Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Obsession

Okay, I admit it!  I am a running shoe addict. The photo above shows 12 of my 20 newest pairs. Running shoes make me happy, especially the most colorful ones. Of course, being an exercise physiologist and a long distance runner, I have a burning need to learn anything and everything about the hottest shoe to hit the market.  I must test them all out, so that I can be an expert on the "latest and greatest."  

Of all the shoes pictured above, my most recent purchase was the purple On Cloudsurfer (middle row, far left).  I must say that I absolutely love them.  See my 3/15/14 blog post Great Finds at the New York City Half Marathon Expo for more information on these awesome shoes.  

I purchased the Hoka One One Eva Stinson Trail Running Shoes (middle row, second in from right) the first week of March.  These are one of the most unusual pairs of running shoes that I have ever worn!  Upon first glance, the Hokas remind me of Sketcher Shape-Ups that were very popular two years ago; however, they are actually nothing like Shape-Ups -in fact, they are great for trail running!  The Hokas are extremely lightweight and cushioned - they are great for your joints, especially on rough, rocky terrain.  Hokas will never win the prettiest shoe award, but they are quite functional.

When compared to the Hokas, the Vibram Five Fingers (just look for the hot pink shoes with the five toes in the photo above) are at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of cushioning and joint protection.  The Vibrams are designed to be minimalist shoes -- the idea is to simulate barefoot running.  These shoes are not for everyone and need to be used in moderation.  I recommend that these shoes be worn no more than one to two times per week, and only for runs that are three miles or less.  There is a definitive adaptation period when running in the Vibrams due to the unique sensory experience of running almost in your bare feet.  I love doing 5K races in the Five Fingers!  The Five Fingers use the muscles in your feet and calves very differently than any other shoe I have ever worn.  My feet feel totally connected to the ground when running in my Vibrams.  I must say, however, that I have had major calf fatigue after running and racing in these shoes.

The bottom line is that there are so many choices when purchasing your running shoes and there is a lot to take into consideration when making your selection.  My advice is that you go to a running shoe specialty shop where your needs can be assessed and you can be properly fitted. Another option is to shop at Road Runner Sports (see ad near top of this page).  I have always found the people in Customer Service at Road Runner Sports to be extremely knowledgeable and super helpful, and the selection cannot be beat!