After Christmas I acquired quite a bit of new gear thanks to the generous people in my family:) I plan on writing a review for each item because I find reading reviews helpful when I’m about to make a purchase. Hopefully you’ll find my reviews helpful too. Let’s start with the big one: SHOES!
I’ve always been and Asics girl, but since Asics
screwed up issued a new version of the Speedstar I’ve had to find another shoe. The Speedstar 5 just didn’t work for me: slipped in the heel, loose in the midfoot (no matter how tight I tied the laces) and just generally felt sloppy. And it was pretty freaking ugly too.
I guess I’ve been in a bit of Shoe-Limbo: that weird transition period where you can’t wear the shoes you’ve become comfortable with and have to find a new one. Yeah. That lovely place.
So I made my way to my local running store, Runner’s Alley in Portsmouth, NH to browse the shoes. I fully expected to leave the store with the Saucony Kinvara 3. I’ve been wearing the Kinvara 2 since May 2012 and have been pleased with the fit and ride, but not with the way it has broken down so quickly. I know that it is a lower-mile shoe, but the upper ripped not too long after I got them. Despite these issues I still liked the shoe enough to get another pair. But when I tried on the Kinvara 3 I wasn’t pleased. The footbed felt hard and stiff. I set them aside.
One of the gals at the store recommended trying something from the Brooks Pure line. I’ve never worn Brooks before, but since I’m in Shoe-Limbo I was willing to try anything. I tried the Brooks Pure Connect and immediately my feet felt like they were “home.” I loved the snugness of the fit which didn’t require super tight lacing to achieve. I like my shoes to feel snug on my feet and in the past I’ve had to tie my laces really tight to achieve this, often times too tight and I wind up having to stop on my run to loosen them up. I was pleased that I didn’t have to cinch up the laces on the Connects, the felt snug without being too tight.
When I first tried on the shoes it felt as if they had a negative heel, almost like an Earth Shoe (if you’ve ever tried a pair of those on). The Connects have a 4mm drop; I think the sensation of the negative drop comes from the snuggness of the insert at the arch. Once I started running though this sensation of a negative heel disappeared. The shoes felt very responsive when I stood and walked in them, the sole was flexible and nicely cushioned.
When I took them for a test run they were everything I’d felt in the store: flexible, cushioned, snug. They felt light and fast too. I decided to get them, thinking that the Brooks Pure Connect would be my shoes for shorter distance training runs (13 miles and under), speed work and races. So far they have been a great buy and I am so pleased.
I also wanted to find a shoe that I could wear for longer distances and for marathons, since I’m relatively new to running in minimal shoes for longer distances. I thought I might find that in the Asics Gel Lyte 33, a 6mm drop neutral shoe with more of traditional shoe construction it’s not billed as a “minimalist” shoe, as are the shoes in the Brooks Pure line. So I ordered a pair of those from RunningWarehouse.com.
When they came in the mail I was super excited about the colors. Typically I can wear Asics straight out of the box with now “breaking in period.” And I always wear the same size, but when I tried the Asics Gel Liter on I had this sinking feeling that they weren’t going to work. The plastic upper was incredibly stiff and I had to cinch up the laces for them to feel snug. And even after I had done so, there was this strange sensation in the arch: a tight pinching towards the outside edge of both shoes, as if the arch was positioned incorrectly on my foot.
I re-laced the shoes hoping that would make difference and it did slightly, so I took them for a test run on my treadmill. I made it about a half mile and stopped. The heel was slipping slightly on my left foot (in addition to the stiff feeling and the pinching in the arch). I stopped, took out the inserts and tried the shoes on with my Kinvara inserts. This solved the arch issue (slightly) but didn’t affect the heel slippage or the stiffness. So they went back into the box. I don’t think I’ll be returning to Asics anytime soon. They seem to have changed the heel shape (verticle with little contour) on the most recent models I have tried on and it just isn’t working for my foot.
I’m really like my Brooks Pure Connects and think I’ll be exploring other shoes in the Brooks Pure line, possibly the Flow. I’ve also had my eye on the Mach 14 spikeless track shoe for track this spring. It is also possible that the Connects could be my distance shoe and I might switch to the T7 Racer as my speedwork and race shoe. Whatever I choose it’s nice to know that I’ve finally found a shoe that is “mine” again.
What shoes do your feet feel “at home” in?
Do you prefer trying shoes on in a store or do you order from the internet?
I was not compensated in anyway for the views expressed in this post. The opinions I share in this review are my own.
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