Tag Archives: Shopping

Thoughts on Running Shoes

I have really enjoyed my Mizuno Wave Inspire running shoes.  I started with the 3 and am now on my third pair of the 4’s.  They came out with a 5, but the 4 is cheaper so that’s what I went for.  Oddly, I first picked up the 3 because it was on the clearance rack at a running shoe store.

I know, that is dangerous.  But I did due diligence and talked with the staff to make sure that the Wave Inspire was the correct shoe for me based on my wearing of the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 7.  Later I found this great chart that shows all of the different major brands and which shoe you should wear based on your current one.

I’m not sure that last sentance makes sense so based on the fact that I wore the Adrenaline GTS it recommends Mizuno’s Wave Inspire and Asics GT-2140, etc… I wish there was a good chart that could help you pick out trail running shoes based on your road shoe, without making a trip to the store.

It is a fun little chart and I recommend looking at it.  A lot of people say that you should never change shoes after you find one that you like, but there is a lot of anecdotal information out there that every now and then it is good to switch brands – each one is a little different and that will help your foot and body.  Obviously, I have changed brands a few times.  I wore Adidas in college, Asics for a few years, then Brooks, and now Mizuno.  I can attest that they are all a little different and my feet have enjoyed pretty much all of them.


I started writing this post to highlight some of the “care instructions” and a “Caution” that came with my most recent Mizuno purchase.  I find them a little humorous.

– None of the Mizuno range shoes are suitable for machine washing.  This may destroy or damage the technical fibers used on the shoes.  We had a freshman one year in college who washed his shoes occasionally (in the washing machine).  One time he washed them and then the next day we ran on some muddy trails.  He complained the whole time about getting his clean shoes muddy.

-Your shoes should be regularly cleaned and maintained.  Generally this can be done by hand washing in soapy water, however you should not use chemically enhanced powders or detergents. Does running through puddles count? I’ve never washed my shoes with soap.  Does it add extra mileage to them?

– Do not force or artificially dry your shoes. This may damage or destroy the materials or substances used in production. Well talk about confusing – don’t wash, then wash them but you can’t dry them.  Actually the best way to dry your shoes is to stuff them with old newspapers and lean them up against a wall so the toes are pointing down.  They’ll usually be dry overnight.

– You should regularly check your shoes to ensure that the necessary components are still suitable for performance as deteriorated midsoles or outsoles may cause injuries.  Components? Are the shoes little widgets? Shoes only last for about 300 – 500 miles depending on your build and gait.  The soles will start to break down and show wear.  Even if they don’t it is a good idea to purchase new ones.


– This product has been designed and manufactured for the sport running. Use of this product for other activities limits the warranty for this product. I didn’t realize shoes had a warranty, except for Nike which would replace any shoe whose air pocket burst.  So if I walk around in my shoes does that void the warranty?  That doesn’t bode well for all of the Jeff Galloway fans out there.  Not to mention the grammatical error!

[tags] Running Shoes, Nike, Asics, Mizuno, Brooks, Adidas, Shoe Care [/tags]

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Running at -21

I captured this image after my run on January 16, 2009.

After some bad experiences last year, every morning I roll over and check the weather on my phone before going for a run.  So what do you do when you roll over and see -22 as the actual air temperature?  I see three options:

1) Roll back over and snuggle under the blanket until the absolute last minute until its time to go to work.

2) Visit your local gym, assuming you have a membership, or any indoor running facility.

3) Jump out of bed with eager excitement and begin putting on every piece of running attire you own.

I recently had this experience and while many of you from the more southern regions of our country would say I’m insane for choosing number 3 2x’s this week, I was not alone.  No I saw plenty of bicyclists commuting to work and plenty of footprints in the snow indicating both runners and people walking their dogs.

How do you survive when the air temperature is below zero? Or below freezing for that matter? Layers and more layers. Honestly, it is amazing how much of a difference the wind chill can make though.  In these cases Joe’s Temperature Guide (xls) probably won’t help too much.  In 2007, I offered 9 winter running tips, but they don’t specifically address how to dress.

