to her! After looking around at all the different shoes that Mizuno has, I got myself a pair of Wave Rider 16's. These are a regular running shoe, similar to Asics in weight. I found that I liked them a lot but if I run in them farther than 2 miles, they make my ankle start to hurt. I have found though, that I can wear them to work all day without issue, so they are becoming a main staple for walks outside and for work.
A good friend of mine got a pair of Wave Ascend 6's Trail shoes via the Run Project. As much as she tried to fall in love with them, they bothered her feet too much. She offered them to me as we wear almost the exact same size. Not knowing if they would work or not, I agreed to try them out, and I fell in love with them for winter running. They have a very rugged sole that keeps good traction, so I am very happy with them.
Most recently my favorite Mizuno representative sent me a courtesy pair of the brand new Ekidens that have just come out this month. These would be the next step up in minimalist shoes from the Wave Universe 4's. I have these to blog and review. I can't wait to run in them! I am on a one month hiatus from running, due to a surgery I had over the christmas holiday. I am counting the weeks days till I can put these sweet babies on and go running! Here they are, when I just opened the box and was drooling over them... I did get on the treadmill today for a 4 mile walk, and they performed just perfectly. I think these are going to be a big favorite of mine for racing this summer.
This summer I have signed up for a 15K, and a Half Marathon, so these will be my go-to shoe if they are as good as the Wave Universe are. :) The last thing I have to say about my shoes, is that I take very good care of them. I keep them all together in their boxes, and I stagger their use so that no one pair gets used all the time. I prefer to keep them in their boxes, and clean. Yes, I know that is a bit anal, but so be it! ;)
Here is the full stash. The brown ones in the upper left are GoLite's. They are a trail shoe, but I wear them as my winter boots and at work. Very comfortable! The pink ones next to them are the Therafitshoes, designed by Dr Lisa of The Doctors Show on TV. Nice everyday shoes and I love the pink color!
Take care of your running shoes. They are an investment and when cared for properly they will last longer and you will have a little less chance for injury. Enjoy your running!