Monday, July 7, 2008

Review of Shoes

I used 7 different pairs of shoes during the Buffalo Trace 7-Day Stage Race. When you compare total mileage, I really only used the first 4 pairs (they accounted for 272 of 303 miles). Two pairs were almost brand new...the actual shoes themselves and the brand/model. Here's a report on how my shoes worked for the 303 miles I ran during the race (fairly tame grass & dirt trails with few rocks and roots):

Nike Air Zoom Trail S = 110 miles
Strengths: Cushioning, rock guard under foot
Weaknesses: Slightly heavy, fairly high heel, low toe protection
Even though I hadn't tried this shoe before (total of about 15 miles before the race), it ended up being my "go to" shoe for the week. I think the extra cushioning helped when I was tired. I was very pleased at how they worked right out of the box.

New Balance 790 = 76.5 miles
Strengths: Wide forefoot, lightweight, low to ground, airy
Weaknesses: Little cushioning, little toe guard
I used this shoe every morning when there was a lot of wet grass because of dew. With totally soaked shoes and socks, they still felt lightweight. And in the early part of the day when I was still fresh, the lack of cushioning was OK. This is fast becoming one of my favorite trail shoes.

Brooks Cascadia = 45 miles
Strengths: Wide toebox, cushioned, rock guard underfoot
Weaknesses: Slightly heavy
This was the bulkiest shoe of the week. Good cushioning, but a bit too heavy for tons of mileage. Feet did feel protected and well-cushioned. Nice walking shoe.

Teva X-1 Racer = 41 miles
Strengths: Lightweight, cushioned, well ventilated
Weaknesses: Slightly high off ground, a bit narrow forefoot
Except for being a tad bit narrow, this was an excellent overall shoe. The tongue seemed to rub my ankle and lower shin a little so I didn't use this shoe after I started to get ankle and shin splint problems. I think with a little more "breaking in" (I had less than 20 miles on them before race day) they may a great ultra shoe--especially for hot and wet conditions.

Adidas Adizero XT = 14 miles
Strengths: Cushioned, good traction
Weaknesses: Narrow forefoot
I only used this shoe on the first day. While it was lightweight and well cushioned, it was just too narrow in the forefoot and toebox to be useful for later in the week when my feet were swollen.

Nike Free = 10 miles
Strengths: Lightweight, low to ground, form fitting upper
Weaknesses: Little protection (underfoot or toe)
These are super lightweight and very form-fitting. Not much protection so I only used them for a change of pace during the week.

Mizuno Revolver = 7 miles
Strengths: Lightweight, wide forefoot, low to ground
Weaknesses: Slight cushioning, little protection (toe or underfoot)
Not sure why I didn't use them more. They are lightweight and have a wide fit. Not the greatest cushioning or protection, but they are usually one of my favorite shoes. I always had them in my trunk if I needed a trusty old shoe, but never really called on them for much mileage.

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