After a lot of thought and consideration -- I have decided to retire One Foot in Reality and leave it as an Archive. I will still monitor it to keep the trolls at bay, but will not be posting here any longer.

If you are looking for my new posts, please go to www.haroldlshaw.com .

Thank you for all they years of following One Foot In Reality.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Heretical Thoughts About Running Shoes - Updated

This is an update on my Heretical Thoughts About Running Shoes post from a couple of years ago and something that I plan to keep up as a page on my blog. It is too remind myself of the limitations that running shoes have and that they are not the reason that we run, or run well.

So if some the stuff looks familiar that is why.

Over the past few years, I have bought far too many pairs of running shoes - believing or is that dreaming and hoping that if I can only find the "right" or "perfect" running shoe that I will magically become the runner that I have always wanted to be.

That guy who is breaking 20:00 for the 5K, 40:00 for 10k's and getting into the low 1:30:00's for the half - regularly.

Has it happened - nope, in fact let's give that a big HELL NO!

I haven't done anything close to those times in the last 5 years, despite going through a multitude of running shoes and all their hype and promise of being able to run better, faster, longer in them.


Guess what, I have deceived myself - have you?

Bullshit Factor

There has been so much marketing hype, bullshit, hugh, cry, bluster, hell believe it or not maybe even a few facts -- in the news, magazine, ezines, blogs, forums and yes even on Twitter or Facebook about running shoes over the past few years.

All those marketing brochures, magazine articles, blog posts, videos etc., on the virtues or flaws of minimal vs maximal vs traditional vs whatever the hell the writer or speaker can dream up to talk about the purported benefits or ineffectiveness of shoe stats, drop, stack height, motion control devices, rocker, whether the listed stats are even close to being accurate or if it is all just marketing drivel, driven by brands, retailers and the running establishment who are all attempting to sell you something.

After a while reading or listening to all this glib crappola just gets old and too much.

For many of us who are not part of the running shoe industry, it has gotten so that we do not know what to believe, who to believe or what is simply being thrown on the wall to see what sticks.

What have I learned

Over the years, I have learned that there is no magical running shoe and that the best ways for me to improve as a runner is to:
  1. run consistently - the more uninjured miles the better, in other words training smarter is more important to being a better runner than what running shoes I am wearing.
  2. lose weight - getting rid of the extra 5-10-15 or more extra pounds of fat around my waist and looking at what I eat,  are far more important to running better, than the ounce or two that different shoes weigh.
  3. have an open mind - do not become or stay dogmatic in my approaches to running or running gear or trust that everything that you say is gospel or last word on running shoes.

    We need to read, research, think for ourselves and be willing to go beyond our usual authors, friends, coaches, websites or brands for information related to running. It might even mean - heaven forbid, that we need think outside of the box from time-to-time and look at brands and styles that we hadn't in the past.
  4. that all the major and many of the smaller brands have running shoe styles that I can or could run in - but it is true that I run better in certain styles of running shoes and I tend to stay with the brands that have those styles.
  5. BE COMFORTABLE - this is the most important thing, find a shoe that you run comfortably in - one that you put on and forget about. Get beyond brand marketing, the salesperson's prejudices or preconceptions, the running store's limited selection and find the pair of running shoes that feel comfortable to you when you are running on what you normally run on (trails, roads, treadmills, etc.).

    No, this is not easy, yes you will try many running shoes and spend lots of money, before you find the style of running shoes that allow you to run comfortably.

    Notice that I say style, not brand.
Then I hope, pray and wish, when the brand updates that style/model, that I will be able to keep running in it comfortably.

Unfortunately, what seems to happen all too often -- is that I have to go out and start looking for a new brand/style to meet my needs because the so-called "update" to something that I enjoyed running in, sucked for me.

The reality is that

All runners are different, have different likes, needs and wants from their running shoes and in today's world most brands have a shoe that will satisfy that need and it is not always the most expensive, new and greatest or even the brand's higher end running shoes.

Sometimes the so-called second tier of running shoes sold in "other" stores will work just as well for the average runner, who is not running "big" miles or going for super-fast times and is running more for health than becoming the next "Pre".  Yeah, heresy I know.

The primary purpose of  running shoes in my opinion, is to protect our feet from the ground, tar, concrete or whatever the hell you are running on, which in turn allows us to run more safely or comfortably than without them (no I do not believe in running barefoot other than for drills - it doesn't work for me, if it works for you - good for you :-)  ).

While I believe that proper running shoe can make a difference (good or bad) for a runner, at the same time I strongly believe that I (and other runners) put too much emphasis on the importance of their running shoes and how much of a difference they actually make.

I know that is heresy for an avowed running shoe geek to say publicly, but sometimes with all the emphasis, discussion and hype about the different running shoes and what they do, along with the brand's or their marketing department's claims, models, stats and styles, we forget that shoes really do not mean rat's ass compared to what the runner is actually doing to improve as a runner.

You know that what are you doing for training, how are you eating, what supplemental exercises you are doing to complement your running and all that other stuff that will do more to make us better runners, than buying yet another new pair of running shoes believing it is all you need to do to become a better runner.

In this age of information overload, runners need to become more knowledgeable consumers, be skeptical of the different claims being made by brands, marketing gurus and stores. We need to think about who is making/writing/producing/paying for the claims and make our running shoe choices based on what works best for us, not the latest running shoe revolution or bandwagon.

If it sounds too good to be true, think twice and then think again about what you are reading, watching or being told.

Pete Larson provided even more information on this in his post: Finding the Most Comfortable Running Shoe for You, there is a lot of great information there and it will make you think about how you look at running shoes.

This post originally appeared on One Foot In Reality if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission, please go to my site to see the original post.