How many pairs of shoes do you need?!

If I’d a €uro for everytime I heard this remark in my house, I could buy another pair of shoes! 🙂

The most recent, threatened, clean-out had me thinking about it afterwards as I realised my responses were

“NO! Not those, I need them for ….”

and

“Not those either, they’re my . . run shoes!”

and so on and so on.

Right now I’m in the middle of a training program for a marathon and like any sensible runner, I’m switching around and rotating my footwear on a regular basis.

As I looked at my stash of footwear I started to realise that I had a particular shoe for each and every type of run I was doing. I also noticed that, unconsciously, I was choosing footwear particularily suited to those type of runs and getting the best out of me in each session whilst (most importantly) minimizing my risks of accruing a running injury.

Currently I’m rotating through, and regularly use:

  • Mizuno Inspire 9 (just brought a 2nd pair into rotation as my existing pair are left in Sligo)
  • Brooks PureCadence
  • Saucony Fastwitch 6
  • Mizuno Elixir
  • Mizuno Sayonara
  • Brooks PureGrit

Yeah I know, it’s overkill using so many shoes but the reasons for this will become aparrent when you consider what I’m doing in each shoe.

Running!

I’ll deal with the straightforward ones first, explaining whats unique about each shoe in terms of cushioning, heel-to-toe ramp, stability, typical session pace.

Saucony Fastwitch 6

Saucony say – ideal for 5K – Marathon.The Fastwitch 6 features a newly designed FlexFilm upper. It’s a light and stable shoe designed for the road warrior taking their race to the next level. Weight: 196gm.

fastwitch 6I use this as my race shoe and comfortably raced several half marathon distances this year in these. I believe it is imperative that whatever you use on race day have been tested out in training and I do use these for some sessions, just to stay familiar with them.

  • Cushioning – Dual Density SSL(Saucony Super Lite) EVA. An advanced EVA blend that maximizes rebound and durability while minimizing weight.
  • Heel to toe – 4mm differential
  • Medial post providing guidance for overpronators like myself.
  • Session – racing or speed intervals at <4:00min/km

Brooks PureGrit

Brooks say – When you want nothing to come between you and the trail, the ultra-light PureGrit won’t get in your way. We constructed an outsole with an aggressive, multi-directional lug pattern for better grip on the ever-changing surfaces of adventure. Its concave shape delivers better balance by splaying out upon impact and creating more surface area for ground contact. With blazing colors, you’ll light the trail on fire.puregritWith awesome off road grip this is my go-to trail shoe for any wet, mucky offroad runs. I’ve really grown to love pulling these shoes on and even achieved my half marathon PB using these in Portumna Forest this summer. (Race report loooong overdue, though I have a review of these from when I first got them earlier this year – Brooks PureGrit

  • Cushioning – BioMoGo DNA fuses BioMoGo midsole and DNA gel cushioning technology for a fully custom responsive ride that adapts to the needs of each and every runner. Toe Flex uses a toe split in the outsole/midsole materials that allows the big toe to function independently and engage the runner’s natural balance during toe-off.
  • Heel to toe – 5mm differential
  • Very neutral offroad shoe. The PureGrit2 features a modified outsole which I consider is more hybrid as its designed around Green road, gravel forest trail and dusty canyon type trails rather than the sort of ‘fell’ or forest trails which I love.
  • Session – recovery forest runs at >5:30min/km

Mizuno Elixir Vs Mizuno Sayonara

I’m putting these two bad boys together because I use them for exactly the same thing.

Mizuno say about Wave Elixir 7 – Wave Elixir provides protection and a light cushiony feel—without the weight or bulk. The combination of Dynamotion Fit and a light-weight, responsive midsole deliver a snug fit for a great feel and fast run. Designed to evoke movement, even when standing still. The Wave Elixir 8 not only looks fast, but feels fast. All while delivering Just Enough support. Internal forefoot overlays provide superior hold and embrace at toe-off. G3 SOLE provides superior traction at a reduced weight for more confidence with every stride. AP+ midsole designed for long-lasting durability and unparalleled responsiveness. Weight 204gm.

Mizuno say about Wave Sayonara – Mizunos exciting new light training shoe featuring the new U4iC midsole that delivers an amazing cushioning to weight ratio. The Sayonara delivers mile after mile of light cushioned stable fun. Weight 190gm.

elixir
Mixuno Elixir
The Wave Elixir became my first proper racing shoe in 2012 and I used it for everything up to half marathon racing, tempo & interval runs and planned on using them in what became my aborted Dublin Marathon 2012.

