Category Archives: Shoes

Getting Traction on Ice and Snow

What do you wear to gain traction while running in icy or snowy conditions? I personally wear YakTrax when I want extra traction and sure footing.  I know of people who drill small sheet metal screws into their shoes, and I’m sure people use other brand traction devices.  What is your preferred device?

There are a few factors I consider before adding my YakTrax to my shoes.

1) Where am I going?

We live by a hospital so if I run that direction I’m guaranteed that a large part of my run will be on plowed the majority of my run. Running the Lakes? They will be plowed, but not to the ground.  Downtown – plowed to the sidewalk.

2) What are the conditions of the trail/sidewalk?

This depends on where you go.  Most actual off-road trails won’t have been plowed and I often will wear the YakTrax on them just to be safe.

3) Is there fresh snow/ice?

If the snow/ice is fresh or falling then I’d probably wear them just to be safe.

I’ve worn my YakTrax a few times this year for runs. A lot of my runs from home end up having a fair amount of the run being on sidewalks that are well taken-care of (hospital or downtown) so I don’t wear them a lot.

The YakTrax basically use a coil of wire to form an X on the ball and heel of your shoe.  They pull over the sole of your shoe and have a strap that helps hold them on.  They make a very distinctive mark in the snow!  When running on clear pavement these coils add a little bit of spring to your step and if worn for long stretches can mess up your shins.  For shorter periods of clear pavement you can survive or run in a snow bank to prevent the shin pain.

In the past when I’ve known I’ll want them for running around a park I’ve crossed the street or even run in the street instead of running on the hospital’s clear sidewalk.

I’ve been wearing YakTrax since we moved to Minnesota 6 years ago.  I wore my first pair out mid-winter last year and bought a new pair of YakTrax Pro.  I did receive a free pair of YakTrax Pro to review this winter (and some hand warmers).

My YakTrax wore out similar to how the heel of my shoe wore down.  The rubber and coils on the back of the heel eventually broke due to my running form.  I didn’t keep track of how many miles it took for this to occur, but having them for almost 5 years seems like a pretty good amount of time for them to last.

Another benefit of YakTrax over sheet metal screws is that you can wear them on virtually any shoe (mine won’t fit onto my winter boots, but do on my every day winter shoes).  This also allows you to rotate through your running shoes instead of only wearing (and ruining) one pair of shoes!

Have you enjoyed your YakTrax or other traction method?  What works for you?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Vaseline Your Feet

English: Vaseline Logo

Image via Wikipedia

Right before my first marathon, I was given some excellent advice – rub Vaseline all of your feet before putting shoes and socks on.  This sounded a little funny, but made sense.  The Vaseline creates a nice protective layer over your feet that helps prevent them from getting blisters.

It feels really funny both as you put it on and then after you are done running.  I did it for both of my marathons and am quite proud to report that I didn’t get any blisters on my feet!

Three important thoughts:

1) Make sure you cover your entire foot, including in between your toes.

2) You should still wear quality running socks.

3) Put your socks on immediately after you put the Vaseline on. Vaseline will collect dust, lint, etc from your floor and you could have a serious issue if a small speck rubs your foot for 26.2 miles.

What have you done to prevent blisters on your feet?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Saucony Helps Local School


Image via Wikipedia

The Saucony Run for Good Foundation, established to help combat childhood obesity by providing financial support to community-based youth running programs, has announced its latest round of grant winners. The eight grants include a biannual award presented in the name of 2008 Olympic sprinter and Saucony athlete Wallace Spearmon, Jr., to support track and field programs benefiting at-risk youth. The Wallace Spearmon, Jr. grant was awarded to the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, Massachusetts to support the launch of ten running programs in three urban neighborhoods in Boston.

“Reversing the childhood obesity epidemic will take everyone, communities, schools, families and businesses, working together,” said Richie Woodworth, president of the Saucony Run For Good Foundation Board of Directors and Saucony, Inc. “At the heart of the Saucony brand is our mission: to inspire others to run. We have a passionate belief in the transformative power of running for everyone, including kids. Addressing the issues facing the health of our children through the Saucony Run For Good Foundation represents a fusion of our mission and our commitment to social responsibility,” added Woodworth.

Since the Foundation launched in 2006, it has invested nearly $700,000 in grants to 80 organizations nationwide?all dedicated to promoting the sport of running as a part of a healthy, active lifestyle.

