Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Shoe Search 2014

As you know, I.... LOVE my Pearl Izumi Streak II shoes.  It's simply unfortunate that they don't make them anymore.  They haven't made them for quite some time actually.  Maybe a year or two now?

Here is my quick history...

In September of 2011, I fell in love with my first pair of Pearl Izumi Streak IIs.  Eight months and roughly 700 miles later, I went back looking for new shoes and after trying everything on, I ended up with my second pair of Streak IIs.  Then in May 2012, just before the start of the tri season, I picked up a pair of the Pearl Izumi ISO Transition shoes.  I used these shoes for sprints, olympics, and one 70.3 and still have them on hand for my sprint races. 

Unfortunately, at some point in late 2012, Pearl Izumi announced a new line coming out and ceased production of the Streak II.  Nearly 650 miles into my 2nd pair of Streak IIs, I went and picked up two more pairs in the hopes that this would buy me time to search for a new pair of shoes.  I predicted another 6-700 miles per pair.  Unfortunately, one pair only made it 360 miles.  The other is at 460 and still going strong.  However, I have not yet found another shoe to replace them.  The new Pearl Izumi line fits well but is too far off the ground for my liking.  I've tried Adidas, New Balance, Newton, Zoot...  Nothing!  Nothing has been wide enough, minimalist enough, as comfortable, or the like.  So...  I bought the last two pair of Streak II shoes I could find.

5 pairs of my Pearl Izumi Streak IIs (6th not pictures)

Knowing that the final two pairs were not "freshly" produced, they will likely not reach the 6-700 mile range, but they should get me through this upcoming tri season which gives me approximately 6 months to find a new pair of shoes. 

I have had some new leads, however that may turn up a usable pair of shoes.

Merrell was the first I came across.  A couple members at the gym have Merrell shoes and they've always looked like very minimal style shoes which I like. 

I happened to walk by a pair of Merrell hiking shoes at Dick's a couple weekends ago and they were definitely narrow.  In looking up other shoes - obviously running vs. hiking shoes - they do not come in wide, so it's debatable whether they'll be wide enough as is. 

INOV-8 was the next company I found.  This company has a video on their website explaining what their goal was when they designed their first (and all subsequent) shoes and I LOVE IT!  They want you to CONNECT with the ground underneath your feet.  Here is their "Belief."

"We believe in natural running. Natural running involves taking running back to its most innate form, letting nothing alter the natural biomechanics of the foot and body. Natural running relies on the strength of the runner’s feet and legs rather than the cushioning or support of a shoe. The foot controls the shoe, not the other way around."

Unfortunately, they also run narrow according to reviews online and do not come in wide, but I will only know if it's TOO narrow once I slip them on. 

Next up was Altra.  This company does two things.  They have a zero drop and want your feet to have PLENTY of room in the toe box!  I did get to try one shoe on at my bike fitting and they really are roomy!  Unfortunately, they have deeper soles than I'd like to see (18mm is the thinnest they go) and lose the connection with the ground that I'd like.  Being able to fit in the shoe is the primary goal though.  Feeling the ground is secondary. 

 Finally, Topo Athletic contacted me via Twitter after I vented about how I can't find shoes that work with my needs.  They told me that they may have a solution to my troubles.  Doesn't EVERYBODY?  Well, to be honest, it's likely that they do.  Their previous line of shoes (which I will of course be trying out for giggles) has a separated toe.  How weird!  But the new ST model goes more traditional.  It also has a 13mm stack height and 0mm drop.  They are supposed to run a bit wide, so I'm hoping that it means they are wide ENOUGH. 

The problem I run into now is that with some not so big name shoes, they're not available at every shoe store.  Surprisingly, my local Fleet Feet just started carrying the Topo Athletic shoes this past week.  What timing!!  Merrell is carried by EMS though they don't carry every option.  And INOV-8 and Altra are carried by a running store near my race this weekend (45 minutes south of me).  SO...  I will be making a trip to that store this Saturday after my race to try out those shoes and then hopping over to EMS and Fleet Feet as well to see if I can't find my next shoe love!


1.  What shoes do you run in?

2.  Do you have a shoe that you swear by?  How many of a specific model shoe have you run in?
Once I open them up, I will have run in 6 pairs of Pearl Izumi Streak II shoes.  I would stick to them if Pearl would start making them again.

3.  How many different shoe models/brands have you gone through?
I started with New Balance, did Adidas for one pair, and then landed with Pearl Izumi, so three thus far.

4.  How long do you take to find new shoes?
I take FOREVER apparently.  It's been over a year!



The Padre said...

#1. I run on roads w/the Boy Dog & wear asics gel-frantic 5. When we trail run, it was Salomon gore-tex.

#2. I swear a lot!! Now, the Salomon XA 3D Ultra 2 is my new trail runner of choice.

#3. I also started w/the New Balance because they were a bit wider of a shoe. Loads of asics for work and running shoes. I gave Puma a shot but they blew out pretty quickly. I mean, the sole separated before the life of the shoe was near.

#4. Doesn't take me as long to find shoes because I am an REI member and they are Gr8 about having the Salomon styles on sale. Plus the divined rocks!!!

Jon said...

Wow its amazing . I think it is pretty cool! I have no idea what to do with it or how to display it. But I do feel all elite and exclusive so my expectation is more than enough