New Shoes! New Shoes!

Three hundred and twenty-nine miles or so and it was clearly time to replace my favorite running shoes. Actually, it was time a few miles before that. I had not looked at the soles in a while and a quick glance showed all was not well. The tread looked like the tires on a junkyard car: completely fine in some places and worn entirely through the top layer in others.

The soles tell a story about my stride that isn’t completely flattering. Kinda ugly really. And it was the day before my half-marathon. Not the time to be changing out shoes, so they’d have to endure another 13.1 miles. They survived (better than I did), but that run was their swan song.

Yesterday, I went to the local running store just to “look”. Yep, they had what I wanted but it was my lunch break and they were several customers deep so I left, figuring I’d just order online. But, standing outside the store, flipping through the free local running magazine, I decided to go back in. The line had already cleared and I received the clerk’s undivided attention. Five minutes later I was walking out with a new set of shoes.

I prefer lesser known brands, so no Nike, Adidas, Under Armor, etc., no matter how good they might be (yes, I’m a bit odd that way). I ran in several pairs of INOV-8s for a few years, but lately, I’ve become a big fan of Altra’s. The INOV-8s have been relegated to yard work and the Altra’s are now my choice for road and trail. They are a little funny looking, but the wide toe box and serious cushion make the INOV-8s feel like ballet slippers. Switching brands was like going from a hard-edged sports car to a luxury car. When it comes to running, it’s definitely not my shoes that are holding me back so the extra space for my wide feet and additional give for my no-longer-youthful joints and (ahem) “stocky” stature are a welcome trade for me.

I’m looking forward to spending the next several months wearing them out.

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