Newtons. I almost went with Newton's when I got new shoes last year, but I was a little afraid; running was still something I was on the fence about and hadn't learn to love yet or trust myself with - like now!
Anways. Saturday, we hit up Jax Running Company and my personal favorite, 1st Place Sports. I started with Jax Running because while 1st Place carries Newtons, they only started to recently, and Jax is pretty knowledgeable about the line. Between the two stores, I tried out several different shoes. After all the reading on minimal footwear, it was really interesting to take them out for a spin.
Newton Neutral Racer: From Newton's website: Newton Running's top-of-the-line neutral performance racer is the ultimate shoe for Natural Running. Engineered for speed, distance and performance, it is the ultimate "PR in a box." With a level platform construction and Action/Reaction Technology™, this lightweight, high mileage racer gets you to the finish line faster and with greater efficiency, quicker recovery and less overuse injuries (like achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis). Recommended for any distance just like its complimentary training partner, the Neutral Performance Trainer.
Light and fast, this was a cool shoe. The Newton's are definitely a different breed of shoe, but my stride felt great.
Saucony Kinvara: From the Saucony Website: RUN - Neutral. Neutral running shoe that allows your foot to run uninhibited, lightweight, flexible. Minimal midsole construction with protection from the pavement.
I've been really curious about these. They were super light and flexible, however, while I favor a wide toe box (I run in Saucony ProGrid Ride's right now and love them) this toe box felt huge. While the shoes were the right length (size), I felt like there was too much shoe flopping around from mid-arch to the toe. From a minimal perspective, I can see why people love them, they were just a little too wide for me.
New Balance 10: From the New Balance Website - Minimus is a whole new approach to footwear, inspired by Good Form Running and designed to be worn with or without socks. The Minimus Road running shoe is engineered for use on pavement and other varied running surfaces. Supremely comfortable and extremely lightweight, the WR10 is taking the running world by storm.
These shoes looked really cool, and they were definitely thin soled - it did feel rather like running barefoot. However, it didn't feel like it fit my foot right. There's arch support, but it felt like it met my arches in the wrong spot, and like my foot wasn't exactly the shape it should be to fit in their toe box. Those with narrower feet might do better in these.
Nike Free: From the Nike website: The lightweight Nike Free 3.0 v2 Women's Running Shoe offers the extraordinary feel and natural movement of barefoot training—without sacrificing support, cushioning, underfoot protection or traction.
Had I not gotten the Newton's, these would have been the pick. They were light, flexible, and felt like they moved with my foot in all the right ways. I took them around a couple of times, and just liked the overall fit and feel.
Ultimately, I got the Newton Neutral Performance Trainers. And I love them. They just felt right when I put them on. From Newton's website: Newton Running's top-of-the-line neutral performance trainer is the ultimate shoe for Natural Running. Get a fast, flexible ride with greater energy return and less impact. The 2010 model has enhanced durability in the heel, a new high-rebound midsole material and improved upper fit. This shoe allows you to run naturally — faster with greater efficiency and less overuse injuries (like achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis). Recommended for any distance just like its complimentary race-day partner, the Neutral Performance Racer.
I took them for a quick spin yesterday, post-bike. My knee was a little funky and it was my first time running off the bike this year. I'm looking forward to tomorrow night, which is my next run. Can't wait.
In other cool news, I just got these in the mail:
Sweet, sweet Daily Mile stickers. I don't know where to put them!
On a final note, congrats to everyone who raced this last weekend and at Boston today! Awesome job, everyone!