“I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything’s right,” Paolo Nutini sings. There’s just something about new shoes. This will be the pair that I love every step, I tell myself. This will be the pair that make me feel light and free, yet cushion my entire foot just the right amount from impact. This will be the pair that take me farther and faster than the others. They are neon green hope held tight with bright turquoise laces.
I tried on about a half dozen of them in the running store, prancing through the racks of technical tees in an exaggerated jog, scrutinizing each step. Too much forefoot squish in one. Heels slipping out of another. One pair I was set to dislike from the beginning because I’ve never liked anything from the entire brand, so of course I didn’t like them, even though they didn’t feel bad at all.
I’ve worn lots of different brands of shoes and seem to fall in and out of love each time. For my first marathon, I wore minimalist Merrells. (That was a mistake.) Like so many people at that time, I had read Born to Run and was thoroughly convinced that next-to barefoot was the way to go. (It’s not.)
For my downhill marathon in Utah, I wore Altras. Still considered relatively minimalist, the roomy, zero-drop (aka flat-footed) shoes worked well for me, despite the black toes I earned slamming my nails against the front of my shoes careening down the mountain. But when I went to buy my next pair of those, I was disappointed that the model had changed a bit and the toe box roominess suddenly felt like clown shoe ridiculousness.
For marathons three and four, I was a Nike girl. The Lunaracers were light and airy, but could handle a bit of pounding. I can’t exactly say why I stopped wearing those. From a vanity point of view, I have to say they are not the sexiest pair of kicks. With a skinny toe box and a wide heel, they are the running version of a Weeble. Or a bowling pin. I decided to try something different.
For easy and/or long runs, I have been wearing New Balance Fresh Foam in a couple of different versions for the past year or so. They are fairly light for a trainer and fit my feet well. But for track and racing, I have fallen head over heels for Saucony’s Type A6. My size 8s weigh an impossibly light 5 ounces and feel like next to nothing on my feet, yet provide just enough cushioning over the pavement. I wore these for my last Boston and couldn’t have been happier with them.
So when it came time to get another pair of trainers, it was Saucony for the win. I went with the Kinvara 7. I’m hoping they will give me many miles of happy feet for the start of my new marathon cycle (four months to go!).
And I’m also hoping that Paolo Nutini is right.