When I started running 2 weeks ago (that's right, I'm a 2-week runner now!) I had to make a decision about what shoes I wanted to use. I felt strange just hopping back into my old Asics Gel Nimbus for some reason. Maybe it is because so many of my team members have downgraded to lighter shoes or maybe it is because I haven't the slightest idea how many miles are on them. I'd been rotating two pairs for a while, but I couldn't remember which pair had been giving me a blister on my first metatarsal head when I stopped running. Was it the pink pair? The white ones? Both? Crap.
Either way, I decided to start fresh with a new pair, but a new pair of what? I can't help but read the studies about heel-to-toe drop and how it affects your stride, etc. I'm not getting into the details of that here, you can find a million other more informed sources elsewhere, but I'll just mention what I was thinking. I did my first run in my lightweight Saucony Fastwitch racing shoes. They aren't flats, but they're super light and comfortable for short distances. They were fine for my second mile, which I ran outside, but I was reminded on my first "big" run (2.5mi) that there simply isn't enough cushioning for my foot. Also, they're getting old. They wear out quickly because of the lightweight nature of the foam on the soles. This is one of the main reasons that I knew I couldn't use them as my training shoe, I didn't want to have to replace them so often. I think I'll stick with them as racing shoes, but there's a new shoe in town now-The Saucony Cortana.
After lots of asking around, just to get ideas about what lightweight shoes were out there, I went to Paragon Sports and NY Running Co. in search of something good. NY Running Co. didn't have any of the New Balances I wanted to try, but they did have the new Brooks Pure line of lightweight but still techy shoes. I tried and really liked the Connect, but I kept looking. I've never worn Brooks, other than wear-testing for them, and I would need to research and bit more. Their drawback was also that they are "low mileage shoes" (read: replace often). At Paragon Sports I described my ideal shoe to the gentleman assisting me and he was less than helpful ("those Fastwitch shoes are for overpronators." Wrong) but I'd done my research and tried on a handful of NB and Saucony shows without finding a winner. When I spotted the Cortana I asked what it was and he listed its features, they were exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for not suggesting them, doofus. I tried them on the treadmill at the store, twisted, poked and prodded every detail and said thanks, but handed them back. I never buy shoes at full price. I went home and read up on them, there are plenty of glowing reviews suggesting that they are long-lasting, lightweight and fit very well in the heel. I found them on my favorite gear site, Holabird Sports for $15 less than retail and they came with a $15 gift certificate and a free pair of Saucony arm warmers (which I will save for the bike or very cold weather when they can be covered up. Arm warmers are the dorkiest things ever. Don't say no, you're only kidding yourself.)
The shoes came really quickly (and shipping was free!) and I wore them to PT and on my 3 mi run Tuesday evening. I think I love them, they're like running on clouds, but really light ones. The heel to toe drop is only 4 mm vs traditional 8-9mm so they're sort of a "transition shoe", not that I'm headed towards any type of funny looking shoe with toes. I figured if I'm going to take my heel to toe drop down at any point, I might as well do it while my mileage is low and I can build up slowly.
So far they have about 7 or 8 total miles on them and I'm very satisfied. (Ok, I added 6 more this morning before posting this, so we're up to 13-14 miles on them)
I'll add a few pictures and a silly video...
Watch the tongue of the shoe closely:
They have a cool "Sauc Fit" feature on the medial side of the shoe, I just discovered it this morning. The top three lacing holes are separated from the rest of the holes by a gap near the center and a stretchy material (the black/silver vertical stripe on the left photo) which allows the shoe to be tied tight without cutting off circulation. I have a hard time tying my shoes because my feet go numb. I've had no trouble with that in these. There's also a funny little pocket in the tongue of the shoe.
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