Athletes are a gimmicky bunch when it comes to their equipment and gear. And sometimes those athletes that have the least amount of equipment are the ones with the most peculiar habits and quirks.
Enter runners and their shoes.
Many runners find a model of shoes that they like, and won’t even think about trying a different brand or style.
Trying a different shoe for no good reason? Forget about it.
Why are Shoes So Special?
A great pair of shoes is the first layer of defense against injury for runners.
Sure, good form, proper training, and balanced musculature are all critical, but the wrong pair shoes can completely compromise your body’s ability to stay injury free.
Perhaps the biggest mistake people new to running make is buying a cheap pair of shoes to start their running program. The thought process is, why spend $100+ on a pair of shoes, when I’m not even sure how much I’m going to run or if I’ll even enjoy running. Many of these newbies wind up with shin splints, knee pain, hip pain, or plantar fasciitis in a few weeks.
A lot of veteran runners have already taken this trip down injury lane, and have learned the importance of a pair of shoes that is right for them. And while there isn’t any one type of shoe that is right for every runner, every runner has a shoe that is right for them.
And when that shoe is found, it becomes almost impossible to even consider a different option.
I’ve been around the block, or shoe store, a few times when it comes to what I have worn. Asics, New Balances, Nikes, Brooks.
Then I saw a commercial for a pair of shoes that may have changed my running life forever.
I had been toying with the idea of trying a minimalist shoe for awhile, and last year I decided to take the plunge by buying a pair of Altra Zero Drop shoes. I’ve never been one to buy clothes or shoes online, but for some reason I felt the need to take the leap of faith.
And boy, am I glad I did.
Not only have I logged an estimated 850-900 miles in them (more than I should have, I know), but I’ve also:
- Set new PRs in every race I wore them (2 Half Marathons, 3 5ks)
- Joined the local running club and running speed workouts and hill repeats
- Become a morning runner, running with the Pack for Tempo and Long runs.
- Stayed injury free (knock on wood)
And my one steady companion for all of these achievements, my Altra Zero Drop Instincts.
It’s Hard to Say Good-Bye
As ridiculous as it sounds, it’s been hard to retire my old, reliable running shoes. I’ve made a clean break, to a new pair of the same style of shoes, but it’s still tough getting used to the new pair.
The fit is the same and they are actually more comfortable since they aren’t completely worn out.
And they don’t stink. Yet.
But they just aren’t the same.
My new shoes are great. I’m not sure I’m fast enough to wear the flashy white shoes (the black ones were no longer available in my size), but maybe that’s a good thing.
Maybe me wearing white shoes will make me push myself even more, for more PRs in upcoming races.
And maybe 800 miles from now, I’ll have just as hard of a time retiring the new shoes as I have with the old ones.
But one thing is for sure, I’ve got a busy fall race schedule planned and these new shoes will be with me every step of the way.
I’ll let you know how we fair.
Are you a shoe brand loyalist, or do you just go with whatever is on sale? I’d love to hear from someone as crazy as I am about my shoes, so let me know in the comments!