The great running shoe debacle of 2014

I hope everyone is having a fantastic week! Jeremy, Juneau and I are in our warm apartment, watching the Snowpocalypse unfold in our area. Thankfully, Jeremy’s work closed and my office preemptively suggested that we work from home both Wednesday and Thursday. It felt a little silly to be sitting on my couch working on Wednesday morning before the winter weather even came, but once it started it came so fast and caused so many problems that I was happy to be safe and nowhere near the roads.


Other, though less serious, inconvenient events that have unfolded this week have had to do with my running shoe situation. It seems like only a few months ago I was dealing with trying to find the perfect pair of new shoes to train for the Richmond Marathon in. And now I have found myself in the same spot all over again. I guess when you train for marathons you are bound to go through shoes fast.

I feel like it must be so easy for some runners. They buy the latest version of their favorite model of running shoe and quickly adapt to the change. Not so much for me, unfortunately. I went from a period of being able to run in practically any running shoe under the sun with very little or no direction, to being extremely picky about what stays on my feet for the long haul.

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I am picking up my speed lately. I still want some of the cushion underfoot that I used to enjoy with some of my shoes, but with my increased pace I am acutely aware if there is too much material underfoot overall.

When I started to feel like my Nike Zoom Elites were getting worse for wear, I visited one of the local running shops. After trying on several pairs of shoes, I settled on the Mizuno Wave Rider 17’s.

What felt like a light, stable support system on the treadmill at the running shop last weekend turned out to be an entirely too stiff and painful ride on the pavement two days later. I returned the Wave Riders to the store that same night. I know these shoes are supposed to be the darlings of the running world, but they just aren’t for me.

I tried on an additional handful of shoes when I returned the Wave Riders that evening. And the salesman interestingly suggested the Newton Energy NR’s to me. These were a much better match for the shoes I was replacing in terms of the support system and structure. And I was immediately intrigued by the spring that I felt when I tested them on the shop’s treadmill.

So far I have taken the Newtons on two medium length runs. I am loving the light feel of the shoe but the lugs under the mid-foot and the slight decrease in heel-to-toe drop will take a few more runs to get used to. Also, holy bright colors Batman…


I suppose that I can be thankful that I didn’t get stuck with a pair of semi-used, non-returnable, running shoes and rear end someone in the course of driving to buy a replacement pair. Because that already happened last time. Have I mentioned that I have really bad luck with running shoe shopping?!

What is your favorite pair of shoes for long runs lately? Do you have a go-to brand or model that never fails you?


5 thoughts on “The great running shoe debacle of 2014

    • So many people love the Wave Riders but I just don’t think they work for my feet. I actually wasn’t a fan of the 16’s either – I tried them out at the store before choosing my Nikes last time. I thought I was going to like the 17’s better from how they felt in the store but they were still too firm for me in the end. I am not a Wave Rider expert but it seems like they have kept it pretty consistent but with a more flexible and cushioned upper. Hope you find that it still works for you and you can stick with it. I certainly envy anyone who has found a model that always works for them!

    • I am surprised to find how much I have liked a lot of Nike’s running shoes. Was pretty happy with my Zoom Elite 6’s and would have just bought another pair but the shop I went to this time didn’t carry any Nikes.

  1. I’ve gotten reallllly lucky with my running shoes since I purchased all of them online. I tried a new brand this summer, Scott Running, which I really liked, so I bought another pair from the company that’s supposed to be really good on snow and ice. The sizing was just slightly different and the snow shoes are a bit small – but other than that, I have lucked out. I really should go get fitted – I bet I could find an even better shoe that way!

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