I’ve been running since I was about thirteen years old. Always long distance as I’ve never had an interest in sprinting, nor was I good at it. I’ve also always been fascinated with shoes. The trends through the years have definitely been interesting. I’ve always gone back and forth between two main brands: New Balance and Asics. Both of these fit me well and seemed to have great reviews. Finding shoes that fit with my running gait was always a challenge. Between my leg length discrepancy (2 cm) and lack of external rotation in my left hip, finding a show that allowed me to run pain free was always a little bit tricky. Physio and orthotics definitely didn’t help.
It wasn’t until I started strength training, lifting heavy that my running got better. I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Every trainer, myself included, will preach this tune. I was able to complete a few half ironman races, a 30 km road race but recovery, especially with my hip and knee was always longer than it should be.
Fast forward a decade and I got heavily into CrossFit. To fit in, I bought a pair of Vibram Five FiveFingers and quickly realized the benefit of “barefoot” training. As I got stronger, and lifted heavier and heavier, my legs fel more and more solid and stable. Although I wasn’t running much for about a year, every time I would head out for a 5-8 k run, recovery was really quick and NO hip pain. These shoes allow your feet to get stronger and more stable. Regular running shoes were doing ore damming than good for me. They were restricting my natural movements and my feet, ankles/knees/hips and all surrounding connective tissues were actually getting weaker.
In the summer months I started running a little bit more. Although I love my FiveFingers for lifting and short runs, I found them quite irritating on longer runs. Blisters between the toes and shoes slipping are not things I like, or anyone, likes to deal with while running. So, the next best thing:
New Balance Minimus 20v2 Trail (also with a Vibram sole)
These shoes have been great. Like the FiveFingers, you feel the ground, are forced to run more on your toes and have more spring in your step. The Vibram sole is great for any off-road terrain as it prevents slips and falls but is also quite good on the road. My ankles, knees and hip felt great post run however, building milage is a slow process. (I never ran more than 5k with the FiveFingers). The load on your calves is quite serious so you cannot increase by more than 10% per week unless you want to end up on the massage therapists table 2 days after each run. The only negative thing I can say about these shoes is their durability. Rips and tears started popping up in upper of the shoe within 2 months of owning them…and my mileage wasn’t that high.
For this fall, I purchased a new pair, slightly different, but like the others, also have a Vibram sole.
At the moment I can’t say too, too much about these shoes. However, to break them in I wore them to the gym. Ran 1 mile on the treadmill and felt amazing. The tread on them is pretty aggressive and they have a little bit more cushioning than my previous pair. Walking around in them was a very different experience. These shoes are definitely made for running, not walking and not lifting (the 20v2′s are amazing for lifting). These shoes make you feel like you’re almost overprinting, your toes also get pushed to the front of the shoe when walking, but not running. Last weekend I took them for a 6 km run outdoors. The run was great, my calves were fine the next day but again, only running for these shoes, no walking. I’m very curious how they do as my milage builds over the next few months. One other thing I Love about them, the flashy colours!