Saturday, March 12, 2016

It's official; I have a shoe problem

Unlike many other girls I was never one to be obsessed with shoes.  I remember in my freshman year I went to a shopping plaza with my friend and we went into a boutique shoe shop.  After we flipped over the price tag that told us that the pair of unappealing flats we were staring at cost $130 we both commented on how ugly the shoes were and how many books we could buy instead if we had that $130 to spare.

So I'm surprised at myself now at how obsessive I get when it comes to running shoes.

No I don't have a shoe fetish, but I do have a compulsive shopping disorder when it comes to running shoes.

We all know that finding the right pair of running shoes can be difficult.  And as I've learned recently that even when you find a model that fits you your quest will still never end since the old models go out of styles and the new models may not fit as nicely.  I've been running on and off for almost two years and so far I have 1 pair of Saucony Kinvara 5 that I run in regularly, another pair of the same model (different colors) that I stocked in a panic after I learned that when Kinvara 6 came out (now the 7 is too) they stopping selling the 5s.  I had a pair of Brooks Dyad 7 I got after a visit to the Marathon Running store in Boston, that I no longer use to run (think they were too small and way too heavy; I switched out the insoles and use them semi-regularly for daily walking).  I have a pair of Saucony Cohesion 7 which I bought on a whim on Amazon (first time buying an unfamiliar brand without trying them on first) for very cheap, and ended up running almost 60 miles in them, as I recently realized while updating my Nike+ profile. I had a pair of NB trail running shoes I originally used for casual walking but ended up putting a good double-digit milage on, before they became old and full of holes and I had to throw them out.  I replaced those with a new pair of NB (model forgotten) that I planned to use only as walking shoes but they are so comfortable I'm thinking of trying them out for running as well.

And today I received in the mail yet another pair of running shoes.  This time it was a pair of Saucony Hurricane Iso (1st gen, can't afford the $100+ newer model).  This was recommended me on my second trip to the aforementioned Marathon store, and at the time of all the choices I was given I liked those the best.  I was told that I needed more support and the Hurricane Iso would be a good fit, and Saucony as a whole is a good brand for my feet.  I did not find an affordable pair until recently, and after a 2.9 mile test run today I have mixed feelings about them.

This is also the first time I bought shoes second hand.  Granted they weren't from any individual sellers trying to get rid of some old shoes.  They were sold by Amazon Warehouse where they would resell returned or opened item.  They don't usually have second hand running shoes available all the time but I saw them earlier this week.  New shoes often go for about $90 at least and the ones I got only cost me $50.  I was very nervous about buying them because unlike sellers on eBay there were no pictures of the shoes at all, and the description made it sound like someone's walked in them for months.  But they had such a good return policy that I thought there was nothing for me to lose if I just get them and see how they look.  Around the same time I also saw a deal on the same shoes (different color) on Running Warehouse that was a good backup for me so either way I'm adding a new pair of running shoes to my collection.

The shoes looked a lot newer and in better condition than I expected.  They came in a Saucony box but no stuffings or wrappings.  The bottom of the shoes looked like they've definitely been worn and walked in, but the rest of the shoes looked absolutely brand new.  The insoles did not show much ware and the shoes didn't really smell like anyone's feet.  I think someone wore them for a few times and decided she didn't like them.  I've returned a number of pairs of shoes myself and they didn't look worse than the conditions I returned my shoes in.

So I decided to keep them and ditch my back-up plan.  There was no point spending an extra $25 to get a brand new pair when the ones I got were pretty good.  And I wore them to the gym, where I ran almost 3 miles in them.  Even at size 9.5 (my standard Saucony shoe size; I normally wear 8.5 for casual and 9 for NB running shoes) they felt a but snug, which was kind of alarming since they look huge in my hands.  And they do have much better support than the fairly support-less Kinvara I had, and heavier than Kinvara too.  As I was walking to the gym I could feel the shoes pushing at my feet in all directions in ways that were not felt with my other shoes.  The shoes were't tied right so all the way there my ankles were slipping out, and I had to adjust the laces in the locker room before I went into the fitness room.

I can't really access what really happened during my 3 mile run, but by the end my plantar fasciitis was acting in full force and I started to feel that the support may not be unnecessary.  It was refreshing and roomy when I stepped into my New Balance afterwards.

I don't know why my plantar fasciitis was acting up again but I have been feeling it for days now.  It could be that was running longer too soon, it could be the shoes.  Maybe I'm not ready for running in them yet and still need time to figure them out.  Maybe the snugness is a problem.  Maybe the assessment given to me by the running store was wrong again and the shoes are just not right for me. I think I want to test them some more before returning them becomes a real possibility.

While I have more shoes than my running habit can justify, I do have rationales for getting all of them.  The reason why I wanted another pair of (better support) shoes is that it's getting warmer out and it's almost time for outdoor running again.  And while the Kinvara are absolute a dream on the treadmill I am afraid that they would not be enough for while I pound on concrete.  I don't remember whether I ran in them outside last year, but honestly I didn't do a lot of running last summer.  I wanted something sturdier and something that could maybe handle the trails (even thought the Hurricane is not designed for trail running).  But if the Hurricanes are not helping then there would be no point in having them.  I still need to give them more time, and I can't bare having to go another half size up.  Me wearing a size 10 is just too ridiculous.

But rationales aside I still like to look at running shoes I know I will never buy.  I don't have he same attraction for other kinds of shoes, not even canvas shoes or casual athletic wears.  Just running shoes.  Sometimes it's the colors and patterns, other times it may be the cool design (like the Honka One One shoes).  Sometime I suspect I dream of putting them on and go running in procrastination of actual running.  Also I'm still trying to work out how the different shoes can suit different people.  I'm told by every one that I need shoes with support because I over-pronate a little.  And I need arch support. And because of my weight I'm usually recommend heavier shoes like the Brooks.  And I was told by some that the Kinvara it not a good fit for me because it has no support.  But I'm so happy in them.  They are so light and I don't get more injuries wearing them than I would with other shoes.  And I can't figure out why that it.  Why does logic and reasoning not work?  I got the Kinvara 5 purely based on it's good reviews.  Everyone seemed to like them.  I tried them out in the store and they fit my feet.  It took a few tries for me to realize that I needed a full size up with this model (apparently the 6 is even narrower), and I run so happy in them.  Yet I still can't ignore the logic and kept wanting to try out different things, and so far none of them have yielded promising results.  My baffles only resulted in more temptation to buy; usually it would have to take a few days for me to find out whether I'm truly comfortable in them or not so a quick trip to the shoe store does not usually do it.

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