Another shoe to try out is on the list, the Saucony Kinvara

May 16, 2010

After talking with John at Rogue Equipment I’ve decided to give another show a try, and from a totally new brand. It’s the Saucony Kinvara. I haven’t tried them on since they aren’t available yet but John got a pair to try out and described them to me and I think I’ll have to give them a go. He hasn’t done me wrong on show advice yet so I’ll have to give it a go.

Saucony Kinvara

Some of the highlights from John on the Kinvara compared to the Brooks Launch that have been my trainer of choice for over a year:

  • The Kinvara is lighter maybe 1.5 oz lighter than the Launch.
  • It’s a little firmer than the launch. The softness of the Launch has been one challenge with them for me from a responsiveness standpoint so the comparison will be interesting.
  • The upper is made of three layers, which may or may not be something each person likes.
  • It’s relatively flat. In John’s words “A standard training shoe runs 24mm under the heel, 12 mm under the forefoot.  The Launch is lower, 22/11.  The Kinvara is 18/14.  18 is low, for sure, but 14 is really unusual.  So it serves to bring the foot to a natural position.  Or closer to it, anyway.”. Note to self: be careful with the flatness and ease into wearing the shoes to avoid any issues with my my calf and Achilles.

So pretty soon my running shoes will consist of this colorful bunch.

Brooks Launch

Saucony Kinvara

Brooks Green Silence

Nike Lunarracer+ 2


Trying another shoe, the Nike LunarRacer+ 2

April 25, 2010

Yes, I try on many running shoes so enough with the jokes and snickering. Asia had a review of these shoes on her blog. We were talking about them and she convinced me that I should give the Nike LunarRacer+ 2 a try, so I picked up a pair at Rogue yesterday.

Nike LunarRacer +2

I’ll come out with it now. I’ve never liked running in a pair of Nike shoes until today. Blasphemy you say!! It may be but I’ve never liked a pair of Nike running shoes until these. One thing I’ve found very annoying about most Nike running shoes, expect for the Nike Streak which I like to wear around more as a casual shoe, is the cut for the ankle. It just rides way too high. Take a look at the image of the Lunar Trainer below for example and how high the shoe runs in the ankle area. This just made running in these near impossible. The other thing I’ve found annoying is the toe box, it tends to be to tight for my feet. This is a complaint I’ve heard from a few runners.

Nike Lunar Trainer

We’ll the LunarRacer+ 2 takes care of both of these issues and brings some positives of its own. My training shoe of choice recently has been the Brooks Launch and I just raced the Boston Marathon in the Brooks Green Silence. You can find my reviews of those shoes on my blog. Asia wrote a great review on the LunarRacer +2 already so I won’t repeat much of what she’s already pointed out. For me the best things about the shoes are they’re light, have a very natural feel, and are soft and cushioned. They feel very natural to run in and the upper doesn’t really feel like it’s there and doesn’t restrict movement at all. The sole is nice and soft but responsive. It’s also two ounces lighter than the Launch and looks just as “flashy” 🙂

Now the true test is Launch vs. LunarRacer+ 2 … for me it’ll have to be both. I used to alternate my Mizuno Precisions and Brooks Launch a year ago. Now it’ll be the Brooks Launch and the Nike LunarRacer+ 2. The LunarRacer+ 2 is really for neutral runners and I know I have a small amount of pronation in my right foot. I plan to do a little strength work before I run anything over 10 miles run in the LunarRacer+ 2.

To be honest, given my past Nike running shoe experience I didn’t think I’d like this shoe as much as I now do. As for the ultimate winner between the Launch and LunarRacer+ 2, I’ll try out a few more runs over the next two months before I declare a final verdict.

Changing my race shoes from the Brooks Launch for the Boston Marathon

April 11, 2010

I’ve decided to change my race shoes for the Boston Marathon from the Brooks Launch which I ran Portland in. The new shoes are the Green Silence, also from Brooks. They have the same material for the sole as the Launch, are just over 6 oz in weight and feel great to run in.

Brooks Green Silence

I wrote while training for the Portland marathon why I switched to the Brooks Launch from Mizuno Percisions. The Launch are now my trainers. The Green Silence have a very similar feel to the launch from a softness standpoint but are lighter and have even better responsiveness. I’ve tested the Green Silence out on 3 runs now. The first was on the first 6 miles of a 16 mile run a month and a half ago. Then last weekend on a 16 mile run and then today during the Capital 10k where I was running at marathon goal pace. I think they have just the right amount of cushioning for a road race and marathon. When I tried the Musha from Mizuno they weren’t as soft, they kind of felt like my Percisions do after I have 200 miles on them from a “feeling the road every foot strike” standpoint so I don’t think I’ll be racing in them.

I do have one complaint about the Green Silence. The way the laces are done at the top they can really dig in, the good thing is right at the top on the tongue there are these slots you can use to feed the laces back in. I’ve had to do that so the laces stay on the tongue and don’t go off and directly onto my foot. Brooks, please look at that 🙂

Brooks Green Silence Shoe Review

February 10, 2010

Today I got to run in my Brooks Green Silence for the first time and I have to say I like them.

