These are my new "ugly man shoes." When I started running I never, ever thought that finding the right shoe was akin to the pursuit of the holy grail. There are so many permutations of running shoes--what is your arch, pronation, how far do you run, how much do you weigh, do you wear and orthotic--if not, hey we can sell you one. With the formula you'd think that they could pop in the data and come up with a shoe that makes you run like the wind. Wouldn't you?
I have been wearing New Balance shoes for most of the time I've been running other than a misguided detour over to Mizuno. I also ended up at the podiatrist for custom orthotics when my foot started burning and then feeling like I was running with a knife stabbing me continually in the forefoot. The orthotics helped, some. They let me get from 3 miles to 5 miles before the pain got unbearable. This then lead me to the great running sock search.
Injinji toe socks, super thin Nike socks, Adidas bamboo socks. Each were okay but only for so long, like 5 miles. The super thin socks are winning so far but not sure they'll hold up for a half marathon. The bamboo socks are okay but I put toenails (short ones) through them on a regular basis. The toe socks were great for awhile, theory being it separates the toes and helps take pressure off the forefoot. Still, pain between 3 and 5 miles.
Finally, with a 9 mile run staring me in the face I went back to the local running store for new shoes. Anyone in Howard or surrounding counties--go to Feet First, they rock (locally owned, knowledgable staff, new high tech equipment and big new store!). I gotta say that it was the best shoe fitting ever, even if I ended up with ugly man shoes. I learned early on that you have to be willing to pay whatever and wear whatever feels good. The cute or cool looking shoes are rarely the ones. The heavier you are and the further you run the more true this becomes, IMHO. I must have tried 0n 2o pairs of shoes, each of them having some annoying factor, rubbing the top of the toes, rubbing the ankle, slipping the heel, or all of the above. After much trial and error out came the ugly man shoes. Smart sales guy didn't TELL me they were man shoes. Smart guy. It would have made me resistant, because that is just the way I roll. He gave me the super special way to tie the shoes so my heel wouldn't slip. Nothing sewn across the top of the shoe to rub in one spot or another. Ahhh, running shoe nirvana.
Now I feel I must begin to stockpile the ugly man shoe. Unfortunately in the running shoe world the companies remake their shoes all. the. time. And the new, improved version, isn't necessarily an improvement for all of the devotees of the current shoe. I did get a heads up that Hola Bird Sports is a great source for shoes at a discount, especially the discontinued ones. And the best news FREE SHIPPING.