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Shoe Demo Tuesdays

I frequently mention the Tuesday night running group I attend, Four Green Fields Running Club, and I have continued to go to this club over the years, despite the fact that I don't really drink or socialize afterward, for several reasons. One is the location--the route is on Bayshore Blvd., where I often run, and close to the various places I've lived for the past six years I've been running; although now it's a bit farther away since I just moved, but not far enough away to keep me from going. Another is the people; even though I am not a social butterfly when I go to the runs, I love seeing running friends I've met over the years, even if just in sweaty passing. But one more reason I love this club is because they partner with my favorite local running store, Feet First, to demo different running shoes each week. A representative from the shoe brand comes out with Nikki from Feet First, and together they encourage the runners to try out the latest shoe models for their run.

I'm very picky about my shoes, as I think most regular runners are, so getting to do a trial run in a new pair is a great way to know if they're right for me. I've been running in Brooks Ghost for my past three or four primary training shoes. And while I'm still happy with them, I've been curious to see how something else might feel and whether a different shoe might enhance my performance. Also, once I get injured while running in a particular shoe, I'm turned off from that shoe, even if it wasn't the shoe's fault.

So I learned that Brooks had a brand new shoe, Transcend. I thought this might be a great option for me (knowing very little about the shoe--except that it was new and exciting). To my great fortune, these very shoes were demo'd at the run club two weeks ago. So of course I tried them out, despite the Pepto-Bismol pink color (sorry, just not for me). What I liked: they felt very cushy and bouncy; they were fun to run in. What I didn't like: they compressed my toes, like if the shoes were the bread and my toes were the filling, the bread was squishing out the filling. My toes felt like they were starting to go numb toward the end of my four-mile run. So those were a no, unfortunately. I need lots of room in my toe box.

Brooks Transcend. (I would've waited for a new color in June if I'd really wanted them.)

Yesterday I saw the Asics vehicle pull up just as I was getting to 4GF, as I've lazily come to call it. I haven't thought about Asics in a while. When I first started running (in proper shoes, that is; my very first pair was a pair of ill-fitting Newton trail shoes--totally inappropriate, but I liked the colors), I wore Asics Landreth. I ran through two or three pairs of these before they were sadly discontinued. So I thought I'd stick with the brand but try a different model. When I wen to a running store that was not Feet First (a friend of mine worked there, so I thought I'd check it out), I was told by a sales associate the Asics Nimbus was right for me. Well, I took the shoes for a probably too-long "trial" run (at the height of marathon training) and hated them. They felt clunky and stiff and dug into my heels. So I returned them, to the obvious chagrin of the store manager. From then on I bought my shoes from Feet First. I think I actually ended up in the Asics Cumulus next, which is the last shoe I wore prior to making the switch to Brooks. I ran my first marathon in them, and I got a lot of painful blisters during that marathon, so of course I was then turned off by the shoes (I also switched to Injinji toe socks immediately after, which helped my blister problem).

So interestingly, the Cumulus is what was being demo'd yesterday, and it turns out I loved them. They felt immediately comfortable and natural (probably because they're similar to the Ghosts I've been wearing; I never said I was very adventurous). I ran my four miles in a regular-width shoe (which is all they bring for demos), and the toe box didn't feel bad, but I wanted to order a wide, for when my feet swell or if I wear thicker socks, so I still have to wait to get them.

Asics Cumulus. My soon-to-be new training shoes.

Another cool perq is that runners who demo the shoes get a cool piece of gear from the brand rep. Yesterday I got this zipper case, and while I don't know what I'll put in it, I'm sure I'll find some use.

When I demo'd (and subsequently bought) the Sketcher Nite Owl shoes (they glow in the dark!), I got this bag, which I use all the time to throw my running, yoga, or boot camp gear into for use after work.

I've also gotten a sports water bottle, shoe laces, and other running accessories that I've found useful--even when I didn't end up purchasing the shoes I demo'd. (Luckily I'll never be an elite runner, so I can tackily display as many different brands as I want!) 

So if you're in the market for some running shoes but not sure what to get, come out to 4FG every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. to see what's new. Hope to see you out!


B.o.B. said…
Good to see you! It was so dang hot!

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