Sometimes you think, you have all the answers and then things change.
Today I went into Famous Footwear and bought my next pair of running shoes. I had a price point that I couldn't go above and needed to rely on coupons and discounts to get the shoes that I "hope" will work well for me.
Not that long ago, I wouldn't have even looked down my nose at most of the running shoes in there or other similar stores. After all, I was a running shoe geek and more than a bit of a running shoe snob - yeah I admit it. Just a little hubris on my part.
I was used to being able to run in some pretty cool shoes either right before or shortly after they came out.
In the past I preferred the Local Running Store (when it was open or shopping online), after all I want the latest and greatest running shoes and then be able to share with other runners my experiences in those fantastic running shoes.
Finances and priorities change over time. That is part of what I am going through right now.
Not Really a Run Blogger
Now I have a funky foot and some very specific requirements for running shoes to work well for me. Which sometimes, means, well err all too often I end up with a bunch of running shoes that don't really work for me, but work great for other people.
So what I think are good or great shoes, may not be what others are looking for, so my shoe reviews are pretty much what seems to work for me, until they don't, which seems to happen all too often. I enjoy testing and writing about running shoes, but both my writing style and ability to get the current running shoes were not the best.
Which means that I was not really all that successful when it came to reviewing shoes as a blogger. I will leave that to Pete Larson, Sam Winebaum and all the others out there who are doing a great job of it.
Since I am not doing run blogging to supplement my income and/or getting free media samples of running shoes to review, it means that I have to rely on others to get samples, receive gifts, trade for them or what usually happens - buy my new running shoes.
Honestly, I have gone back to blogging for personal enjoyment and now when I review running shoes it is something that I am actually using for my primary running shoes.
Oh, I am sure that I will continue to follow the newest trends, drool over the newest and greatest shoes and the reality of my budget is that I cannot afford the $120 and up prices that are being charged for those running shoes.
Which means that I have to be
- more budget focused,
- think about what I actually need for running shoes
- how I actually run.
We all have a limit and my disposable income is smaller than it was. Yes, there are lots of changes here and I went back to work, due to certain things that end this month, which means that the expensive running shoes are just not a part of the equation. Yes, I plan to keep running a lot, but not in the "A List" running shoes.
Which means making do with the specials or end of year close-out sales and looking more closely at the 2nd level new running shoes - you know those ones released to the outlets, big boxes or other places that sell shoes. That are still decent shoes, just not with the most recent innovations or materials - a hell of a lot better than I ran in back in the 70's, 80's and 90's.
What do I really need to run in for shoes to keep me running injury-free and comfortable. To be honest, I really do know that I am not a great runner and while every once in a while I still get delusions of age group grandeur, it is just that delusions. The truth is that I am a top half of the pack runner, who's race pace is somewhere around a 7:00-minute pace. Not bad for 58, but nothing to get excited about or that will get me any free shoes.
Which means that I have the privilege of buying my running shoes, for the most part, so it comes down to what I can get to work good enough.
How I Run
Finally, I have accepted (well sort-of anyway - it is hard) that I am an aging runner who heels strikes and over-pronates a little too much. I have found out that I can run in neutral and lighter shoes, but a bit of motion control does help me run better. I still like cushioned, lighter running shoes with a rockered sole unit.
The strange thing is that lately I have been running in shoes between 1 and 1 1/2 sizes too big and doing very well in how they work for my Tailor's Bunionette and me. It does make it bit sloppier fit in the toe box, but at the same time I will take the trade-off because I can actually run without discomfort in the right foot.
No performance fit for me in the toe box, it just results in misery.
What does all this mean?
Realistically, my doing the newest and greatest running shoe reviews are a thing of the past, unless I get a gift or the budget has a great month and I can sweet talk the wife into letting me be extravagant with a running shoe purchase.
No more photos like this
and having a 7-8 pair rotation ain't going to happen.
So in the future I have feeling that I will have a 2 shoe rotation along with a pair of race day shoes that will double as my treadmill shoes and maybe a pair of trail shoes that will double as my winter shoes.
It will be quite a change and it also means that when I get a pair of shoes that I will have to "deal" with their peculiarities and sometimes a less than "perfect" fit for running, until we can justify getting the next pair that might work better - at least that is the plan.
Yeah, when I review shoes now, they will mostly be in the $50-$80 range and from suppliers other than the Local Running Store's "A" list shoes...just the way it is and I have a feeling that there are more than just a few other runners who do the same thing already out there.
Not everyone can afford the "A" list prices and not everyone needs the "A" list running shoes and as much as I loved the newest and greatest shoes, it ain't the direction I am headed.
Even so, I have feeling that I will still go through more than a few shoes in a year, but it just will not cost me as much as it did in the past.
Not really what I wanted or expected, but it is the reality.
Don't feel sorry for me or anything else. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will be just fine, keep doing my 40 or so miles a week, race every so often (just enough to think about those delusions of grandeur everyone ) and stay in the budget - as best I can.
But damn I still will miss being able to run in some of those "A" list shoes, when they are new.
A running shoe geek. :-)
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.