What's In a Shoe?

I wrote this post on Nike Free Runs versus Reebok RealFlex ages ago and it still is my most viewed post. In all time, it has been viewed over 4,500 times and sometimes I wonder why. I didn't realize when I wrote this that I was opening a can of worms in some regards. I didn't realize the debate between these two shoes versus the "true" minimalist shoes out there. I was just writing about two pairs of shoes I knew and ran in.

My thoughts on them are the same and I really don't run in either anymore. I don't have a single "go-to" shoe or brand for all my runs like some runners may. Perhaps it is because I haven't found my "sole-mate" yet. You know, the one that was meant for me for life!

But I couldn't not say anything when I see that this post is being viewed so much.

There isn't one shoe out there that is perfect for all runners because we are all very different. We each need to pick and choose the shoe that is best for us and not to worry too much about what others might say or think. Yes, Free Runs and RealFlex aren't true minimalist shoes but if they are what you want and you feel good running in them, go on and run! I personally still feel the RealFlex provide a bit more stability if that is something you need. I think I got injured with the Free Runs but not because of the shoe itself, I ran months and months and months in them, but because I ran so much in them and didn't pay close enough attention to the sole. The shoe was breaking down and I missed it. On that note, the Nike Free Runs don't seem to allow me to run as many miles in them as say the Brooks Adrenaline. Now that is a hardy shoe!

So what do I factor in when I am choosing a running shoe?

Fit - Try the shoes on, on both feet, and see how they feet. Are they snug where they need to be, is the toe box roomy for you, do you feel good in them? I have never been professionally measured or evaluated but I do listen to myself a lot during my fitting.

Weight - What are you really looking for? I tend to go for lighter weight shoes but do have some heavier ones for training purposes. For example, my newer Nike Flywire are heavier and less flexible than most of my shoes but they fit well and I thought, give them a try. And yes, I bounce the shoe around in my hand a bit to evaluate the weight and feel of the shoe.

Flexibility - This is important to me. I want a shoe that moves with my foot. I bend and test the shoe to see how it responds.

Price - In a perfect world I would say this is not a factor but I am a mom and money needs to not be totally splurged on my shoes. I tend to spend a good amount on running shoes and don't buy the cheapest out there. My feet deserve a good shoe. But I also keep my eyes out for sales. For example, my first pair of Saucony was due to a great price at a store. And my latest two pairs of running shoes were purchased at a Nike discount store. Great prices and I committed since they fit the first three criteria - fit, weight, flexibility.

Looks - Not really a true factor but if I had a choice, I would go pink! It is just more uplifting to tie on brightly colored shoes and sometimes that is the toughest part of the battle....tying up the shoes so you can go run!

Today I am grateful for:
  • Being able to share my viewpoint on shoes
  • Warm coffee
  • The Giants winning because it makes dear hubby happy
  • Volunteers at work
  • Closed toed shoes


  1. I'm a Nike Free Run shoe lover! www.dashingdiva.net

  2. I could care less about shoes....I have to try them on to know if they are for me or not. but I LOVE reading your end things you're grateful for everyday :D such a great outlook!

  3. You definitely have to take the time to find a shoe that works for you! I tried a number of different road shoes before finding Brooks Green Silence. I had almost 400 on the first pair and 150 on my current pair. I loved the MT 101's, but my feet ripped through the sides. I'm hoping the 110's in the wide will be a great fit. I do, however, really, really LOVE the La Sportiva Crosslites for the trails.


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