Three days ago I went out and bought a pair of Saucony ProGrid Kinvara running shoes. My search for the perfect running shoe has been a long and expensive road. I’ve come to the conclusion that the high heel “support” shoe is one of the most successful con jobs ever foisted on a population. Serious runners and even podiatrists are convinced that two hundred thousand years of evolution have resulted in a poorly designed foot and thank goodness technology is here to solve the problem. Humans have been running injury free for two hundred millennia. We’ve been plagued with running injuries in the three and a half decades since Nike released the first high heeled “jogging” shoe; it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out the math.
For twenty five years I ran on either the cheapest or the most colorful Nike I could find at the local mall store. Five stress fractures in three years made me rethink my lackadaisical attitude toward footwear. Looking at my pile of barely used shoes I wonder if perhaps I went a bit overboard.
A year ago I picked up a pair of Brooks T5 racers and fell in love. My training partners labeled my newfound practice of training for an Ironman in racing flats crazy. The T5 were great but like most minimalist shoes they had a short life span. I replaced the T5’s with Scott T2’s which use a more subtle version of the rocker sole we see all too often on those goofy “roll along” shoes. The Scotts were good, but when I ran the Onionman in June I dusted off the Brooks.
Running in the Scotts I ended up with another stress fracture, in all fairness I don’t think the crack was due to the shoes but now that I’m back to running I went out looking for something new. The Kinvara appear to be just what I’m looking for – an ultra lightweight minimalist training shoe. I’ve only worn the shoes on two short runs but so far so good.
I’m not a barefoot runner, but I can see the logic – if it works for you heck yeah do it. I think a minimalist running shoe is the idea middle ground between those obnoxious cinder block-like “stability” shoes and naked feet. Right now I’m dreaming of competing in the Portland Marathon, we’ll see how it goes as I gently return to running.