I ran Sunday which was exciting for two reasons. First, normally I don't run on Sunday's but it was just too pretty out not to waste the sun on some workout DVD in the garage. And the second is that I got new shoes so I had to go try them out! Whoohoo.
I'm not entire sure yet how all this will work out but for four easy miles, it worked.
So I've run in Nike Frees right from the beginning of my running career (1.5 years as of now !!). Before I started running (and sort of why I started running) I was doing a lot of walking/hiking training for the 21 Miler that is a part of the Big Sur International Marathon. When we finally worked up to hiking about 10 mile or so my feet just gave out on me. They hurt, get blisters and were plain miserable. It was then that I discovered two things -- body glide around my toes and balls of my feet and Frees.
The Frees were a godsend. My feet thanked me and I walked 21 miles pain and blister free.
So it was a natural that when I started running, I'd just run in what was already on my feet. It has worked out fine, leaving one to wonder why I was messing with something that wasn't a problem. Well, first off, back at Disneyland (and the longs runs since) I started getting blisters (!!) and my feet would hurt like crazy. This was a bit surprising and painful so I thought maybe it was time to switch shoes and began reading around on different shoes. I love Runblogger and all his shoe reviews so I spent a fair amount of time looking through his archives. His shoe recommendation that was most similar to the Frees was the Saucony Kinvara so I figured I might try those. Almost bought some online but didn't.
Last Saturday evening I went by a RoadRunner store to pick up some Gu and Nuun and thought heck, lets try on some Kinvara's if they have them (and they did!). But first I mentioned to the sales guy about how I'd run in Frees for a year and a half and was good about replacing them but suddenly there were blisters. He asked if I'd changed my socks. Funny thing is, that thought had occurred to me earlier in the day...maybe it was just a sock issue (and the answer was no - the socks I were using were a year and a half old!). I've yet to test this theory out but will later this week.
Anyway (geeze this is a lot of detail about how I ended up with above shoes) I tried on the Kinvara's and they were squishy squishy squishy which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Then I saw the NB Minimus pictured above. I couldn't remember Runblogger's take on them but they looked cool so I decided to try them on (yeah I know). I liked them immediately -- totally different feel than either the Kinvara's or the Frees (and the nice sales guys indulged me by bringing out a pair of Frees I could try on with both these and the Kinvaras to note the difference). I went back and forth and back and forth and ended up with these.
These are very firm shoes so the verdict it out on how much I'm going to like running with them long term. The sales guy cautioned me to go slowly with them even though I'd been running with Frees and the heel curves up (my term) and it will force a midfoot strike that I may not be used to. Or, if I were to heel strike I'd feel it more. I don't really know how I strike -- I can't tell and really need to get someone out to video me.
So on Sunday I took them out for a 4 mile easy run spin. It definitely changed my gait a bit and I heard myself running. Normally I'm a fairly quiet runner but not in these baby's so maybe it is how my feet are hitting the ground. But I wasn't sore at all when I was done so that was good. I then used them this morning for a (failed) interval session (it wasn't a fail because of the shoes). It ended up only being a 4 mile session -- but again no pain but awfully noisy running. My feet felt this run a bit as well (which I thought was weird because I was on a soft track so I'm not making any determinations at all).
Thing is -- even if they don't end up being running shoes, they are definitely comfortable walking around shoes. My feel love them when I'm not running and they've been on all morning (work at home day, yay!). At this point, I'll keep to the Frees for the long run and probably the tempo runs (to make sure my blister problem is a sock one) and then run the two halfs coming up in them. I'll probably use the Minimus for track work and some smaller runs just to see how they work out.
Tis all fun and games. I'll probably still end up with a pair of Kinvara's at some point.
It is kind of crazy me heading down the shoe path -- this could get expensive really quickly.