Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall running

I am really enjoying running this fall. Since recovering from Wasatch and getting the school year rolling my legs have felt good and the running here in Idaho has been outstanding. It's also been a great time to experiment with some new shoes.

I must admit that I have been intrigued by minimalist footwear lately. Inspired by Anton and Kyle I have been curious about how my body would hold up using some of the lightweight shoes on the market these days.

Having run Wasatch in the Inov-8 295's I was wondering if I could survive even lighter shoes and still have support and traction. Over the past few weeks, since I haven't been training for anything, I have been running in the Inov-8 230's. They are really light! I have worried a bit about injuries from rocks and stuff but, for the most part, they have been fun to run in and they are holding up well. I am wondering what other people have experienced with some of the new lightweight shoes? In particular, I am curious about the following:

Are you more likely to get injured in superlight shoes?
Do the minimalists out there go through shoes more quickly because they're so light?
Do you switch brands and models more often with lightweight shoes than with "regular" shoes?
What's the longest run you've done in a shoe that's say, 8 ounces or less?
What's the best lightweight shoe on the market today?

OK, I know that last question is a bit unfair but I am curious. With so many new lightweight shoes out there it is difficult to keep them all straight.

I hope you're all enjoying a great fall running season.


Luke said...

I have been running i the Pearl Izumi Peak XC all summer. I have ran many technical and rocky trails in SE Idaho and in the tetons. The weigh 9 oz and I think they are a great shoe. I haven't put huge mileage in them yet but I have done up to 38 miles in them. They seem to be lasting about the same as any other trail shoe, 300-375 miles before they start feeling worked. I hope this helps.

BUC said...

I ran in the Pearl Izumi XC's at Bighorn. They were great. But that was it for them. Probably 20 miles before the race, plus 100 muddy miles, and the uppers were forming huge holes. I'm not a heavy guy, either (~155). That said, I bought another pair and got a 50 miler and 100 miler out of them. I'm sold on the minimalist shoe. Running is more free and fun without Cadillacs on your feet.

Anonymous said...

For the past 4 years I have run in the Montrail CD shoe, which I love. This year I switched to the Montrail Streak and greatly enjoyed them. However, I developed a tendon inflamation in the fourth toe. I went to a podiatrist (who runs ultras) last week and he said that running in these ultra-light shoes over such great distances is the dumbest thing you can do to my feet. He could not stress enough how I would really pay the price in foot problem later in life if I continued in such shoes.

I also find that on rockier terrain, such as Grand Tetons race, I cannot run the downs nearly as fast as I do not have the foot protection from a shoe like the CD.

I have read Anton's blog for sometime and look at how many foot injuries he has.

Are a few ounces going to make you run faster over 50 or 100 miles?

Are a few ounces going to make you win or lose a race?

Is it worth injury or long-term health?

That is my long two cents worth.

AJW said...


Thank you for your comments (and for those from your podiatrist). And, that is precisely why I asked the questions I asked in my post. I, too, have been running in beefier shoes my entire career and they have worked fine. That is why, at this time in my running life, I am curious about this lightweight shoe "movement". My instincts tell me to stick with 12-13 oz shoes but more and more the faster guys are going with 8-9 oz shoes. It'll be interesting to see how all this plays out over time as I am certainly in this thing for the long haul.


Geoff said...

i've tried ultralight shoes just a very little bit, but enough to see that they are not the right thing for me... but certainly they seem to work for some people. i feel like there are so many other things i could do to achieve faster times that it's kind of silly to get too wrapped up in what shoes i'm wearing... other than simply going with what's worked well in the past. if you've always used shoes with more support it would seem wise to me to stick with that unless you're unhappy with them for some reason. then again i do see where your curiosity comes from... it's a nice feeling to think that maybe we can become faster simply by using a new shoe. for 9 people out of 10 though i don't think it has anything to do with the shoes.

Brad Mitchell said...

The discussion of "gear" - where does it end? A sport which should be so simple yet we can make it so difficult.

Ultra light shoes - I think one should consider their foot type,do you over pronate or under pronate are high arched or flat footed? Do you need stability or cushioning to avoid injury to the compartment muscles of the lower leg and foot or to compensate for your foot strike? Also, are you wearing custom foot beds? Foot beds can easily add a couple ounces to a shoe. Your body type,are you 130lbs or 200lbs?

I'm not convinced ultra light shoes make you faster over the ultra distances. Especially if you are not able to carry your speed on the technical downhills or you cannot remain in effecient form due to worrying about smashing up your feet.

That said, I personally will be exploring some lighter shoes (9oz. range) for the 09 season. But, I'm a neutral runner weighing 135lbs wet and I exercise my compartment muscles regularly (you know the hippity - hoppity stuff, etc.)Some barefoot training defineatly has its place in a program for those wearing ultra lights.

I think exploring the lighter shoes is surley warranted but with caution and a constant monitoring of how your feet and lower legs are reacting.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't it make more sense to just drink less beer and lose a few pounds of fat. I think that would be a better way to lighten up rather than concentrating on 5-7 oz of footwear.

saschasdad said...

Nike Lunaracer - the sweetest 5 oz shoe out there. It's actually cushy AND super-light, which is a rare combination. (Probably not such a good shoe on rocky terrain)

That's the racer in me. The shoe-guy in me definitely agrees with Brad. Foot type, biomechanics, body type, running terrain, body weight, form, etc., all play a huge role in what shoes will work best for you. And, as with everything else in this crazy sport of ours, determining the best shoe is definitely an ongoing experiment of one.

Ty Draney said...

I ran the Bear in the Peak XC and it worked great. Wet conditions does cause the upper to fray and wear out. Every runner has a preference but I personally believe lighter is better...unless it causes injury.

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