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The Running Shoe Dilemma

the_running_show_dilemma_picEver find yourself needing a new pair of running kicks? Are just starting out running and don’t know where to begin? While the internet can be an amazing resource, at times like these it can make things even more confusing. If you google “Running Shoe” you get 40,200,000 results in less than half a second. With all the running shoes out there claiming to make you run faster and longer, along with claims on being the “ultimate running shoe,” it can seem a bit overwhelming.

I’ve tried running in a lot of shoes; Nike Dual Fusion ST 2, Brooks Racer ST 5, Spira Stinger XTL, Nike Free Run 3.0, the list goes on and on. When it all comes down to it I really recommend hitting up your local running store and getting fitted for some shoes. Your feet, ankles, and knees will thank you for investing time and money into this venture. Your running shoe is definitely not something, in my opinion, that you should go into uneducated.

nike_free_run_3.0_picI originally started this year out in some Nike Free Run’s, loving the flexibility of the shoe. I’m famous for walking around barefoot so a minimalist shoe is usually what I’m looking for. The Nike Free Run 3.0 are recommended for runners who are looking for a shoe that offers minimalism, flexibility, and a lightweight build. This shoe is also recommended for trail running.

I used this shoe from the trails to the treadmills and probably definitely wore them out past their life span. I was originally very happy with this shoe. It was nice and lightweight and it felt great on the road runs I started them off on. My road runs moved inside to the treadmill where the shoe continued to do a great job. I really loved this shoe until an 11 mile race I had this past March. The race was uphill a lot and half of it was through the woods on trails. The shoe did a good job of getting me through my run; it was afterwards that was a killer! That evening and the day after that run I couldn’t even walk—literally—at all. The third day I was limping around and it took a good 2–3 weeks before I was back to 100%. I really felt like I had broken my foot, but I knew this wasn’t possible.

Now I know lots of people love this shoe, but after some research I found out why it wasn’t for me. I don’t need a minimalist and flexible shoe. Being uneducated I didn’t realize that I underpronate when I run and I needed a supportive shoe. Now I am not saying that the Nike Free Runs are not a good shoe; they just didn’t work well for me for distances above 3–4 miles.

nike_dual_fusion_ST-2_imageAfter that race the Free Runs gave way to the Nike Dual Fusion ST 2; my favorite Nike’s to this point. I ran many treadmill miles in those shoes and found them to be great and supportive. I had to replace these shoes just for the sheer fact that I had maxed out the mileage on them and needed some new ones. I definitely recommend this shoe if you want a nice, supportive shoe that will carry you for miles.

After many weeks of searching and talking to several people, I decided that my next shoe would be Brooks brand. I didn’t know which one I wanted, but I knew I wanted to try these shoes. I went online to check them out and I really love the Brooks website! It has this great tool you can use to help figure out what shoe you should try based off of either your current running shoe, or by answering a few questions about your running time, location, etc. and getting a suggestion on which Brooks you should try.

brooks_racer_ST_5_picI ended up with the Brooks Racer ST 5. These were reasonably priced running shoes and by signing up on the website prior to purchasing I received free expedited shipping! How cool is that?!? I have had several runs, long and short, with these shoes and I am in love! They have helped me increase my running time and endurance, and I know I will be purchasing another pair prior to my marathon. The website describes the shoe as follows: “Minimalists delight in the Racer ST 5, with just the right touch of support. The shoe is super lightweight for racing—from a 5K to a marathon—but has the substance and durability required for tempo runs and training. With an upgrade to the resilient, long-lasting cushioning of BioMoGo, your feet will stay protected and your legs fresh, mile after mile.” They only come in men’s sizing, but they have a unisex look to them. The description really does say it all. The shoe is a minimalist shoe, which I love, but it’s also got the right amount of support to keep my legs happy for my whole run.

spira_stinger_XTL_picMost recently I received a complimentary pair of Spira Stinger XTL. I had never heard of this company before, but based off of the website they looked like they might have some good shoes. The company boosts their Spira DNA WaveSpring technology in their shoe. Basically the shoes have multiple springs in them to help absorb impact and keep your legs good for many miles.

I did a quick 3 mile run on the treadmill in these and I can tell you that my ankle was not happy by the end of it. I’m not sure if this shoe needs to be broken in more or maybe just isn’t good on the treadmill because of the springs; I’m not entirely sure. I’m looking forward to walking in them to break them in some and hoping that will help. I really was surprised at how light the shoe was; especially when you see how much is put into it. I loved the little bounce in my step when I started my run and I really have my fingers crossed that I can use these to help in my marathon training, but at this point I’m still on the fence about them.

In closing I just want to reiterate please DO NOT go into buying running shoes without educating yourself on them first! Check out reviews, shop around. These shoes can be expensive so you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Your legs will thank you!

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