I’ll admit it: I’ve gotten to be quite a running shoe snob.
I used to only run in one pair of shoes and then when those wore out, I’d replace them with a different pair. It wasn’t until only a couple of years ago that I started rotating my shoes and owning at least two working shoes at the same time. (It obviously helps that I work at a running shoe store now.)
Almost all of my shoes are neutral shoes and do not have additional structure or support for pronation control (your foot rolls inward and the arch collapses as you bear weight on your foot when striking the foot). Oddly enough I do actually pronate, but I haven’t had issues with neutral shoes, so I’ve continued to stick with them. I did use custom orthotics from a podiatrist for a while, but I haven’t had issues anymore so I’ve stopped wearing them. I will still wear inserts in my shoes about every other day.
I’ve accumulated quite the shoe collection with everything from a light-weight racing flat to ultra-cushiony shoes. Here’s a run-down of what I’ve been wearing lately, which ones are my favorite, and what I like/dislike about each one.
Adidas Ultra Boost
For my long runs and easy days, I really like Adidas Ultra Boost. It is extremely cushiony, responsive, and it honestly feels like you are running on clouds. These neutral shoes have 100% Boost material, which is the white styrofoam-looking material. This foam lasts a lot longer than your traditional foam, and I’ve gotten well over 600 miles out of some of my other Adidas Boost shoes.
The upper materials are very soft and flexible which is great for protecting the toes from damage and preventing them from turning black. I haven’t worn these enough on long runs to see if they would actually prevent my toenails from turning black (which seems inevitable these days), but I think it would really help.
I rarely use these on speed or tempo days because I like a shoe that has a firmer ride and isn’t so “bouncy” on my fast days.
Adidas Energy Boost
These are very similar to the Ultra Boost. The Ultra Boost has 100% Boost foam while the Energy Boost has 80% Boost foam. The upper materials are still very flexible but the uppers of this shoe are more structured than the Ultra Boost shoes. As with the Ultra Boosts, I prefer these for long runs and easy run days. I did wear these shoes for the Moose’s Tooth Marathon last summer. I think they did a good job protecting my legs from some wear and tear that occurs during the marathon. (That’s not to say my legs didn’t take a beating.)
Adidas Adios Boost
These are my go-to racing shoe for anything from the 5K to the marathon. It took me a while to decide which racing flat I wanted to buy, but when several of my coworkers and other elite runners in the community were wearing them, I knew there had to be a reason. And I have to say I love them as well–absolute love them! They are light-weight but still sturdy enough to support my foot for a marathon. They also have a great glove-like fit that doesn’t slip off my heel on uphill sections. They also have the Boost foam in them, so it is still quite cushiony, which is why I can wear it for the marathon. The Continental tread on the bottom also means the bottom won’t wear down as quickly. I can’t think of a single thing I don’t like about these shoes, but this is also my first racing flat.
Brooks Launch 3
Since the Launch is a relatively new shoe, I didn’t know too much about it and hadn’t heard too much feedback on it. However, then I was able get a free pair of Brooks shoes through the store, so I thought I’d give them a try. I am happy I did because they are my go-to universal shoe for long runs, tempo workouts, and anything and everything in between. I like a middle-of-the-road cushion shoe (not too minimal, not too bulky) for my tempo workouts and speed workouts, and the Launch has turned out to be perfect for that.
I also own a pair of the second version of the Launch, which are very similar. They newest version does have different upper materials and a different style of shoe laces, but the biggest different I noticed in the fit was a little more room in the toebox, which I appreciated.
The Brooks Glycerin is a neutral cushion shoe. I sell a ton of these at the store. People love them because they hug the foot really well, and they feel like clouds on your feet. I don’t personally love these because it is more shoe than what I prefer (although they are similar to the Adidas Ultra Boost.) I will wear them on easy day. They hug my heel really well and have enough room in the toe box for my wider (not true wide but wider) foot.
Mizuno Wave Rider
I have been wearing the Mizuno Wave Rider for several years now. While I still like it, I don’t love it as much as I previously did. I do like the firmer ride during tempo and speed workouts. They toebox has enough room for my feet and the overall fit of the shoe is decent. But now that I’ve had the opportunity to try other shoes, these still get worn–just not quite as much.
These are definitely my least favorite shoes. They have a 4mm drop (the difference in height from the heel to the toes), which I don’t love. Most of my shoes are around 10mm, which I definitely prefer. But that’s not to say they aren’t a great shoe! The Cadence is the most structured shoe in the Pure series, which also contains the Pure Flow and the Pure Connect. They still have a good amount of cushion for a lighter-weight shoe and the overall fit is comfortable. I might pull these out a couple times a month but otherwise these don’t get used too often.
So there you have it, my closet full of running shoes. (Sadly there are actually a couple more pairs of shoes that I didn’t even list: my Icebugs (winter running shoes) and a second pair of Adidas Energy Boost.) If you are on the market for a new pair of shoes, I highly recommend you seek out your local running store to be fitted for a pair of shoes. Just because I like something doesn’t mean it is the right shoe for you. Be sure to try on several different shoes and several different brands.
What is your favorite running shoe(s)?