TL;DR: I bought the Adidas Energy Boost and liked them
Yesterday was an interesting day. I decided to get new running shoes, and I wanted good options, so off to the big city it was for me.
I like to have two sets of running shoes so I always have a pair ready, and I’d been looking to replace my backup pair (Nike Relentless 2) that I’ve had SO much trouble with.
Granted, I should have been more careful and not run as far so quickly, but I took them on 2 and 2.5-mile runs, and then my foot was done (as in about a solid 4-6 weeks of not being able to run). Once I healed, I still had trouble with them. They always wore my feet and calves out too quickly. They didn’t seem keen on bending when I ran, and they just didn’t absorb contact very well. I suffered through them for a few months, but I had to replace them, which led to me getting my current pair of Brooks Glycerin 11s.
The Glycerins were bought as a direct response to the Relentless shoes. I’d never had trouble with Nikes before, so it was odd to be switching to a new shoe company.
I went to a running store so I could get fitted and make sure that everything was good to go.
It was an interesting experience, but it wasn’t so bad. I’ve had the Brooks for about a year and half now, and they’re still in great shape because I fell into a bad non-running spell last year. My only real complaints are that they’re a touch heavy for a running shoe, and they don’t flex very easily (though not anything I would consider a real problem; I just notice it when I start to get tired on a run, and my form starts to go).
All in all, I’m happy with my Brooks, and they’re still my primary shoe.
The problem is those Nikes have been my backup. A week ago, I was using them, and in addition to the usual fatigue in my feet and calves, my ankle died on me. It was enough pain that it kept me running as far as I could, and I’m still not 100%.
And that was the last straw.
I decided to take a trip down to Jackson to go to a running store (Fleet Feet), and then made a larger trip to some outlet stores to fill out my cold-weather clothes (uneventful and not an ounce of humor in that part of the story, so we’ll just skip it).
Now I’ve already mentioned going to a running store. It was an interesting but uneventful experience. I don’t have a good story to tell from the first time beyond the fact that staff member was Australian. All in all, nothing to write home about (or a blog post). My experience in Jackson was not that way.
The first thing that threw me was that it seemed like a lot of people in the store. When I asked if they were usually this crowded, they said they normally have more people there, but with there being a half-marathon, there were fewer customers.
The other thing that caught me on first glance was the chaos from the shoe dances going on. There were probably 4 or 5 people getting fitted at the moment, and there were just boxes and boxes everywhere.
It looked like the storeroom had thrown up on the show floor.
I was also miserably out of place. I was driving a couple of hours, it was cold, and I had to look like a real person the rest of the day, so I wasn’t in running gear. There were some people who were fully decked out in running gear to try on shoes. It was nuts.
I on the other hand, was in jeans. I had a pair of shorts in the car in case they wanted me to run. They didn’t have me run, but they did want to see me walk, including seeing my calves as I walked barefoot, so I rolled up my pants, and I looked awesome.
It was a little funny. That said, I don’t know that I see the value in seeing me walk to figure out my running tendencies. It’s like learning karate by painting a fence.
After a little bit of a wait, an older guy came to help me. Nice guy, good service. No real complaints. I would gladly recommend the store and this staff member to anyone. But there were some odd moments.
First, we played the name game (“What’s your name?” Quisto. “Keith?” Whatever, I don’t care any more; I’m not correcting him). He later forgot my name and asked again (Quisto. “Keith.” still not correcting him). It wasn’t until I was checking out and he wanted to put me into the system that we finally had to get on the same page as to what my name is. Not my favorite dance, but I’m used to it.
The other moment happened when I was trying on the Adidas I ended up buying. They have some fancy pants name for cushion in them. When you walk in them, the heel has a lot of give. And I said they had a lot of give. The guy said, “They have a lot of return,” and continued on about how they spring (not the term he used) after impact. So they have a lot of give. Return. Give. There was a little too much back and forth. I don’t think he liked me saying the shoes had give when he thinks they have a lot return.
We have a show next week. 10 bucks at the door. I’ll just keep talking about how the shoes have a lot of give, and he’ll tell you they have a lot of return.
I did look at three other shoes. I told him about my Brooks, and that I liked them. He either didn’t catch that I was looking for a different shoe or he just thought the newer pair was different enough, but he brought out Brooks Glycerin 12s as one of the choices. Honestly, they felt great. They’re an upgrade on my current pair, including being lighter. That said, I’m happy with my Brooks, but I need a real change of pace, not an upgrade. When my current Glycerins are past their prime, I’ll probably come back to that model.
The second alternative was a pair of Nike Vomero 9. They seemed decent, but I liked the Adidas just a bit more, though the Nike’s would have been a safer bet. Seemed good, not great. I did make sure to keep the name of these in case I wanted to the Adidas didn’t work out.
The third alternative was the weirdest in the bunch. I don’t know the specific shoe, but they were Hoka One One. Evidently, they were first made for ultramarathoners but have started to catch on with other distance runners. They were comfy (not to be confused with comfortable), but it was like being in platform shoes, and they were ugly as sin. They reminded me of those Sketcher Shape-Ups. Not a compliment. So not a compliment. Again, they are comfy, which is their primary goal. You feel a lot of cushion, which if you’re running a ridiculous amount, is probably fantastic. I’m never crossing 5 miles in one run. I feel stupid enough spending money on nice running shoes as it is, but the Hoka’s were right past my limit on running oddities.
And so we landed on the Adidas, which Energy Boost, to be more specific. They have proprietary technology that means a lot of give (Return!) in the heel. They are a definite change of pace compared to the Glycerins. They are noticeably lighter and thinner. I have scrawny feet, so that leads to a better fit. It’s basically a foam sole. It’s very different; it makes for a comfortable experience when they heel gives (RETURNS!) because it gives more cushion than you’d expect. I was able to give them a try today (and probably went too far too soon in them; sometimes you never learn). They’re not as comfortable as the Glyercins in terms of feeling the pavement beneath your feet, but that’s actually what I was wanting. And I didn’t feel like my feet were absorbing all of the impact. The cushion really worked pretty well. They’re thinner and the extra give (RETURN, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE) in the shoe makes it a less-balanced run compared to the Glycerins, but it wasn’t really problematic. Once I get used to them, I might make them my primary shoe, but I need to see the wear and tear I get while using them goes. My one real concern is how long the soles will last. Again, it’s foam. It doesn’t seem like it will last that long if it’s giving (RETURNING!!!!!) so much, but we’ll see how they hold up long term.