Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What I Wear: Shoe Guide

New Balance 840 (11.6 oz) $85- These may have been my favorite trail shoe yet. Though listed at 11.6 ounces, they sure felt like they were closer to 10. These shoes had wonderful traction thanks to the cleat like design, and the low riding feel made me very confident running fast over rocky/uneven trails. I wore these when I wanted to bust out a fast 50k, or take on a challenging rock covered course. The range on this shoe had me PRing on the rocks of the Big Schloss 50k, to the roads and flat towpaths of the JFK 50. However, after 50 miles on the jagged Massanutten rocks, this shoe didn't quite provide enough protection (after 13 hours),and my feet started to hurt.The only other con is that the shoe started to lose its cushioning after "only" 7 ultramarathons and approx. 700 miles of training. Note: the 840 is no longer in production, otherwise I would keep wearing them.

New Balance MT100(7.8 oz) $75- Sorry,the picture wouldn't download. These shoes have been made famous by ultra stud/minimalists Kyle Skaggs and Tony Krupicka (crew-pitch-kuh). The shoe felt more cushioned, and more road friendly,than the previous NB 790. However, the shoe has retained a relatively agressive tread and a low to the ground feel. The lack of much of a tongue and racing flat design are intended to for efficient runners who want to go fast. Keep in mind that lack of weight means less rock protection. There are fewer overlays, and some people will find lateral transitions a bit sloshy. I wore this during a run on the rocky Massanutten mountain, and it did not grip well on the rocks. It was a bit sloppy for quick stride changes due to trail conditions. This will likely be a shoe people work up to running long in. For the right people, you could run 100 miles in it. I will personally be expecting this to function like a lighter shoe that performs like the 840 w/out the bulk. I hope to make this my go to 50k racer. Good for non rocky trails.

Brooks ASR 6(12.2 oz) $95- I had the priviledge of testing these for Brooks last spring. These are the trail version of the well like Adrenaline road shoe. Aside from more agressive treads, this still feels like a road shoe. I felt the heel was a bit clunky, and the shoe soaked up water way too much. It also felt a half size too big, and was not a good fit for narrow feet like mine. I would not recommend for very rocky trails. This would be an appropriate shoe for light trails and roads, but because of that why wouldn't I just opt to wear a lighter road shoe? For runners new to trails, these might just work.

Mizuno Wave Ascend 2 (12 ounces) $90- I put about 500 miles on these, including 21 straight hours during my run of the 71 mile Massanutten Trail Ring. This is a trail only shoe that does not feel good on roads, but is solid on everything else. The rock protection was great, and I only had one bad case of blisters during a 58+ mile run on a 90 degree day. Overall it drains well, can take a lot of rocky miles, but leave it at home for the street runs. This version has since been replaced the Ascend 3.

Montrail Mountain Masochist(10.8 oz) $90: This shoe is designed to take on conditions similar to the famed race. It's great for road to trail transitions, and will tackle some of the rougher stuff too. I actually dislike the design of the shoe. The tongue is too chunky, and the heel is far too high for a trail shoe. Although the heel cup was excellent at stabilizing, the thick heel made running on rocks very sketchy. This layout promotes a heel strike and off balance/ankle rolling feel. After cutting about a half inch off the heel, and pulling out the tongue padding(yes that sounds weird) the shoe was perfect. Note: too much stuffing in the tongue holds in water,thus making the shoe heavier. Cutting the heel and removing the padding allows for a more natural forefoot strike, and cuts several ounces off the weight. The gussetted tongue successfully kept debris out for the entirety of my last 50k trail run. During the same mountain 50k, the shoe felt solid all day. The only remainining issue was the heel cup cut up my heels on some of the steeper climbs. I had some pretty raw heels after the race that took a few days to heal (no pun intended).

Brooks Launch (9.3 oz) $90- haven't worn yet, but these will be my fast road shoes. I will use these for quick 10k tempo runs all the way to marathon, or even a non technical 50k/50 mile.

Nike MayFly (4.8 oz) $45- These feather weight shoes are designed for only 100k of use, but I have managed to go well beyond that. Like the Vibram 5 Fingers, people should build up the distance in these. Heavier runners will not do well with the non existent cushioning and zero support. At 155lbs, I can get away with it. I use this for indoor/outdoor track speed work, treadmills, and no more than 10 miles at a time on roads.

Brooks Racer ST4(8.6 oz) $85- This was my "go to" shoe for all things road. These are perfect for the marathon and shorter distances, but they were also just cushioned enough for me to run two 50 milers and one 50k trail run in them. Keep in mind that the 50 milers had very little rocky trail in them. I've put about 500 miles on these as well. Good for running fast, and running long.

Brooks Cascadia 5 (12oz) $90- a nice "green" upgrade of the award winning Scott Jurek designed trail shoe . This version has wider laces, and drains water more efficiently than other models. The liner also has a touch more cushion. The universal platform agian suites most feet and arch types. I put roughly 1,000 miles(and counting) on my Cascadia 3's. These shoes have run hundreds of miles through ice cold water, snow, sleet, mudd, rain, rocks, and whatever else you could throw at them. The Cascadia's are my shoe of choice for rocky 50k-100 mile events. Heck, they'll even feel good for a few hours on the roads if you like.

Brooks Ghost 2 (10.8 oz) $100- Good for very long road runs of marathon distance, or more. I would probably use these for non technical/road 50-100 milers, and 24 hour runs. They worked well for some track work outs, however they did feel a bit spungy, like there was too much cushion. A nice shoe for light and heavy framed runners with various arch types.

1 comment:

ultrarunnergirl said...

thanks for the shoe report. I love my New Balance WT100s. I'm also trying out several pair of new kicks! Fun to see what's out there.