I've never written a Running Shoe Quest post before, but I decided to go ahead and date this one just in case.
I've been having all kinds of random health issues for the past year. Nothing major, thank goodness. I did have some herniated discs (ok, so not minor), but after PT, time, and some serious determination, that's gotten a lot better. I am just uber conscientious about how I sit, stand, walk, run, and move in general. Yoga stretches have been modified, etc. I have super tight hamstrings. Running, probably. :)
The biggest detriment to my running has been my right knee. I also did PT for that, which didn't help for long. I kept with it, but it wasn't doing enough. I started doing my own mix of that PT with heavier weights, and that seems to have helped. I switched back to my NB Minimus Trail shoes (over my Altra's), to see if that heped, and I think it did. I'm also trying out more stair-climber machine at the gym, which I HATE because I am so uncoordinated that I have to stare at my feet constantly. Seriously. Something's wrong with me.
I ran a random (flat) 5mi when a friend was in town, in my NB, and didn't have any issues. I did notice that my feet hurt by the time we got back to harder surfaces. So, I think the fact that my Altras as a little too big and letting my feet slide around is an issue.
All that theorizing has led me to the conclusion that I need a new pair of snug, neutral, minimal, yet padded, running shoes. Do these even exist? I have set out to find some!
Here's a long list of ones I've come across that seem like they'll fit the bill:
Saucony Virata 2 (18mm stack height)- Nope. My toes felt way too constricted! Even more so than in my NB. This was surprising, since they *looked* wider in the toe box. They were cushy and awesome, though. *sigh*
Newton MV3 (17mm stack height) - Padding is just what I'm looking for, except the weird nub things on the bottoms! This my first time trying Newtons, and apparently that's their schtick. They're really light and sock-like, which is awesome. I just can't get past the nubs things. I'm not willing to take a chance on these shoes and be out that kind of dough. If I could return them after running in them for a few months and decided I don't like them after all, I would. But God they're ugly.
Merrell Bare Access Arc 3 (13.5mm stack height) - The jury is still out on these. They have a great toe box, and the padding is what I'm looking for (not too much), but there's a weird bump all the way across the middle of the shoe under my arch. Is that what the "Arc" in the name is all about? I have high arches and this bump is driving me nuts so far. I have to remember that when I used to run a lot more in my NB, one of my complaints was that after a while, the small medial arch support there started to hurt. It felt like my arches (which are pretty strong) were slamming against that, and not being able to do their job. That's my hypothesis, anyway. It hurt. So these shoes...are they going to do the same thing? Or are they what I need? Why can't I try out running shoes and send them back!?
NB Minimus Zero v2 (11mm stack height)- These sound perfect. But they feel almost identical to the ones I'm trying to replace. If I could run for a long time on them, I would know whether or not the small amount of extra padding and "RevLite midsole" really does keep my feet from pounding so hard on pavement. What I really love about these? The flat shoe laces.
Skora Form (13mm stack height) - ERMAGHERD. $200 shoes? These sound awesome, but no. I just wanted to put them int this list because I had never heard of them before, and I was thinking at first they were ripoffs, but after reading up on them, they're faaaancy! But thanks to Gizmodo, I'm not buying a pair. Blergh.
I'm glad I made this list, because now I've got all the stack heights listed. And the least I'm willing to go with is around 13mm, it seems. My current NB are 10mm (forefoot) and 15mm (heel).
Mizuno Evo Levitas and Cursoris look cool, but have been discontinued? I can't find them on Mizuno.com
Back to the Interwebs!
Update: Skora Fit (16 mm stack height) - has more padding and is more reasonably priced. I didn't realize that all their shoes are zero drop. I think I shall try a pair! *crossing fingers*
I also decided I can't do the weird arch thing with the Merrells, so back they go. :(