Once I got back to running in the New Year 2013 I used the Elixir more and more and my trusty Inspire less and less. Progressing with my transition to a more minimal shoe I found that I could run more repeatable distances in these shoes with no ill-effects (due to less support) and was soon able to introduce a pair of racing shoes into the mix. Apart from my Mizuno Inspire 3 & 4 the Mizuno Ellixir 7 is my favourite shoe of all time and it will take some shoe to beat it!

Roll on a few months and the Elixir 8 is being discontinued in favour of the new Mizuno Sayonara which is becoming a kind of genetically hybrid mix of the mating between the Wave Precision and the Wave Elixir range of shoes. In profile it is lower to the ground and has a slightly lower ramp height.

Now to be fair to the Sayonara, I really, really, REALLY love the fit & ride of the Elixir and possibly because I knew the Sayonara was the usurper I didn’t like it. I almost didn’t even have it on my foot completely and I was saying no, no, no! Edel was looking at me like I was a spoilt child about to go off and sulk. I felt like it too, I was so disappointed.

Then I ran in them.

They’re like the One Direction of the running world. You love to hate them but they catch on and you find youself enjoying them against your will.

(FOR THE RECORD I AM NOT A CLOSET ONE DIRECTION FAN – BOWIE & BLONDIE ROCK!! 🙂 )
sayonara
Mizuno Sayonara

First up Mizuno Elixir 7

  • Cushioning – AP+ midsole providing comfort and durability. This flexible forefoot provides plenty of ‘feel’ for the surface and really engages the foot on propulsion.
  • Heel to toe – 13mm differential.
  • Mildly supportive medial Wave, with a low forefoot & high heel you are pitched forwards and just want to run faster and faster. The heel/toe ramp is not intrusive and this can be used for everything! Unlike some light support shoes I have no illeffects running slow or easy in these.
  • Session – speed, race, recovery, easy runs; handles everything from 5:30min/km

Now Mizuno Sayonara –

  • Cushioning – U4iC midsole
  • Heel to toe – 10mm differential.
  • Classed as a more neutral performance shoe but the lengthening of the Wave on the medial side provides some guidance. I think the change of the heel-to-toe  makes this more of a racing flat than the Elixir which is why I can get away with the lesser amount of support. Still easing my way into them so long term verdict still outstanding.
  • Session – tempo session <4:00 to 4:30min/km

Brooks PureCadence

Brooks say – With lean construction and a responsive fit, the PureCadence 2 rethinks how support technology is engineered. Features like the internal PDRB help prevent overpronation without added parts and the wide Nav Band holds your foot like an endless hug. Add fresh looks and some street cred, and this featherweight friend will run footloose and fancy-free with you.

pure cadence

After my relative success with the Brooks PureGrit and the comfortable transition to the 4mm Saucony Fastwitch 6 as a racer I was feeling confident about doing a little more in  a minimal shoe.

Without taking unnecessary risks I still wanted to use a shoe with a hint of medial support, a little more flexibility (but not too much) and a shallow heel to toe ramp. It also has to be comfortable, I am a big guy afterall and like my feet to be aware of whats going on but without being hammered. The Brooks PureCadence ticked all of those boxes and in no time I was off running long runs in them.

One of my most memorable runs this year was in Lanzarote when I took on this:

 IMG_1650

Probably better suited to my PureGrit but I was travelling with just one pair of shoes (Ryanair) so they had to count for everything.

The view from the top was spectacular

IMG_1645

  • Cushioning – provided admirably by the BioMoGo foam which is blended with Brooks DNA compound giving a smooth, reactive, comfortable ride. DNA causes the shoe to adapt to the amount of force applied, and explains why the shoe feels firmer while running than in lower impact activities.
  • Heel to toe – 5mm differential.
  • I really like these
  • Session – mainly used now for recovery session 1-1.5hrs at 5:00 to >5:30min/km though occasionally used for long run >2hrs where Mpace is called for.

Mizuno Inspire 9

Finally and by no means least, with a touch of keeping the best til last.

Mizuno say – The Wave Inspire is Mizuno’s #1 support shoe. Engineered for runners seeking the best of both support and flexibility, the Wave Inspire’s glove-like fit makes it seem to disappear from your foot to create a light-as-air ride all while providing the critical stability and protection you need for miles of brilliant running. Weight 295gm.