“Changing unhealthy behaviors, including eating too much and exercising too little, cannot be accomplished by our kids on their own,” said Susan K. Hartman, associate publisher of Runner’s World magazine and a member of the Saucony Run For Good Board of Directors. “Hopefully, each of these grants is a small victory in the fight against this growing epidemic, creating greater access and opportunities for more kids to live healthier lives,” she added.

Childhood obesity has increased over 300% in the past 30 years according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. Obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1% during the same time period.

The recipients of the latest round of grant winners range from new running clubs to community developmental organizations, which all have a common goal: to promote running as a critical part of healthy lifestyles among children.

Six years ago, Bryan Sorensen started the Run Club in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, hoping to teach kids the importance of good nutrition, how to be properly hydrated, how valuable life-long activity is and that running can be fun. This club has goals in the future of increasing the number of students who participate in Run Club at both Oxbow Creek and Champlin Brooklyn Park Academy as well as exposing more kids to running at an earlier age. With this grant, Bryan hopes to make this program available for all students regardless of their family’s current financial position.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Vibram Five Fingers & Minimalist Demo Run


Image by mexican 2000 via Flickr

Saturday, March 26
Minimalist Footwear Class and Demo Run
Midwest Mountaineering

Share one runner’s journey and the joys of adapting feet and running form to minimalist footwear, specifically Vibram Five Finger “Toe Shoes.” Jim Baumiller is a passionate trail runner and early adopter of Five Fingers, eager to share experiences, lessons learned and the benefits of running barefoot or minimalist in unpadded footwear. Make trail running fun again, improve running form, eliminate chronic injuries and reconnect with Mother Earth, letting feet and soul run free. He covers “why go minimalist,” how to safely adapt feet and running form to running without padded shoes in any terrain, any season, any distance. The class will last approximately one hour and be followed by a run using your own or demo Five Fingers.

Scott Young, Footwear Coordinator, will be on hand to make sure the five Fingers are properly fitted. Bring your regular running shoes. Preregistration only required for the demo run – limited to 16 participants. 612-339-3433 612-339-3433 Expedition Room, Midwest Mountaineering

Enhanced by Zemanta

A First Run: Kinvara


Image via Wikipedia

Wow, the Saucony Kinvara feels amazing.  It feels almost like a slipper when you put it on.  The mesh upper is quite comfortable, felt snug, but also felt like there was still support.  I think the sole is solid – firm but not overly stiff or with too much extra padding.

On my 3 mile run, I was able to experience a few different surfaces – concrete, asphalt, dirt, and gravel. I didn’t feel any rocks poke through the soles, like you might expect from a minimalist shoe.  The neutral shoe felt really good through most of the run.  I say most, because at around 2.5 miles my right leg started hurting a little bit.  Now on any given run a random pain could show up, so I’m not gonna blame the Kinvara’s for that on this run (but I’ve not had any pain on my right leg before or since). Other than that it was like going for a run in my older shoes.

I really liked the fit and feel of the Kinvara.  I was focused more on how the shoe felt than on my footstrike.  I ran a new route but my time was several minutes faster than a 3 mile run in the past week and one of my faster runs in the past month.  Again, I don’t want to give too much credit to the shoes specifically for that, because a lot of factors could play into running faster on any given day.  But several minutes is fairly substantial without any noticeable difference in effort.

Overall my first run in the Kinvara actually went better than my first run in a new pair of ASICS – GT 2150 which is a stability shoe of the same ilk as I’d been wearing. My feet didn’t hurt, the didn’t seem to mind the lack of support found in the stability shoe.

The biggest problem, which I expected, was later in the day and the next day my ankles hurt on the sides of the achilles tendon.  I’ve had this problem before with Saucony.   I ran in Saucony a lot and bought a trail shoe to use for running and hiking for a summer in Yellowstone. Part way through the summer I strained my achilles and I’ve never been able to run in Saucony since.  I actually traded my Saucony’s that summer with my roommate.  Oddly, I was able to race in a Saucony flat, but never a trainer.  Needless to say, this made me a little nervous about trying the Kinvara’s out and I wasn’t surprised when the sides of my achilles hurt.  Fortunately, the pain went away by the end of the 2nd day.

Final Thoughts: I plan to give the Kinvara at least one more shot.  I know to truly have an opinion about a shoe I need to give them a few tries, but that will all depend on the achilles. I will test them out on another short run and see how things go.  I’m not sure if the achilles pain is something that will get strengthened over time or not.  But I think that if I just add the Kinvara into my shoe rotation that I might be fine.

Just a reminder that I received my Kinvara’s free for the purposes of reviewing.

Enhanced by Zemanta