New Running Shoes!

I just got new running shoes!! These bad boys are the Hoka Clifton 2’s.

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I’ll admit right off the bat, they look a little strange. A couple of years ago, no one knew of Hokas. Then, some ultramarathoners started wearing them. Now, they are a very trusted, tried, and true long distance shoe (yes, I did rhyme on purpose there, sorry!)

The Hokas look super heavy, but are actually extremely light, lighter than any of my other shoes. They fit a narrow foot well, and they’ve got a 50% drop. This means that if you place them on the ground and pick up and drop the toe, they rock forward. It’s like they want me to run.

The bottoms have a ton of cushion, but Hoka also makes another version that’s more cushioned if you prefer. They’re perfect for my midfoot striking, but I’ve read some other reviews online of people who heelstrike using them and loving them too.

They also don’t wear out as quickly as some shoes – you can get around 500 miles from these, although of course that will depend on where you’re running and how you’re treating them. If you do decide to get these, don’t worry about wear you see on the tread.

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This is the bottom of my shoes after 6 miles. I seriously freaked out because of that wear on those upper white sections, thinking I would tear through these in no time. But that wear is normal for Hokas. The bottom material is so light that it does wear like that, but the cushion, the crucial part, sticks around for a while.

And the best part? They were less expensive than a lot of other shoes I tried on. I was expecting to have to pay a lot for shoes this great, and willing to do so, but these Hokas met every criterion. After putting in 35 miles on them, I’m pretty confident that these Hokas are here to stay.

The one caution I will put in is that these shoes have some height to them. That takes just a little getting used to. If you tend to drag your feet at the end of a run, you might find yourself tripping in these. But, per my experience, adjusting to the height is well worth it for these!

As a result of my new shoes, I wanted to share some shoe reflections… or should I say sole/soul reflections?

1) It’s good to be picky.

The wrong shoe can mean the difference between a good, pain-free run and a run that causes anything from blisters and black toenails to ankle pain, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis and more. If you’re going and getting fitted for a shoe, don’t buy the shoe the salesperson thinks is best for you. Take their wisdom and expertise into account, but also take into account how the shoe feels to you. You’re the one who’s going to be running in it.

2) Don’t be afraid of buying the more expensive shoe.

It’s okay to buy the $130+ pair of shoes rather than the $30 Target brand. It’s an investment in your health. Of course, if inexpensive sneakers work for you, more power to you. As for me, I bought new shoes at Target, developed ankle pain, and ended up shelling out the equivalent of nicer shoes to go to Physical Therapy. Buying nicer shoes from the start would have saved me time, money, and pain. Now, I go straight to a running store.

If you’re in the Atlanta area, I recommend Big Beach Running Company. They are super friendly, reasonably priced, know their stuff, and are willing to help you with anything. I’ve walked in several times with a running question, chatted, and then left. Of course, I make sure to patronize them with my business when I need to buy shoes/gear/nutrition.

3) Replace your shoes often.

The general rule is that you should replace your shoes every 300-500 miles. Of course, this is going to vary based on how you run, where you run, and what kind of shoes you have. But I really don’t recommend tacking on an extra 50 miles to a shoe just to save money. While your wallet might thank you, your body won’t….. which might lead to worse wallet problems down the road.

If you don’t keep track of how many miles your shoes have, a good rule of thumb is this: if you run 3 times a week, replace your shoes 3 times a year. 4 times a week, 4 times a year. And so on. This rule won’t work if your weekly runs are, for example, 1 mile, or 20 miles, but generally it plays out.

4) You won’t always see signs of wear.

Your shoes are likely going to be worn and ready for replacement before the tread is completely gone. This is because you’re buying a shoe for so much more than the tread. While you need that tread, you also need the cushion, the elasticity, of the shoe. That takes a pounding after hundreds of miles, and you won’t see it just from looking. But you may start feeling it in your knees or feet.

5) Don’t be afraid to try new things.

We runners get really set in our ways. We know what works for us – we have to. We have to know that bananas work for us before a run but apples don’t, or that gu is the only thing we can ingest during a long run, or that we’ll go crazy without a running partner, or that we only like running in the morning/evening.

All these things are important to know and to trust yourself on. But there’s also something to be said for branching out and trying something new. Would I have ever picked the Hokas on my own? No. Are they the greatest shoe I’ve ever run in? Quite possibly. Some things are worth trying.

6) You must get good sock too.

Good shoes without good socks will lead to blister-filled misery just as much as bad shoes. Do yourself – and your feet! – a favor and invest in some good socks. I like these. They’ve got good cushion and breathe really well.

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Wearing these socks has taken me from being a girl who runs despite blisters to a girl who runs just to spite blisters!

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