I say “my” perfect shoes not “the” perfect shoes because every runner is a special unicorn and every runner has their own special unicorn stride. Especially dudes because have you SEEN Evan Jager loop a track? Damn. So, no, I haven’t found THE perfect running shoes because there isn’t such a thing. But MY perfect pair? Found ‘em—and on accident, nonetheless.
But first, let’s get GOOD vs. RIGHT out of the way.
After all my years of running with Dystonia, it didn’t hit me until mile four of eight this morning how necessary the RIGHT shoes are for your special unicorn stride, not just GOOD ones. There are lots of good shoes out there—fantastic, even—and I have probably run in most of them, but the shoe for YOU is different.
Throughout college, I ran in the comfiest neutral shoes provided by our team: Asics GT 2000, Nike Pegasus, Mizuno Wave Rider, etc.—all GOOD shoes. Each pair carried me through hard workouts and races. You know, pushing hard and being animals.
But back then, during my college running days, things were different because my stride was different, and I didn’t have to pay much attention to it. I was smooth, controlled, POWERFUL. Each landing and push-off felt like a perfectly rehearsed piece of choreography. Good form came easy, and so did fitting into and taking off in whatever shoe I slipped on. I never thought about having the RIGHT shoe because my stride and I made do with a GOOD one.
The past six years it’s been different. Dystonia—an incurable neurological condition—makes it that way. I don’t always know how my foot will hit the ground or where. I have to pay attention to the road in front of me, watching for things like cracks and debris that often cause me to trip since my feet sometimes can’t make it off the pavement high enough. That’s why I need the RIGHT shoe.
I need less drop because my ankles are unstable and roll easy.
I need thicker material because my feet kick each other and wear it down.
I need a durable sole because my feet drag when symptoms get really bad.
I need shorter laces because I have to tie my shoes extra tight to keep my feet secure.
If it sounds nuts it’s because it is nuts, but it’s not wrong. No stride is wrong. That’s why we don’t need GOOD shoes to fit our feet into, but the RIGHT shoes that fit US and our strides.
Years ago I was a cushy, comfort gal. The Pegasus and the Brooks Glycerin were my jam. You can’t get softer or more aaaahhhh while also keeping the flexibility and food security intact.
Those are GOOD shoes—GREAT ones, actually—but not the RIGHT ones anymore for me.
This morning I didn’t intend to run.
This is where the “accidentally” part comes in. I went out for a walk, but a walk turned into a few shuffles, then a few shuffles turned into small pick-ups on the grass (where my legs and strides feel the most comfortable) and I started to realize how amazing these shoes I had only used for walking felt while I was running.
Thicker outer but still breathable.
The NIKE FREE TR 6.
It’s a TRAINING SHOE, of all things, not meant for running. And they’re not RIGHT for all strides, but they sure are for mine.
Check the specs.
It’s my RIGHT shoe that’s also FANTASTIC (good).
After all those miles of walk/run/sprint (ish) my feet felt great and so did my knees, hips, and groin—three areas that usually give me trouble after that distance in more cushioned pair of shoes. I even headed to the gym for weights and core. The transition from road to gym floor was seamless.
I encourage you and PUSH you to test the hell out of the shoes available on the market. Don’t settle for a GOOD shoe. I was brand loyal for a long time, but things changed, and so my shoes changed.
Push on, PUSH ANIMALS >>>