Yes, I admit I was a little nervous buying new runners.I have bought about 7 pairs of the same shoe over the last few years, and I love them. However, they have been discontinued, so its time to move on. Sob. I feel guilty, these shoes have been everywhere with me.
This pair are my lucky marathon shoes – they have run at least 10 marathons and have a lot of stories to tell. They have ran in South Africa, Japan, Montreal and all over Europe and have spend many a Saturday morning doing long runs around the Phoenix Park. They have heard me say ‘never again’ halfway through marathons and they have felt the buzz of the last minute sprint to the finish line of a race. They have been uphill and downhill. They have been my only companion in lonely ultramarathons and they have done countless lunges and squats at ForgetTheGym Classes. They have kept me blister free and pain free for far too long. I feel like I’m cheating on them by moving on. But the time has come. Its time for a change.
Time to move on
Coach Lorraine and I decided to brave it, avoid the tempation of buying a trendy looking pair online, and head to Amphibian King in Ashtown (Phoenix Park) for our running shoe upgrade. Kevin and Mark were there to help us. Beside all the lovely new shiny runners, my trusted asics looked tired, grey and a dare I say it, old. Naturally I was drawn towards Asics as a replacement – why change what works – but none of the Asics there were anyway close to the lightness and flexiblity and comfort of my own pair. On no, was I going to have to try a different brand ? For someone who has ran in the same shoes for so long, this could be as big as moving bank accounts! Ok, enough of the drama, time to work out whats best for me.
Step 1 : Looking at the existing shoe
Mark looked at the wear on the shoe, how I move in it, and where I put the force on the ground. Thanksfully nothing too dramatic here – I’d like to think it’s my lovely Chirunning style and years of practice, but probably also just a bit of luck I have not worn the heels out. Pretty even wear and tear. Phew.
Step 2 : What am I after
The lads listen to my dilemmas, my need for the new shoe that likes running long distance, but also to be flexible and light enough to allow me to feel a bit closer to the ground than most of the cushioned shoes. With Chirunning in my mind, I know I want something that has not too much of a heel to toe drop (dont worry about thats another language to you), but also have a little cushion due to the amount of time I’m teaching classes and running on concrete. Nothing too minimal, nothing to cushioned, something that looks pretty and fits like a glove. How hard can that be to find?
Step 3: Barefoot run
Up and down the shopfloor barefoot while a foot level camera records me – it feels harder than concrete, glad im not travelling too far on this surface. Funny how I can run for hours, but when asked to run for 10 meters on camera it feels awkward. Now the moment of truth, how do I hit the ground? Thankfully pretty evenly. We get to see in slow motion how my foot lands and moves forward. Nothing too funny, so its a pair of neutral shoes for me. The answer I was hoping for.
Step 4: Picking a Pair
Kevin returns from behind the scenes with about 5 boxes of shoes. No Asics. mmm.. am I going to have to go outside my comfort zone?
First on is a pair of On running shoes. Yes, that is a brand – I had never heard of them either.Didn’t look too pretty, but I’m trying not to judge on appearance. I knew from the first step in them, they were too high up off the ground for me. Not for me. Next up, a pair of Brooks (once again, im judging by appearances and really dont want to wear black runners all summer. Feel ok, a bit better than the first ones, but still something about them thats not right.
I’m now jealously looking at the shoes that Lorraine is trying on – Puma running shoes – yes they do exist too, and they are certainly the prettiest. She is not taking them off her feet though, so i’ll have to be sneaky to get a go in them.
Next for me is a lighter verson of the On Cloud Racer shoes. Now these feel better – I am cautious, how can I never have heard of a brand that is supposedly so good, Switz technology and proven by elite athletes. Funny looking soles though, but a bit like the Pompidoo centre in Paris, all infrastructure hidden normally inside is put on the outside. A lower heel drop, which my feet are thankful for, and wierdly I think my feel might like these.
Part of me doesn’t want to like them. Still not sure if they look funny ! (Obviously not saying that to the boys for fear of sounding a big girly). Meanwhile when Lorraine’s back is turned I sneak on a pair of the Pumas. They feel good, and as close in style to what i’m used to running in. It’s a choice between the two for me.
Step 4 : The new pair on camera.
Kevin makes sure my feet dont do anything funny in the new shoes and watches on camera again in slow motion how my feet move in the On shoes and the Pumas. Both are offically ‘good’ and the decision is taken out of my hands as there is just the one pair of Pumas in my our size. So Lorraine goes with the Puma and I go with the On.
Step 5 : The real test
So that was last Friday. The On shoes will have their first outing this week and Lorraines Pumas have already seen the sights of Naas last night. Will update you to see how we get on, and if our experiment to try something new works out well. The sign in the On box says its suitable for someone running at 6 minute mile pace. If that happens, I’m buy you all a pair. One step at a time. Literally.
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