At the outset, let me tell you that this post is not going go give you any answers…If you are going to ask Why, then plain and simple answer is because I don’t know…I am too new runner and novice in the art of running to really comment on the importance/non importance of the shoes….
Then why am I writing this…? Because, I want to share my experiences with the different shoes which I have used till date and how they have impacted my running..Maybe I will get some answers for myself..
- My first running shoes were these (Brand – Power (a local Indian brand)):
Yes, I know they look pretty rustic and uninspiring type…But yeah, I was doing my MBA then, and that’s what I could have afforded at that time…They were pretty cheap ( around 20$) and honestly served my purpose. I was kind of fat guy (imagine weight of 72 KG on height of 5’6..U will get the idea) who desperately needed to lose weight to fit into his only pair of formal trousers to go and attend internship training. Desperate times, desperate measures. And that’s how I took up running (I will write a separate post on that experience later)….Back to the original point…These shoes served me well for my requirements (around 4-5 km of treadmill running everyday), and I used them for around 1 year or so without facing any injuries..If you notice the shoes, you will realize that sole is made of hard rubber, uneven internal cushioning, no breathing mesh etc etc… But it still worked for me.
2. My second pair of running shoes were these (Brand – Reebok – representational pic):
Running was the last thing on my mind while I bought these shoes. I was working in Shimla (India), then on a project and it being hill station, I wanted comfortable shoes to be used for long walks (yes, I had quit running at that time). These were the most expensive shoes which I had ever bought in my life till that time (around 70$). So, I started using these shoes for long solitary walks in the hills.. In the meanwhile, I was deputed back to Mumbai on another project (Year 2011). And then I heard about Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon…That was the first time, when I seriously gave a thought about running a half marathon. Looking at my growing waistline, it seemed a nice idea…So again with the objective to reduce weight, I started running. By the time, I was done with these shoes, I had clocked around 1500 kms on these shoes, 3 official timed half marathons, numerous practice half marathons and training runs… And this is how they looked like after the torture which I inflicted on them:
You can observe that sole was gone, too many side cuts and upper breathing mesh had a big hole. In nutshell, shoes were in pretty bad shape and replacement was long overdue.
3. My third and fourth pair of running shoes (Asics Nimbus – 14 & Asics Noosa Fast): By this time, I had learnt few things on running, had little bit knowledge of the running shoes. I had got my gait and pronation analysis done and was sort of comfortable on deciding about the shoes which I wanted for myself. And I selected following two shoes for myself:
Noosa Fast Sole
Nimbus – 14 is comfy training shoes, slightly on the heavier side. Good cushioning, slightly hard sole, good breathing mesh and obviously comes with Asics trademark Gel technology. All in all, a good comfy ride. In my assessment, Nimbus are one of the best comfy shoes which are available in the market, and they work as a magic for runners who have faced injuries in the past due to shoes. One of my very dear friend, who had been suffering from injuries in the past, swears by this shoe now.
Noosa, whereas is sort of minimalist shoe, designed for triathlons, very light weight and I guess sole with a drop of 0.4 mm. Not fit for all the runners, as cushioning is on minimal side, and you can feel the feet hitting the ground while running.
Now, I have been using both of the above shoes from last seven months or so. And if you will ask me to select one of them, I will select Asics Noosa Fast, due to the following reasons:
1. Light weight: Once you have got used to the feeling of running in light weight shoes, it will be difficult for you to go back to the heavier shoes. I can feel the difference while running with Nimbus – 14 vis a vis Noosa.
2. Connect with ground: Somehow, I feel that now I have better understanding of my heels and how my feet is striking the ground after using Noosa. Why? Noosa, being a thin sole shoe, really does not give you that comfort where it will take care of the impact of the feet pounding the ground. You will have to adjust your running style to find the reduce the impact.
3. Speed Work Out: You can really feel the difference while doing your speed workouts.
So, in my understanding shoes do matter, but they are just one of the factors (and mind it, not the most important) which will have an impact on your running. I have realised doing practice runs, having a balanced diet, proper amount of sleep and the recovery is more important for evolution as a better runner, rather than shoes.
Now, all the above points were from my perspective.
In case, you want more professional views on the same, I will suggest, please read the below article:
Its an amazing article by Peter Vignero, where he argues that many runners assume that running shoes are like other kinds of gear, and that running technique is like other kinds of athletic technique. If you don’t have a bike, skis, or a surfboard, you can’t go biking, skiing, or surfing. Nor can you do any of those sports very well without the right movement patterns.
Another interesting article which can be referred here is from Christopher McDougalls (author of Born to Run):
http://www.chrismcdougall.com/barefoot.html or http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/magazine/running-christopher-mcdougall.html?src=vidm&_r=0
So, Enjoy reading the articles and make your own decisions..!!