I think all runners can agree: finding the right shoes is a critical aspect of the sport.
We can also probably agree that it’s heartbreaking when shoe brands make changes to beloved models, creating shapes and feels our feet don’t recognize and our gaits reject the unfamiliar feel.
Since I’ve been running, I’ve gone through several brands and styles of running shoes. I started in Mizuno Wave Inspires, needing the stability and preferring the firmness they offered, and finally worked up the nerve to branch out.
In addition to the Inspires, I’ve worn Mizuno Catalysts, Saucony Guides, Adidas Structures, Brooks Adrenalines and Brooks Bedlams. All stability. All a little different.
I’ve learned that I prefer the lower drop of the Guides, as well as the bounce of the Adidas Boost and Saucony Everrun materials. I like wider toe boxes and light, flexible material. I wear a half size up in some models and a full size in others. It’s all very personal and unique to me.
I can tell you that I grab the Guide ISOs when I feel great and the Adrenaline GTS 18s when I know the going will be tough. The Bedlams, which I really wanted to love, only come out for runs under five miles. I’ve shied away from the last few iterations of the Inspire because as other models got lighter and less clunky, they didn’t seem to evolve as much. They’re not out of consideration yet.
My trusty Guides ran their last race at Best Damn Race Orlando a few weeks ago. That particular model is no longer in rotation, nor is the Adrenaline GTS 18. I read reviews of both updates, and decided I would see if I could try on both pairs at the upcoming Gate River Run Expo. I didn’t have a lot of time to make it our local running store and I didn’t want to order online without getting a feel for what I might be purchasing.
The Brooks rep didn’t have my size in the Adrenaline 19s, so I tried a half size smaller at his suggestion. I definitely need the 10.5, but other than the the shoe felt ok. Not quite as nice as the 18s, but not awful. The rep mentioned that this was a slightly softer shoe than its predecessor and that disappointed me. Cushion is not something I want more of.
He asked me if I had tried the Ravenna – a stability shoe with a more responsive ride. In all my years of running, the Ravenna seemed like the shoe I SHOULD like, but they never quite fit me correctly. But my socks were on and I was there and I tried.
And I loved them. LOVED. Them. Obviously, switching to a completely new shoe model is a little intimidating, but, as I said to the rep “What’s the worst that can happen?” especially since I wasn’t planning to wear them for the Gate. We agreed that, really, the worst that could happen was I ran in them, hated them and needed to take them back.
So I bought them. With a 20% discount.
On Tuesday, I took them out for a 6.5 mile run, and they were wonderful.
Straight out of the box, they fit beautifully. The size 10 gave me plenty of room in the toe box, even with the inevitable swelling after the miles.
And, oh, how light they felt! They are about .7oz lighter than my Adrenalines, and it makes quite a bit of difference. I loved the springiness, the pop, the bounce.
They checked all my boxes.
I want another pair, immediately, if not sooner.
I will say that the colors leave a little something to be desired – I am into brighter and more fun colorways – but I’m hopeful the midseason release of this model will yield some improvements there.
And just like that, I’ve got myself a brand new favorite pair. Remember, if your feet are happy, and your body feels good, you’re in the right shoes.
Do you stick to the shoes you know or do you mix it up?
What’s your perfect shoe?