Like the noob I was, I started running in old, old way-too-small Sauconys - a fairly little-used pair that had seen some Lindy Hop partner dancing and perhaps some hip-hop choreography over the past 8(?) years. As I neared the completion of our Couch to 5K program, I decided to invest in some new shoes - the Saucony Shadow 6000 that didn't seem too expensive, at the same shoe size I had always worn (6). I did manage to read some articles that indicated I should be ordering running shoes that were at least a half-size larger (to give your feet room), but chose, out of vanity (I like my small feet!) to ignore that advice.
The Sauconys worked great for short distances and felt good right out of the box. However, during my first-ever Half Marathon in November 2011, I earned myself a nice, black toe. In a weird way, this delighted me since it somehow demonstrated that I was really a runner. I had worn the Sauconys for the Half even though I had already purchased some brand-new Brooks Adrenalines GTS 11 after a muddy 10k a couple of weeks before the Half.
I must admit that I didn't love the Adrenalines at first. They took a little bit of time to break in, and, after the Sauconys, felt a little strange on my feet. I soon learned to stop lacing up so tightly, and soon, they felt fantastic. After the black toe incident, I actually went to On the Run, a shoe store conveniently 2 blocks away from home, and had someone assist me in picking out a pair of shoes. Yes, I agreed to go a half-size up to 6.5. Since then, I've run all my training miles with the Brooks, including my long runs of at least 10 miles on weekends and 3 more Half-Marathons since Quarry Turkey in November. Since then, no more black toes. I'm knocking on wood.
I went to RoadRunner Sports in San Carlos, conveniently located off the 101, right on the way home from work. DD had dropped by once before - prior to his marathon, to see if he could get an evaluation and recommendation for orthotics. The center of the store is dominated by their Shoe Dog display: a bank of treadmills and large-screen monitors for "Shoe Dog" - their gait evaluation program designed to help you choose your shoes, and if you need them, customized inserts.
With the evaluation I learned that I have average arches, that I have normal to mild overpronation. Stability shoes still recommended for me.
I tried on 6(!) pairs of shoes.
The Nike Zoom Structure Triax+ 15: not a very "cushy" shoe. Once I tried on others, I immediately relegated these to least preferred.
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 8: Felt good but had less cushioning that I might want.
The Asics GT-2170: Very cushy around the balls of my feet and toes; the arch support felt a little stiff, digging slightly into the side of my inner arch - very noticeable as I walked around with them. I hopped on the treadmill with these and thought they ran ok.
The Brooks Cascadia: Trail Stability Shoes. So perfect they made the other shoes I had previously tried on that night clearly feel like wrong shoes for me. With the Cascadias, I felt like I was wearing customized puffs of clouds on my feet. I had to have them.
After the salesperson saw how happy I was with the Brooks, she offered to bring out others.
The Brooks Ravenna 3: Also felt perfect, only very slightly less cushy than the Cascadia. My next Brooks running shoe, probably.
The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12: The next generation of my current shoes, they felt very similar to my current Adrenalines - slightly heavier and stiffer than the Cascadias and even the Ravennas. But they still felt light great on on my feet. At this point I was trying to feel the slightest differences between models. DD saw the men's version and had to grab them as well. He's thinking of them as an incentive to do physical therapy to heal his leg more quickly so he can start running again.
After this round of shoe-fitting, I just may declare myself a Brooks girl. If only they made more colourful versions!
Took the Cascadias out for a trail run on the Bay Interpretive trails behind work this week - my first ever foray - and though there was a strong wind that I fought most of the way, the brand-new shoes felt great. On Wednesday they met the treadmill (I chickened out from running in the rain) and also felt fantastic. Another run today, and I just may wear them when I run the Go Green St. Patrick's Day Half tomorrow. Hope they hold up in rain and wet.