Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Shoe Acquisition Syndrome

I'm a shoe whore.

In my closet, I currently have:

4 pairs of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 6 (two brand new, one in-use, one "dead")
1 pair of Brooks Adrenaline Trail Shoes
1 pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 7 (gave me lateral knee pain, I don't wear them.)
1 pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 8 (these are okay, but the fit isn't quite right)

1 pair of Brooks Trance (thanks Mike Hayden)
1 pair of Brooks Axiom (for racing)
1 pair of Asics Gel Evolution (because my PT recommended them)

Most of these shoes are fairly new, with less than 50 miles on them. This is because I have been in search of the "perfect" shoe ever since my GTS 6 was discontinued, and it takes about 50 miles to determine if a shoe will work or not (once you decided you liked it enough in the store to buy it). I track shoe mileage in my training log, so I know exactly how much each has been used. The typical life of a shoe is 300-500 miles. But mine typically only get 250 before they lose their support.

Someone recommended that I try Nike shoes, because they run narrower than most. My problem with the new Adrenaline GTS 8 is that the fit is sloppy, particularly in the heel cup. Additionally, it has far too much cushion, like running on a mattress. I like the shoe enough that I am going to continue to wear it, it's just that it's not quite right.

I had no intention of buying new shoes anytime soon because I have plenty! But I passed by a running store yesterday and could not resist the urge to just try a pair of Nikes, or even another pair that the store recommended. The guy at the store pulled out a pair of Nike Air Zoom Structure Triax +11.

I put them on, and they fit like a glove! I ran up and down the block while the guy at the store watched. He said that I looked well supported in them. They felt amazing. The fit was perfect. The ride was smooth and responsive, with just the right amount of cushion. I had no pain in my feet or legs.  As it turns out, these shoes are 0.3 ounces lighter than the Brooks Adrenaline, and every little bit adds up over a long distance, such as 26.2 miles. In other words, these shoes have the potential to make me go a little bit faster.

This morning, I took them to the gym for a treadmill run. My plan was just to test them out and break them in for 2-3 miles, and then switch the the Brooks Adrenaline. Even with the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 6, I have to do a few short runs to break them in and prevent blisters the first few times. Well, to my surprise, I just didn't want to take these babies off my feet. I loved how they felt. I ended up running 8 pain-free miles. No chafing, blisters, or anything. I can't even do that with my beloved GTS 6 on the first run! I even did some 100m strides (per my training program), accelerating to a 7:00 pace, and the shoes were very responsive and supportive.

I'm in love! When you run as many miles as I do, a good running shoe makes all the difference in the world. So, I would rather have a closet full of barely-used shoes than a bunch of injuries and/or uncomfortable runs. I do, however, plan on using all my Brooks Adrenalines, including the GTS 8. But as part of a rotation with my new Nikes.

 

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