Chasing 42

Life, the Universe, & Running

The Evolution of Running Shoes: I’m Coming Clean

I’ve fought the urge to publish this post for quite some time. I don’t think I have a problem. I just like variety in my life, and get tired of the same footwear options. There’s nothing wrong with that, right? I know I’m not the only one with a ridiculous number of shoes in the closet, but mine is the only closet I see on a regular basis. In truth, “closet” really means “spread out over three closets and the basement”. However, I should at least attempt to explain myself before opening up my closet to you. After all, shoes are an intimate part of a runner’s world. We spend countless hours researching the right brand, fit, size, width, lacing system, foot bed, weather resistance, stack height, and toe box size. Ok, maybe not EVERY runner does this, but I can’t be the only one, right? Tell me that you are out there and understand. Tell me that you are with me, and lace up with me in solidarity. Tell me that you understand the following VERY logical observations, which have led to my present condition.

1. Rotating shoes strengthens the muscles in your foot in different ways. It is also proven to reduce injury.

2. Shoes used for speed work are just lighter and provide a different feel than heavier trainers for long-distance runs.

3. The weather is clearly unpredictable, so having an extra pair in case your main shoes are still soaking wet just makes sense.

4. Most running shoes are still in really good shape, even after 400 or 500 miles, so tossing them just seems silly.

5. Old running shoes are great for yard work, or the occasional mud run that you know will result in sending them straight to the garbage afterwards.

6. Some running shoes happen to make solid casual footwear choices for everyday wear. There’s nothing wrong with that!

7. After 400 or 500 miles, you get attached to a pair of shoes. They are like the old hoodie you’ve had for 10 years. They deserve a proper burial.

As you can see, the research and logic behind my…ummm…arsenal…are quite sound! So, without further adieu, I shall take you on a tour of my shoes. Comments on many of the shoes in these photos are including in the “What’s On My Feet” section as well. The overall evolution of my running shoes can be captured in 5 stages.

Stage 1- Brand New: It's not uncommon to have a reserve pair ready to go.

Stage 1- Brand New: It’s common to have a reserve pair ready to go.

Stage 2- In Use: At the moment, I happen to have 6 different pairs of shoes in rotation. I promise they all serve a purpose!

Stage 2- In Use: At the moment, I happen to have 6 different pairs of shoes in rotation. I promise they all serve a purpose!

Stage 3- Casual Wear: Running shoes, wether new or retired, can make great everyday shoes as well.

Stage 3- Casual Wear: Running shoes, whether new or retired, can make great everyday shoes as well.

Stage 4- Yard work: Old running shoes are perfect for getting things done outside. It's like putting a horse out to pasture gracefully, right?

Stage 4- Yard work: Old running shoes are perfect for getting things done outside. It’s like putting a horse out to pasture gracefully, right?

Stage 5- Purgatory: They've outlived their usefulness but I just can't seem to bury them once and for all. I might need them for something!

Stage 5- Purgatory: They’ve outlived their usefulness but I just can’t seem to bury them once and for all. I might need them for something!

There you have it. The five stages of running shoe life, unmasked before your blog-viewing eyes. Ironically, I’ve been on a minimalist life kick lately, and have been striving to get rid of as many unnecessary possessions in my life as possible. Somehow, my mind hasn’t quit acclimated to that idea with regard to my running shoes. I probably shouldn’t even mention that my inventory of casual and dress shoes MAY just need their own post altogether. So what does your running shoe closet(s) look like? Do you regularly purge? Do you rotate shoes or stick to your trusty trainers? The confessional booth is open!

 

 

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6 thoughts on “The Evolution of Running Shoes: I’m Coming Clean

  1. How is it that I *live* with you and still didn’t realize it had gotten this bad? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I love the different “stages” you have declared for the shoes. I too have many different shoes in stages 1-4, but I typically don’t allow them in purgatory. Once they’ve reached that stage, they usually end up in the “can” and are one the feet of an angel ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. I was always a running shoe hoarder too, but honestly, since I made the switch to Altras, I’ve gotten rid of most of my others.

    I’m with you though, I always save a pair for everyday use, that I no longer run in, and I usually use my newly retired pair, as work shoes. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Runners love their shoes! My hubby always complains….

  4. Wow, someone with a greater number of stages than me. ๐Ÿ™‚

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