Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Shoes

Did you know that shoes wear out on the inside much faster than on the outside? I never knew this until I really started running some longer miles. The interior cushioning takes a big hit every time my foot hits the ground, and can only handle ~250-300 miles worth of supporting my ~140 lbs before it starts to wear out.

Last fall (while training for my first 1/2 marathon) was the first time I'd put enough mileage into a pair of shoes to wear them out. They still looked fine on the outside. But I was starting to feel the difference-- my shins would burn a bit, my hips felt weird, my toes would ache after a run. Who'da thunk that running shoes could make such a difference?

Well, I went to my local running store, and the folks there helped me out. They looked at the wear patterns on my old shoes, watched me walk, analyzed how my feet were shaped and how they moved while I ran, and suggested several shoes for me. The pair I really liked was the Asics GT-2130. I bought a pair and loved them... so much that when it was time to buy a new pair of shoes this past spring, I went in and bought the exact same pair.

For the last month or so now, I've been starting to feel things again-- shins hurting, hips feeling stressed... signs that my shoes were on their way out. Again. (I try to only use my running shoes for running, and wear older pairs for doing other activities like walking or biking.) As I always seem to do, I first thought that it was me. Maybe I just haven't been running enough. Maybe I'm not stretching enough. I must be out of shape... But then it dawned on me-- it'd been about 6 months since I'd gotten new shoes. (Dang, could it have been that long?!)

Since we're headed into the winter months when conditions can be kind iffy-- slushy or slick roads and trails-- and because I've been enjoying trail running a bit more, I thought that maybe I'd branch out and try a trail shoe. I was a little nervous, though, about giving up on my 2130's, though, because they're such a great fit.

So imagine my delight when I went to the running store this weekend and told the guy what I've been wearing and that I'd like to try a trail shoe, and he said, great, Asics just came out with a trail version of the 2130! It's built to the same dimensions and everything as the shoe I've been wearing, but has a more aggressive sole (good for gripping) that's a little stiffer (good for running over rocks and branches), and has a water-resistant material on the upper (good for slush and mud).

I tried them on, and they felt perfect. "Do you want to try a few other kinds of trail shoes?" the salesguy asked? "Nope," I said, "these will work."

I tried them out on the treadmill yesterday, just to make sure they fit well (they do, and nothing hurt in my legs for the first time in several weeks!). And now this afternoon I have plans to take my new shoes for a spin on a 5-mile loop on trails in the Rattlesnake. Whooppee!

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