When I first started running, I never had trouble with my feet or with my running shoes. My cousin– who first introduced me to running– set me up with a pair of Brooks for my first pair of “big girl” running shoes, and I LOVED them. Those shoes carried me through my first half marathon, and for that reason they will always have a very special place in my running memorabilia collection (super runner nerd right here, haha). I went on a Brooks streak for a few pairs after that, always buying a traditional style of running shoe. I was very happy with them until my fourth pair– then something seemed to change. It was not my Brooks– it was me. Something in my feet changed. My shoes were no longer comfortable on my longer runs. Eventually, my feet became uncomfortable during my short runs, too. I developed problems with my knees. I assumed it was just the shoe model causing me trouble. At the urging of a specialist at a local running store, I decided to give the Asics brand a shot. They set me up with the Asics GT-2000, which they called the “bread and butter” of the Asics line. My feet went numb running in them. Since they came so highly recommended, I thought maybe they were just too small, so I bought a size up. And guess what– my feet went numb running in the larger size, too. At that point, I felt like I was having a running shoe crisis. I guess I was! I had no idea what was going on with me, but every shoe I tried seemed to give me more and more trouble. This all happened while I was training for my first marathon. My training eventually succumbed to the issues I was having with my feet and knees and I wasn’t able to run the marathon that I had anticipated so much. I was devastated.
Since the advice from the local running store didn’t help, I decided to head over to Google and try to figure out what was going on with my lower half myself.
Although I had heard about “barefoot running” previously, I never really looked too far into it. I felt like I needed cushion and support to make my feet comfortable– the cushi-er, the better!! It just made logical sense to me.
But while researching my issues and researching the types of shoes that are popular with runners, I found a lot of info about the benefits of minimalist running. Apparently, recent research has shown that less may be more when it comes to running shoes. Although minimalist running is a hot debate right now, the findings seemed promising enough to make me want to try a more lightweight shoe. It couldn’t hurt, right?
To avoid risk of hurting my feet & legs further– which have always been used to a traditional, heavier running shoe– I didn’t want to go 100% barefoot right off the bat. So I started looking for shoes that met my self-designed criteria: lightweight, low heel-to-toe drop (but not completely flat), super-good-looking (yes, this is important to me, haha), runner tested and approved, comfortable, and reasonably priced.
Enter: the Saucony Kinvara line.
This line fit every single criteria above, so I decided to give them a shot. I bought my first pair of Kinvaras in December of 2012– a hot pink and white Kinvara 3. When I first tried them on, they were so light on my feet and comfortable. They were slightly cushioned, but they were so lightweight and fitting that it felt like I was wearing nothing. I couldn’t wait to test them out on a run.
Once I did, I knew there was no going back to a traditional style of shoe for me! I loved them. I felt so natural running, and I had no problems with my feet at all. No numbness in my feet, no knee pain– nothing. Although every runner is built differently, these shoes are so comfortable to me. It feels like I have nothing on my feet despite the fact that the cushioning is still there. After my discouragement in having to forgo my first marathon and my fear that my body was no longer designed to run, these shoes truthfully brought back my love for and my faith in running. I’m not sure what changed in my body and why, but now I’m more comfortable running the way we as humans are designed to run– and I’m perfectly okay with that.
The 3rd generation went on sale two weeks ago at runningwarehouse.com. I couldn’t help myself– I bought two more pairs! I’m in running shoe heaven right now! I wore one new pair to a race last weekend and the other new pair on a 7-mile training run this weekend. I don’t feel like these shoes need to broken in at all. Now the only problem I have is deciding which ones to wear for which race… Ah, the turmoils of a running shoe addict. =)
What’s your favorite pair of running shoes??