The Shoe Dilemma

So many shoes!

I’ve often told people that I could give Imelda Marcos a run for her money. She is the wife of former president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos most famously known for having over a thousand pairs of shoes. Over the years I’ve wear-tested countless pairs of shoes, many of which have ended up in the Goodwill pile and a few have made it into my personal collection… kind of like the row of bottles at a tavern showing you a visual sample of all their beers.

One thing I’ve learned through all these shoes is that there is not a single shoe made today that will fulfill all of my running needs. I love running in minimalist shoes, but I don’t like running downhill in them because they lack the necessary cushioning for faster downhill speeds. Then, I have to slow way down during my favorite part of the run. I can understand why many trail runners are switching to the new over-built, highly cushioned shoes. The problem with these is that your legs have to work harder because the extra cushioning dampens most of the energy return from the earth.

I love running in my racing flats for track workouts, but they’re really not good for trails or long runs. I like my zero-drop shoes but, again, I wish they had a bit more cushioning in the heels for all-out downhill running. My trail shoes have great traction, but they tend to be a bit heavy (and sometimes stiff) on my feet. For running marathons, I like a medium cushioned zero-drop, wide toe box, light weight shoe. Am I beginning to sound like the Princess and the Pea?

Given that many shoes are over a hundred dollars nowadays, this presents a dilemma. So, what I’ve done is to narrow my list down to three different shoes that, between them, can cover the gamut. Then, I use specific shoes for specific workouts. I can’t tell you exactly which shoes will work best for your specific workouts, you have to Body Sense that for yourself. But, I can say that having multiple options, more often than not, leaves my feet and legs much happier… and I think that’s the end-result all of us are after.


Posted in Gear

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