Inspire 9 blue
Mizuno Inspire 9 – Start of the year colour
Inspire 9 red
Mizuno Inspire 9 – Munster colours to tie in with #AKLimerick 🙂

  • Cushioning – SmoothRide is a unique approach to the sole of the shoe designed to create a smooth, rocking-chair-like transition from heel to toe on every step. AP+ offers increased rebound and a “bouncier” feeling, which extends the cushion durability, while maintaining the light weight performance.
  • Heel to toe – 12mm differential.
  • I fell out of love with these at the start of the year as I felt they were different to the Inspire 8 in a way I wasn’t sure about. But a little bit of niggly Achilles flare has me back running in these and really appreciating the level of guidance provided by the Mizuno Wave technology.
  • Session – mainly used now for recovery session 1-1.5hrs at 5:00 to >5:30min/km and used for long run >2hrs where Epace is called for.

ith lean construction and a responsive fit, the PureCadence 2 rethinks how support technology is engineered. Features like the internal PDRB help prevent overpronation without added parts and the wide Nav Band holds your foot like an endless hug. Add fresh looks and some street cred, and this featherweight friend will run footloose and fancy-free with you. – See more at: http://www.brooksrunning.com/Brooks-PureCadence-2/110140,default,pd.html#sthash.wLkfVWRD.dpuf

With lean construction and a responsive fit, the PureCadence 2 rethinks how support technology is engineered. Features like the internal PDRB help prevent overpronation without added parts and the wide Nav Band holds your foot like an endless hug. Add fresh looks and some street cred, and this featherweight friend will run footloose and fancy-free with you.
Just like our core line, we hold PureProject to the industry’s highest weartest and durability standards. Because of their lightweight construction and fewer materials, runners should generally expect shoes from the PureProject line to last approximately 250-300 miles.

– See more at: http://www.brooksrunning.com/Brooks-PureCadence-2/110140,default,pd.html#sthash.wLkfVWRD.dpuf

With lean construction and a responsive fit, the PureCadence 2 rethinks how support technology is engineered. Features like the internal PDRB help prevent overpronation without added parts and the wide Nav Band holds your foot like an endless hug. Add fresh looks and some street cred, and this featherweight friend will run footloose and fancy-free with you.
Just like our core line, we hold PureProject to the industry’s highest weartest and durability standards. Because of their lightweight construction and fewer materials, runners should generally expect shoes from the PureProject line to last approximately 250-300 miles.

– See more at: http://www.brooksrunning.com/Brooks-PureCadence-2/110140,default,pd.html#sthash.wLkfVWRD.dpuf

When you want nothing to come between you and the trail, the ultra-light PureGrit won’t get in your way. We constructed an outsole with an aggressive, multi-directional lug pattern for better grip on the ever-changing surfaces of adventure. Its concave shape delivers better balance by splaying out upon impact and creating more surface area for ground contact. With blazing colors, you’ll light the trail on fire. Metaphorically. – See more at: http://www.brooksrunning.com/Brooks-PureGrit-2/120133,default,pd.html#sthash.GOivwY3l.dpuf

When you want nothing to come between you and the trail, the ultra-light PureGrit won’t get in your way. We constructed an outsole with an aggressive, multi-directional lug pattern for better grip on the ever-changing surfaces of adventure. Its concave shape delivers better balance by splaying out upon impact and creating more surface area for ground contact. With blazing colors, you’ll light the trail on fire. Metaphorically. – See more at: http://www.brooksrunning.com/Brooks-PureGrit-2/120133,default,pd.html#sthash.GOivwY3l.dpuf

When you want nothing to come between you and the trail, the ultra-light PureGrit won’t get in your way. We constructed an outsole with an aggressive, multi-directional lug pattern for better grip on the ever-changing surfaces of adventure. Its concave shape delivers better balance by splaying out upon impact and creating more surface area for ground contact. With blazing colors, you’ll light the trail on fire. Metaphorically. – See more at: http://www.brooksrunning.com/Brooks-PureGrit-2/120133,default,pd.html#sthash.GOivwY3l.dpuf

Hopefully you can follow the gist of what I’m saying here.

It’s not just for the sake of having shoes (kind of ) that I’m rotating through all these shoes. Each serves a purpose and a safety net.

The slower I run the more time my foot spends in contact with the ground, the more time there is for my foot to over pronate ergo an expoentially bigger requirement for guidance on longer slower runs.

The faster I run, the fleeter of foot I can be, with higher cadence leaving less ground contact time and the more towards a minimal, neutral shoe I can go.

As I’ve alluded to time and time again in my pieces on minimalist & transitioning, everyone is individual in how to approach minimalism. By mixing it up with my shoes I get to run the distances and types of run that I need and want to do, yet at the same time dodge the bullet of causing injury through running in unstructured shoes, which, my feet require.

Thanks for reading.

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