Need some shoe advice... (Read 1683 times)

davis in p-town

    Hi everyone,


    First official post! I ran in traditional shoes for a few years, then gradually transitioned to Saucony Kinvaras since last November. During the last Month, I've completely transitioned out of the Kinvara into two pairs of Pumas that I actually bought years ago for casual use, but they're both at or nearly zero drop and have much better road feel than the Kinvara. My primary shoe, one I've used exclusively for the last few weeks on everything from 4.5 mile intervals to a 10.6 miler this past Saturday, has been a pair of Puma XC shoes. They're light, flexible, have little cushioning, and I love them, and I wonder if the VFFs, seemingly the next logical step, are right for me. I saw the Merrell True Gloves are available, but the reviews I've read have been less than stellar. I'm looking for small, light, and flexible, but something that can potentially hold up to marathon training.


    I suppose the simple answer is to go to a store with VFFs, Merrells, and XC shoes, but such a store fails to exist in Indianapolis that I've seen. I only know of two retailers that carry VFFs, let alone Merrells, and no one has XC shoes right now. As it is, most XC shoes are half the cost of VFFs, the Merrells, or other running shoes, but I imagine they wear out faster. Should I just stick with what works? Anyone have any recommendations for XC shoes or trainers that wear like XC but may be more durable?


    Thanks for the help, everyone!



    Half Fanatic #846

      Have you checked out reviews for the Altra Adam or the Saucony Hattori? - ones I have considered.  I now have the Merrel Shoe Glove and was disappointed in the stiffness of the sole, but I might learn to like it - only have 30 miles on 'em.  Anyway, all 3 of these have "zero heel drop" and weigh 4-6 ounces.  Check out minimalist shoe reviews at  www.runblogger.com.  Also,  www.eastbay.com  has a lot of racing flats to check out. Or you could stick with what works - you know what they say..."If it ain't broke...".


      And, you might want to look at the Barefoot Runners group here at RA for more info.  Welcome to the site and good luck!    

      "I don't always roll a joint, but when I do, it's usually my ankle" - unk.                          Run like the winded

       I ran half my last race on my left foot!                   "Frankly autocorrect, I'm getting a bit tired of your shirt"



        Athletic Annex
        1411 W. 86th St.
        Indianapolis, IN, US
        Visit website

        Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject. - S.J.

          Why not get a pair of Puma XC shoes?  They're light, flexible, have little cushioning and you love them.

          Runners run.

          davis in p-town

            mikeymike, I intended to do just that, but was unsuccessful at the Puma store I visited and on seemingly all of the websites I visited. Additionally, most of Puma's XC shoes (or most that I've found) are spiked.


            I love the runblogger website and it was there I read a lot about transitioning safely into minimalist shoes. It's a great site with excellent reviews!


            LedLincoln, I just spent the better part of the last half hour pouring over the Athletic Annex website and all of its options... Perfect. Seems like a great place to try out a bunch of different shoes and grab what will work. Thanks for the recommendation!


            Thanks for the help, friends. Happy running this Spring.


              Hey davis, I've no great info or advice on the topic.  Just wondering... what town is p-town?


              davis in p-town

                Plainfield, IN. I suppose to me p-town sounded more interesting than Plainfield. Great trail system, though, and without it I wouldn't be a runner.

                Best Present Ever

                  Plainfield, IN. I suppose to me p-town sounded more interesting than Plainfield. Great trail system, though, and without it I wouldn't be a runner.

                   For east coast folks, at least in my social circles, p-town is Provincetown, MA.

                     For east coast folks, at least in my social circles, p-town is Provincetown, MA.


                    In the Tidewater area of Virginia it's Portsmouth, VA and is somewhat synonymous with the bad part of town.


                    For the shoe question, I've been having the same dilemma.  It's hard to find stores that have the minimal shoes available to try on.  I lucked into one pair of the Merrell trail gloves at the local Merrell outlet and was very disappointed in how they fit.  Very pronounced arch support and the back of the shoe dug into my achilles.  I just got (like in the mail today) a pair of Inov-8 195's and I like the way they fit.  They are a touch heavy (7.7 oz) but only a 3 mm heel to toe drop (6mm to 3mm).

                       For east coast folks, at least in my social circles, p-town is Provincetown, MA.


                      That's how I read it.

                      Runners run.

                        Cross country shoes:  http://www.runningwarehouse.com/catpage-MXC.html?SHOW=NOBRAND&ctype=comp


                        Road Racing shoes:  http://www.runningwarehouse.com/catpage-MRAC.html?SHOW=NOBRAND


                        I did not link track spikes, because they're usually pieces of junk when used for anything else.


                        There are a few Puma shoes in each category you can check out.


                        If you want to go super minimal and are confused by having so many options, I recommend:

                        adidas adizero Rocket

                        ASICS Piranha 3

                        Brooks Mach 12

                        Brooks T6

                        Mizuno Wave Universe

                        Nike Air Zoom Streak XC 2

                        Saucony Grid Type A4


                          Try Runners Forum on the north side just off Keystone.  I had a good experience there a few weekends ago.  Kind of a drive for me, but I'll go back.

                            I have a pair of New Balance MT101s that I love.  They are very similar to the spikeless XC shoes with a tiny bit more protection.  They aren't as pricey as the "cooler" minimalist shoes either.


                            You can order them on Runningwarehouse dot com, order a couple of sizes and send back the ones that don't fit.

                            davis in p-town

                              For those concerned, I purchased two pairs of shoes a few weeks ago and I'm ready to report initial findings. I got the VFF Bikilas and the Saucony Shay XC and have put about 10 miles on the Bikilas and 25 on the Shays.


                              I think the Bikilas I bought are too big. I tried the size smaller in the store but for some reason they didn't feel comfortable and I went up a size. The store wouldn't let me take the shoe outside and only run up and down the aisles inside the store (maybe 50 feet and crowded). After purchase, I ran on an indoor track in them, two runs (4 and 6 miles respectively) and my feet were sore. Felt like my toes and balls of my feet were burning, especially during and after the 6-miler. Had a nice abrasion on the medial insole after the 6-mile run as well. The heel doesn't hold very tight and I can move my feet in them easier than I feel I should. They are not a "second skin." I felt like there was little gait improvement, and maybe because I wanted it to be, not because improvement was actually made.


                              The Shays, on the other hand, are great! The forefoot sole is stiffer than what I'm used to, so it provides a nice power transfer for sprints and hills. The forefoot seems thicker than the heel, creating almost a negative drop and making landing on the fore/mid foot super easy. Perhaps not as easy as the Bikila, but I'm still breaking in the Shays. The shoe is light, but it isn't as flexible as the Puma XCs in which I've been running previously, but the Shays are a great addition to the arsenal. And they were only $30.


                              I'll attempt to return the Bikilas but I already tossed the box and receipt (smart). The store can reproduce the receipt, and the box probably isn't a big deal, but I don't know if I'll exchange the Bikilas or just take a store credit. They're cool, they're novel, but I wonder if they're more than that. I probably do need to build up mileage in them as it is different running in Bikilas than XCs.


                              Thoughts are welcome. Thanks for the assistance, friends!