A New Pair of Running Shoes
I bought a new pair of running shoes yesterday. The purchase was long overdue as the old ones (New Balance) had clocked about five years and who knows how many miles. The consensus seems to be that a habitual runner should swap up their trainers either every six months or 300-500 miles. So, while I didn’t think my old ones were no longer up for the job, all signs were screaming to the fact I should cough up $150 for some new runners.
This was a footwear purchase that required some research as the market is flooded with endless pairs of sneakers boasting advanced support and cushioning technology, motion control and lacing systems all designed to enhance performance and protect the body against injury and pounding. But the whole protective cushioning rationale was recently brought into question by a New York Times story on the benefits of running barefoot or in shoes so thin they mimic being barefoot.
Supporters of this kind of minimal shoe argue that our bodies can not only handle, but were meant to run as nature intended. And while they have studies, facts and figures to support their au naturale theories, one has to point out that nature doesn’t have ashphalt and cement.
Running barefoot through my downtown Toronto neighbourhood would leave my feet vulnerable to substances so disgusting and dangerous that I will spare you the details and not list them here. And until I relocate to an expansive, grassy countryside (never), I want my feet safely swaddled inside a cushiony shoe.
My research turned up all kinds of brands and models proclaiming feats of structural engineering, but I walked the three blocks from my office to the New Balance store, as I had always intended doing.
Eventually, after having my stride scrutinzed (I pronate inward a tad) and ruling out the $200 model, I settled on the WR769 model in baby blue.
Last night I took my new sneaks out on their maiden voyage expecting to run faster, better and stronger, but to be honest, while quite comfortable, there were no miracles. They felt pretty much the same as my old faithfuls. And so, I sit here wondering, does one really need to change their runners every six months? If the answer is, in fact, yes, maybe I will just try going barefoof as one of the things I love about running is the cost effectiveness, and you do the math on $150-$200 a pair, twice a year, for ten years…..I might as well take up hockey.
Dear fellow runners, how often do you change up up your shoes?