Monday, September 19, 2011

Cool Kicks

Ever since I started running seriously I’ve worn Asics 1100's. Several sales people over the years have told me that I’m a mild over pronator and, having no reason not to, I’ve always believed them. Being imperfect in many other ways, it was reasonable to believe that my stride needed some correction as well.

The Asics 1100's are cheap, durable, stability shoes and they’ve served me well. I’ve never (knock—all around the world—on wood) had a real injury. A few black toenails, yes, but nothing much beyond that. Sometimes, though, I have my doubts about using such a cheap model. I think, well, maybe I should “move up” to something better, lighter, fancier. I let marketing get the best of me and dream of having some cool kicks. (I understand that this is not a smart way to think about running shoes, but let's be honest, everyone wants cool shoes.)

So when I went to pick up my race packet for the Mercè 10k, I stopped by the Adidas display and got my gait analyzed. The salesman informed me that I have a neutral gait and when I looked at him, a bit incredulous, he showed me the computer-generated images of my neutral landing, high-arched foot. I’m not sure if this means that all the past analyzers were wrong or that my gait has changed. It’s true that my foot looks thinner and a bit bonier than it used too…Have I finally lost my baby fat?

So, yes, now I have a perfect excuse to get some cool kicks right away. On the one hand I fugure I should order some new, neutral shoes, but I’m also worried that changing up will lead to injury. Am I ready to run free, without stability?

Any hints? Have you changed from stability to neutral shoes? Has your gait changed over the years? Any shoes that changed your life and turned you into a speed demon?


  1. I changed from a slightly cushioned but still neutral shoe to more minimalist shoes this summer and to be honest I wish that I had not. I think that they were a major factor in my current IT band injury.

  2. I think going into a neutral is less dramatic than the other direction. If you do try it, keep it very low distance, etc until you know for sure there's no pain or discomfort. Good luck!

  3. I would not change. If the Asics series1100, you do well, still with them. I have always used the Asics series 2100.

  4. I've never been very brand-loyal in terms of my shoes. I'm also supposedly a mild overpronator, though I have high arches too. I'm currently in Asics (I forget which ones--isn't that awful?) and they're fine. But Saucony and New Balance were fine too. It's fun to change it up sometimes, and I had a salesguy tell me it's actually better for your feet to change it up. Makes sense to me!