Quick background: the following video sums up how I am when it comes to running shoes (and before my plunge into running, it’s how I was with soccer cleats too):
[Warning: this video contains lots of four-letter words]
Now that that’s out of the way, here’s my confession: For the past two weeks I’ve been obsessed with the new Brooks Transcend shoes. Clearly Brooks’s ad campaign [“It’s like running on clouds!”] worked on me, because I instantly had stars in my eyes and wanted to try them for myself. While at Sports Authority last weekend, I spotted a giant display for them and tried a pair on. They were glorious. They truly felt like clouds… or little hugs that were enveloping my feet. Though I would have happily bought them right then, I decided to be good and wait a bit, since I don’t really need new running shoes at the moment.
(Another quick disclaimer: I have flat feet and thus over-pronate like crazy, so shoe people unfailingly steer me toward the motion control section, which is usually filled with boring, white sneakers. I’ve confessed before to being a gear head, and to liking flashier bits of kit, so I’d usually try on my clunky motion control shoes while making sad puppy-dog eyes at the dazzling colors and fun neon over in the neutral section. These Transcend shoes boast guide rails that provide support BUT they’re also bright and snazzy, so I think that’s why I adore them so much.)
Fast-forward to this past Thursday, when I attended a sports bra “Fit Night” at one of my local running stores. [After reading Alexandra Heminsley talk about the damage that can be done by wearing the incorrect size sports bra and feeling paranoid, I jumped at the chance to attend this event when I saw it advertised!] After getting measured and trying on a few different bras inside a super-awkward and very stuffy changing tent in the middle of the store, I victoriously clutched my shiny new bra and made a bee-line for the shoes. I needed another go with the Transcends, and the saleswoman happily obliged.
She took me outside to watch me run around in them, and as I giddily jogged back and forth, imagining that the shoes were little fluffy cloud hugs, I couldn’t help but notice her frown. Apparently the shoe’s guide rails weren’t enough to hold back my rampant over-pronation, and saleslady said she didn’t like how my ankles and knees were wobbling all over the place. She brought me back inside to have me try on the newest model of the shoes I currently wear – the Saucony Guide – and my sad puppy-dog eyes returned as I watched her carry my fluffy cloud hugs away.
I wasn’t sad for long though… trying on the Guide 7 was an almost magical experience. Whereas the Transcends felt like cloud hugs, the Guides felt like they weren’t even there… they seemed to just invisibly transform my feet into running machines. It was awesome. Saleslady had me try on a few others, a different Brooks shoe and a Mizuno, but the Guides seemed to be it. “Looks like you’re just a Saucony kind of girl!” she said as I gazed adoringly at the Guides on my feet, and that launched me into another trip down memory lane:
My Running Shoe History
My running story on this blog isn’t entirely true. I tried running a few times before experimenting with Couch to 5K; during college, my friend Laura and I would drive down to the track in our hometown when we were on break to “go running” (read: walk a few laps while chatting, then run one lap, burn ourselves out, and drive off somewhere to get ice cream), and then in early 2010 I tried to fit in a few laps around the track at work between the shifts of my two part-time jobs, but that only lasted for about a week. During my college running excursions I’d wear my old Adidas shoes from my days on the high school tennis team, but by 2010 I decided I needed dedicated running shoes. And I picked my shoes based purely on looks:
At the time, I owned a pair of Saucony Jazz casuals and loved them, so I figured Saucony running shoes would be just the ticket. I found the Kilkennys on Zappos and loved how light they were, and how freaking cool they looked (red! silver! I looked like a track star!). I rocked them until my first time working with a trainer at my gym, who watched me do some cardio in the Kilkennys with wide eyes and told me he wouldn’t let me come back until I bought shoes with some support for my flailing ankles.
Grudgingly I visited my local City Sports and let the shoe salesman lead me to the motion control section. He gave me a choice of 2 – a white and pink pair of Nikes or a white and blue pair of Brooks. I had never heard of Brooks at that point and really wanted the Nikes (a cool brand!), but they broke my cardinal rule of shoes – they were pink. I hate pink. So I went with the Brooks:
These were the shoes I wore during my multiple attempts at Couch to 5K, and these were the shoes I wore throughout my 5K for Beginners class. They were also what I wore to run my first-ever race last March:
They’re the shoes that ushered me into this new running stage of my life, and for that I will always have a special place in my heart for the Brooks GTS. However, the more I ran in them, the less comfortable they were (as is the norm, I suppose.) I won a gift certificate to Marathon Sports, a dedicated running store, and decided to let one of their experts watch me run and suggest the right shoe for my weird feet. Once again I was pulled back in the world of Saucony:
Apart from the Ras, I’ve run every other race with either my white/blue or gray/pink Guides, and they’ve rarely done me wrong. (Pair #1 began to give me trouble as their mileage got up there, but that’s to be expected.) Clearly I am just a Saucony kind of girl!
I bought my second pair on clearance when the Guide 7 was just about to be released, and had to break my cardinal rule of no pink because this was the only color left in my size. (I wanted the black and purple ones!) Anyway, I’ve come to love my bright pink laces, and I’m looking forward to the day I finally give in and buy my new pair of Guide 7s. I can’t wait for them to transform my feet into running machines again!
So that was quite the long-winded post. Props to anyone who read that whole thing!
What are your favorite running shoes?