Retiring Old Shoes

old_shoes_001Does every runner remembers their first pair of shoes? For me it was the Brooks Defyance 4 – a pair I picked up last October after a visit to a local Jack Rabbit store. I had struggled for a few months with a couple of different pairs of shoes, but never felt as though I was getting the right level of support from them. I had passed the store one day and read on their website that they gave consultations to runners by looking at gait and pronation to determine the best set of shoes. In my case, my over-pronation and slightly excessive motion meant that I needed something with plenty of support. The sales associate recommended these shoes and after only a couple of runs I began to feel a significant difference in my legs and knees.From October through March, these shoes clocked up a total of 380 miles culminating in the New York City Half-Marathon last weekend.

I was so happy with these shoes that, a couple of weeks ago I went to Brooks web site and purchased two more pairs. Unfortunately, Brooks are no longer making these shoes having recently launched a new version of the shoe. I realize at some point I’ll have to find a new shoe but for now, at least, I have two new pairs that should last me through the summer and my marathon preparations.

Unhappy Feet

unhappy_feet_001This is what happens when I try to break in a new pair of running shoes that I bought without proper research. It’s actually not so bad, but it’s a lesson in how to avoid changing gear without getting the right help first. I have been using the same pair of sneakers for the last 4-5 months – Brooks Defyance 4. They are the most comfortable sneakers I have had and provide just the right amount of support for a moderate over-pronator like myself. I got them late last year when I visited the Jack Rabbit on Lex & 85th. One of the sales people helped me with an assessment of my gait and based on what we saw on the video replay, recommended the shoes. I have been extremely happy with them, but they’re almost at the end of their useful life. With only two weeks to race day, I mistakenly thought it would be a good time to break in a new pair. Stupidly, I bought these new sneakers based on the online description only and this is the result.

I’ll return the sneakers, but in the meantime I hit up the Brooks website and got two pairs of the Defyance 4 (soon to be out of stock and replaced by the 5th generation shoe). I definitely dodged a bullet with this one – things could have been a lot worse. But I also learned two important lessons:

  1. I will never try to change running gear right before a race. In future I will plan to break in a new pair at least six to eight weeks in advance of a big event.
  2. When buying new shoes, I will do lots of research and get a professional opinion. A good pair of shoes can make the world of difference.