Saturday, January 25, 2014

Running Shoe Connoisseur

I like to think I'm a sophisticated running shoe connoisseur (ehem) but otherwise you'll more likely to deem I'm more likely an unsophisticated huge running shoe dork and hoarder.

It's okay and I don't blame you! Here's proof and just the shoes I've been following closely in the past 4 years. More running shoes are "sneaking" (no pun haha) around in my dad's place.

Only an avid tri-dork would have so many paired shoes of elastic laces ties!

A nerdy pivot-table graph to go with it :)

It was neat to pivot-table the stats because I had no idea how much actual kilometres were being accumulated on each shoe since I switch between them so often. Not surprisingly, most of my runners seem to show its end of service life more or less 600 km. Of course some shoes may have accumulated additional mileage pre-2010 era when I didn't take note of which shoe I wore (shucks I know ;)).

Another neat footnote, check this out. If I only count the Ironmans and Marathons races, most shoes seem to have 3-4 big races before I have to retire them. Sorry I should take my shorter races a little more seriously, and I plan to this year. :)

Okay this is the last nerdy graph on this post, I promise!

I guess this is an opportunity to reminisce the glory days of my retired running shoes

1. Brooks Racer ST (retired after 3 years) (logged 1007km between 2010-2012)

This was probably one of my all-time favourite racing flats gems. If I didn't say I would retire them at my Boston race in 2012, I'll probably still would be wearing them. Had 3 solid years of racing in them. My feet is quite wide and this shoe provided the perfect cushioning to weight ratio. I didn't feel they were too heavy and I got the right padding, also the stiffness was just right to work with you instead of resisting movements.

2. Saucony Type 5 (retired after 1 year) (logged 586km in 2012)

I had a love-hate relationship with my Saucony shoe. On one hand this shoe was dangerously light as feathers and fast for road races. Also these bad-boys were my first and only shoe so far to claim titles of two m-dots under its belt. On the other hand (the hate part), there were two pitfalls. The lightness provided minimum cushioning and as a result perhaps combinations with me wearing crappy dress shoes in 2012, I had some minor acting heel problems on the right foot. Also the large holes in the shoe would accumulate some aggregate rocks as most triathlons are done on light-trail courses. I spent countless hours using my Swiss-army knife picking at the rocks. The dangerous fast and furious element of this forced me to  retired this shoe within the year. 

Okay if you're still reading, good on ya and taking a break from the racing flats and moving onto the trails scene. 

3. Newtons Terra Momentus (retired- kinda until I plan do more trail races) (logged 665km between 2010-2012)

I've never been a huge trail runner per se so I'm quite bias on this point. I always wanted to try Newtons, the hype on the whole forefoot thing. I still remember when I got these shoes at the IMC expo and the Newtons co-founder Danny Abshire was personally hard-selling these Terras to me. It wasn't sold in stores at the time, and to be honest I was young and a bit celebrity star-struck. These shoes were as stiff and hard as bricks, which was a big change for me from the Brooks racers. For the first time in my running career, I had blisters all the time. I wore these for my first and only ultra 50km at Orcas Island but unfortunately these shoes aren't meant for the road even during training. I learned that lesson the hard way, otherwise this is a great trail shoe.

What was neat about chatting with Danny and having a professional scientist analyze my foot, he did advise that my right toe knuckle was 3mm too high elevated up and predicted correctly that I would likely have more injuries on my right foot. My right foot forces were not balanced and would play Ping-Pong on the soul essentially. As time will predict, the heel issues I was mentioning earlier with the Saucony was only on the right heel.  

4. Brooks PureCadence (also a retired-kinda kind of shoe) (logged 599km between 2011-2013)

The PureCadence was a light-weight trainer shoe, so a bit heavier than a running flat but lighter than a typical trainer shoe. Unfortunately because I enjoyed the transition to training on running flats exclusively, the PureCadence never did quite live up to its same-brand-cousin Racer ST. Couldn't quite fill the big shoes left from the Racers ST era (no pun again). These are the go to shoes that I wouldn't mind beating up in the trails and on the snow.

5. Nike Air Zoom Elite4+ (retired) (logged 637km between 2010-2012)

Nike and I go a long ways. They seem to always make wider shoes profiles which fit my foot-shape. They know their captive audience (me!). These trainers definitely were good value back in the day. You'll notice that both these and the Brooks PureCadence have no elastic laces and hence they never seen the racing scene and were the workhorses leading up to races. 

I guess I won't bore you with my current active running shoes. That will be another story for another post. Thanks for reading, hopefully race season returns soon so I don't have to blog about running shoes anymore. :)