by mims on April 27, 2012
(Disclaimer: I’m not a running shoe expert, I’ve only had three running shoes including this new one, and the other one wasn’t even mine. I don’t even know some of these shoe jargon terms. So yeah, don’t go spending RM600 based on this review alone!)
I’ve had my Nike Free 7.0 for about two years now, having logged more than 2000km on them. I love my Frees but some of the rubber parts on the outsole have fallen off, so I started tinkering with the thought of getting a new pair of running shoes.
Initially I thought I’d go for the new Nike Free 3.0/4.0/5.0. I tested the 5.0s and found the sole too soft and absorb-y (not a real word, I know) for my liking, and the upper mesh is not soft enough to allow me to wear it sockless. Perfunctorily tried 3.0 and 4.0s too, but I found myself still favouring my current 7.0. Upper mesh not soft enough.
My criterias for the new shoes are
- MUST be able to run sockless in it. (this is not due for some ergonomic reason, it’s just that I’m too lazy and disorganized to deal with socks)
- perhaps something a bit sturdier than the Nike Free, for the one magical and foolhardy day I sign up for a full marathon in the unkown future
- light, cannot be heavier than my current shoes
- will improve my midfoot/forefoot strike
At RM349, my Nike Free was probably the most I’ve ever spent on a pair of shoes. Before the Nike Free I ran in my sister’s running shoes (she was a track runner at school/college) until they completely fell apart. The thought of having to spend close to RM400 for some shoes petrifies me. So I can’t simply go around buying running shoes just to ‘try’. It has to last another 2000km! Careful consideration and extensive research must apply to this decision.
I asked around and some friends are recommending Brooks, NB and OnGo, among others. I was also curious about Saucony Kinvara. Research! Research!
Cue my impulsive nature.
Yesterday I was at Gardens, meeting with a client. After the meeting (and spending unsupposed amount of time at the Art Friend shop buying pens and sketchbooks) I thought I’d try on some running shoes. They have 2xU, Nike, NB, Adidas and World of Outdoors on one stretch. Excellent.
I decided I’d try with 2xU first, since they have some Brooks shoes I’ve been meaning to try.
I never made it to the other shops.
In my defense
- I tried most of the Brooks shoes, they are generally light and low, which I liked, but the fit was a bit off. I think my feet are too broad for Brooks shoes (and I’ve tried the mens ones too!)
- the Newton Universal Racer seemed comfy enough to be worn without socks
- I was curious about the lugs and how it will correct my running form
- also light
- also on 30% discount (original price RM599)
Took the Newtons to the gym for its first run today. The Newtons have these curious things called lugs, located under your midfoot area. It raises your midfoot area higher than your heel area (at least it felt that way) and walking in it made me feel like a duck. Definitely a shoe made for running only.
The idea of the lugs is to force you to hit the ground with your forefoot/midfoot. It is IMPOSSIBLE to heel strike in these shoes, without feeling like a sloppy marauding giant. All this while with my Nike Free, I’ve always thought of myself as a midfoot striker, and I’ve prided myself for being able to run quietly on the treadmill, with efficient smallish strides.
After today’s run in the Newtons, I will have to admit that I might’ve been over-generous with that assumption. Today I felt like a giant clumsy oaf, and it shocked me how loud my steps were on the treadmill. It felt like learning how to run all over again, and actually landing on your forefoot (as the Newtons will force you to do) was not a smooth transition from my current running style, which I (wrongly) thought was forefoot-ly enough. It was night and day.
I was basically tiptoeing the whole 6km. Another way to describe this is like you’re running over hot coals. What I noticed is that my form automatically corrected itself, running this way, because it’s not possible to hunch or slouch when you’re running over hot coals. I also noticed that I’m relying more on my calf muscles, instead of the knees and thighs. That slight strain on my upper thigh dissapeared running this way, although I’m not sure it’s because of the form or the strain has healed.
I was limping after 6.8km. And I’m pretty sure my calves will let me have it tomorrow.
I’m pretty determined to run the Sundown Marathon in these loud pink shoes, so hopefully one month is sufficient time to adapt to this new running style.
Will let you know how it goes!
Some other minor things
- had a bit of a blister on my toe (I run sockless), but I’m hoping this is due to the ‘new shoe’ feeling
- the shoelaces can be a bit annoying, whipping around your feet if you don’t tuck it inside
- Newton suggests that you go one /.5 size up from your normal size with their shoes, so that your toes won’t hit the front part of the shoe while forefoot-striking. At first I worried that my shoes might come off or chafe while running, turned out to be just fine. Only when walking you may feel a bit funny.
- love the upper mesh, which is basically all holes. feet feels properly ventilated and airy.