Brooks Green Silence

I had an earlier post where I talked about the Mizuno Musha. The biggest difference for me has been the softness/coushion in the Green Silence over the Musha. I’m used to running in Mizuno’s and they’re not the most giving shoes and Musha are very light so I felt the road quite a bit in them on my 8 mile test run. My 10 mile run in the Green Silence today was better compared to the Musha in this area. The Musha had some more support but I felt fine in the Green Silence. The Green Silence did feel a little loose in the toe box before running but when I did run it felt fine. The other cool thing is the Green Silence has some cool features as far as the recyclables used in making them as well as the bio degradeble insole.

I don’t think I have the stability to train in these but these are starting to look like the front runner as my race shoes for the marathon. They’re very light, responsive and I like the cushioning they provide for my foot strike. Before deciding for sure if I’ll race in them I need to test them out on a faster run and see how they feel compared to the Musha at sub 6:30 min/mile paces.

The Brooks Launch really does rock

November 10, 2009

John reviewed the Brooks Launch recently. Before the Portland marathon I posted that I selected and why (John has a much more succinct review). It’s the first time I’ve opted to run in Brooks, and I wore the Launch for the Portland marathon as well and still have the same positive opinion as when I tried them on at the store.

New Marathon Race Shoes selected … they’re Brooks for the first time

September 6, 2009

This is a complete change for me as far as shoes go. For years, ever since I started running the only shoes I’ve consistently worn are Mizuno’s. I recently tried the Brooks Launch and really like them, so much so that for the first time ever I’ll be running my marathon in a pair of shoes that aren’t Mizuno’s.

Brooks Launch

Brooks Launch

A little on the history behind the change

So why the change. As I wrote earlier I started wearing the Elixir instead of the Precisions after my last injury for just a little more support. After a while I did notice that my toes pinch a little in the Elixir, not too bad but something I need to pay attention to and if everything else isn’t going perfectly it can become annoying.

For a while I was alternating between the Mizuno Elixir, Mizuno Precision and Asics DS Trainers. One issue I started having was with the metatarsal pad on my right foot. I have hpyer flexible shoes and I though the relatively stiffer DS trainers might be better for me … wrong. I started having more issues and went in to see John (the store manager) at Rogue Equipment. The slightly less flexible DS trainers were apparently making me work harder on my push off, I asked him about any other shoes I should try out and he suggested the Brooks Launch.

So what do I like about the launch?

When I put them on and was just standing they just felt different, and different in a great way. I felt like my entire foot was on the ground. The way the weight seemed to distribute was different than any other shoe I’ve worn. The forefoot is also cushioned very well and as I took a few strides in them the stride felt great and very natural. They’ve very light as well. One thing I’ve disliked in the past about brooks has been the cut around the ankle. In other Brooks shoes I tried the show would push up against my heel, another problem that isn’t there in the Launch at all. I’ve now put over a hundred miles on my pair of launch and decided that I’ll use them in my marathon in Portland in 4 weeks … I just got my race pair and will break them in on a couple of runs over the next two weeks and then we’ll see how it goes.

One of the negative things I have heard about the launch is that the cushioning in the heel isn’t very good. Now heel striking isn’t something I really do, and anybody wearing shoes as light as these probably shouldn’t either … unless they’re on a very very easy run/jog. So if you do heel strike you may … ok I could say don’t try these shoes … but whatever shoes you do wear work with your coach or somebody to stop heel striking 🙂

Weak or in tune with my body

June 17, 2009

I wrote a few weeks about trying some new shoes out and specifically about running the Elixir instead of the Precision. One area of my foot that bothered me towards the end of my CIM training in 2008 was my toes. Specifically the joint of the toe which would get tight where I couldn’t really bend the toe down on it’s own and pulling it up would hurt. I haven’t had that issue with the Elixir and last week on my trip to Berkeley I decided to run in my Precision again and the felt a little discomfort again. I’ve realized and been told I have some weakness in my toes/foot and need to perform the towel exercises (an example) but what was up with the show change bringing it on. I then went back to my CIM race when I started wearing the Nike Lunar Trainer and when we arrived in Sacramento my toe joint hurt a lot.

Both the Nike Lunar Trainer and Mizuno Precision are very flexible, they pretty much bend with your foot. What that has meant is that when walking or running my foot and toes are flexing more than they really are capable of right now and that seems to be the reason for the soreness and tightness. The flexibility does mean I can get better push off but for now I have some work to do before the Precisions can be used for anything longer than 10 miles.

I was talking to somebody about this at the Rogue Equipment store over the weekend and it was one of those moments where I thought … really, I’m so weak where I can’t handle a small difference in the shoes because of my toes! Then somebody else said runners are just more in tune with their body 🙂

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