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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Newton's Law - My Personal Search for the Perfect Running Shoe

The name of my blog is not by accident. I have friends that will get angry at me for categorizing myself as "fat", and while I am lighter than I have been in the past, I am still well over my ideal weight. I still need to lose 40-50 pounds. Something that has proven harder that I thought it would be with as much activity as I now do. That being said there is a certain disadvantage to being heavy and training as much and for the events that I do. Especially during the run. I had discussed this exact issue in another post, but suffice to say that the pounding knees and ankles take with 245 pounds banging on them can be .... painful.

So the search has been on since I started this journey to find a good, comfortable running shoes that can somewhat absorb the punishment, allow for a decent pace, and result in my being able to walk after whatever long distance event I was participating in.

And it hasn't been easy .... 

There are more than a few of my readers that have expressed interest in my recent use of Newton's, which has been up and down at best, so I thought I would post about each of the shoes I have used over the past two years, and try to score them to see what I have had the most luck with. Let me start out by saying that this is MY experience with these specific shoes and in no way should be construed as an endorsement or condemnation of any of them. Please try them for yourself before making a judgement call.

My scoring methodology is this:

Race = (1) No Race (2) Raced but not comfortable (3) Raced and comfortable
Stability, Weight, Comfort = 1-5 with 5 being the best
Perfect Score = 18

Saucony
I almost didn't put this pair on the list because it was the pair I owned when I started and they were not new. I only add them to stat that I used them for YEARS in my previous dalliance into running when I lived in Sanford and I had constant shin splint issue. These returned when I started up again and a running store advised against them because of the lack of support and cushion. I have to agree. 
Race = 1, Stability = 2, Weight = 4, Comfort = 3
Total Score = 10

Asics Kayano
I fell in love with this shoe immediately and actually have owned two pairs to this point. I have gone away from them here and there to mix it up and try something new, but usually end up back with them eventually. They break down for me rather quickly, so I have to replace them after 200 or so miles, but when they are good they are really good.
Race = 3, Stability = 4, Weight = 3, Comfort = 4
Total Score = 14

Brooks Adrenalines 
Pretty comparable to the Asics pair I have used and performed well during the Disney Marathon. Very sore feet after the race but probably as much due to me and my poor running than the shoe itself.
Race = 3, Stability = 4, Weight = 3, Comfort = 3
Total Store = 13

Nike Stability
I went to these shoes more for comfort and feel than for anything else. I have worn them through one race and the Augusta 70.3 and they performed well. They are HEAVY though and think it may be part of the reason for my pace dropping off recently. I will add that after the race or long runs my feet don't nearly ache as much when wearing these, and I have been able to wear them without socks, which is nice. It's been a good shoe, but I need something with the same feel, but not as heavy.
Race = 3, Stability = 4, Weight = 1, Comfort = 4
Total Score = 12

Newtons
OK. I was talked into these sort of by Jennifer and by the way others rave about this shoe. Right from the start it felt weird to me, but I was assured that if I stuck with them I would get used to it and would love them. Using the issue I had with the ISM saddle as a template (I hated it at first and now can't ride without them) I went ahead and got them. The first run was awful. Back hurt. Calf's hurt. Shins hurt. I tried them a couple of more times but then figured I was just too heavy and put them aside. After having a conversation with the Newton rep during Augusta, who told me that I should wear them just walking around to get the feel of them, then try again, I followed his advise, then two weeks ago tried them on a 9 mile Team in Training run. They actually felt really good. I pulled a blister which I attributed more to the socks, so was feeling good about them. Coach Lyle noticed I was wearing them and asked how I liked them. After telling him I felt pretty good he said "give it a couple of days and see how you feel". Boy was he right. By Tuesday my calf's were like rocks and my upper ankles hurt. I tried one more run, but had same results. I am sure they are great for some, but not for me.
Race = 1, Stability = 2, Weight = 5, Comfort = 2
Total Score = 10

So where does this leave me? The Asics and Brooks are the obvious choice, but they are not perfect. I need a mix of the sturdiness and comfort of the Nike with the lightness and feel of the Asics, so the search continue.

I didn't mention the Asics Noosa's that I also own, but I in no way could use them running, and just use them has a walking around shoe, so really wouldn't be fair to rate them along side these others.

Plus ... I got a pair of Zoot's today. Internal sock so can go barefoot ... really hugs the foot.

We will see how this does tomorrow.