So here is my attempt to reconstruct how I survived running below zero (from the ground up):

Shoes – I wear my regular trainers and I actually don’t wear Yak-trax or put screws in my shoes. Since my (and most) running shoes are made of mesh I put strips of duct tape on the mesh parts.  I suggest using smaller strips so that the shoe can still flex properly. I actually wrapped some tape all the way around my toe box (including on the sole) which actually helped me loose traction!

Socks– I recommend Smart Wool Socks they are the excellent at keeping your feet warm without adding several layers. The taller the sock the better. I was given a hard time last year because all the socks I wore didn’t come over the ankle! You can always go with a liner sock underneath a wool sock, but that might be overkill.

Pants – Our legs are an important part of the running machine.  On these extreme temperature days I make sure to wear two layers.  Between 32 and 0 I might only wear one, depending on the wind chill.  I always wear running shorts underneath my tights, so I guess it is a triple layer over the most important stuff. I wore a pair of running tights.  On top of that I wear some type of windbreaker-type pant with insulation.  This obviously helps cut down on the wind while adding a bit of warmth.  The problem is that the more you wear on your legs the harder it is for you to actually run.

Upper-Body/Chest – This area has the largest surface area and represent where you’ll feel the most pain if not dressed appropriately.  I like to start with a short-sleeve thermal underwear shirt but also have worn a nice singlet.  I think that one additional little layer isn’t hugely vital, but I want to keep the core warm.  Over top of that I wear some-type of long-sleeve technical or dry-fit shirt.  I would prefer not to have any sweat on my skin if I can help it so this shirt helps wick it away into the cotton long-sleeve shirt.  Many people will probably protest this item but it has served me well.  Yes the cotton absorbs the water and gets a little heavier but it provides a little more insulation than a second technical shirt would.  Again depending on the actual temp or wind chill I might just wear a fleece vest, but on the extreme days I wear an insulated windbreaker jacket.  I actually still have my warm-up suit from college (although I try to avoid wearing both the pants and jacket at the same time because they are both purple).  The jacket again is insulated and help stop a lot of the wind from hitting my skin.

Hands – These things are hard to regulate.  You definitely want gloves, but there are so many options.  During my latest runs I wore a pair of 40 gram Thinsulate gloves that did an excellent job of blocking the wind and keeping my hands toasty – actually a little too toasty.  I have a variety of other options but none seem to do the trick like these for the extreme temperatures.  My recommendation would be some type of glove that changes into a mitten at the top so you can regulate the temp a little better.

Head – Every one says the head is the most important part, so who am I to disagree? I like to keep my head nice and warm!  I wore a ear band.  This doesn’t do a lot but keeps the ears from getting frostbite! On top of that I wore a Silk Balaclava. Silk makes a nice base layer because it traps the heat inside and slowly releases the heat while also wicking away sweat. On top of this I wear a fleece balaclava.  Fleece is also a good wicking fabric that is very warm, although it doesn’t protect very well from the wind. I actually sweat underneath these layers and don’t usually get cold, except for in the worst wind on my exposed flesh.  You see the other day I started out wearing glasses (which are highly recommended to protect your eyes and the exposed skin that the balaclava doesn’t cover) but they fogged up really bad and then the steam froze on them.  They were completely useless at that point, so I stuffed them in a pocket.  NO HEADPHONES! I decided that I didn’t really want them freezing into my ear so I left them at home, plus who knows how the mp3 player might react to the temps.

There you have it a very long look at how to survive running in -20 temps!  I’d love to hear what you wear out  there on the cold days. You can also take a look at Blaine’s Tips for Winter Running Apparel. You can also check out this guy who bike commutes across a frozen lake at 20 below (HT The Deets).

T-Shirt Etiquette

Did you know there was such a thing as T-shirt etiquette for runners? Well Bad Ben in Kansas City created a list of etiquette for t-shirt wearing by runners. He describes this a tongue-in-cheek fun, but for many they hold these standards in the highest regard.

A friend once made fun of “twinkies”, people who wore their race shirts they just got during the race. (#4)

Most of these are pretty common such as:

1. A shirt cannot be worn unless the wearer has participated in the event. There is an exception, though: “significant others” and volunteers are exempt.

4. Never wear a race event shirt for the (same) race you are about to do. Only rookies do this. It displays a total lack of integrity and might put the bad-heebee-jeebee-mojo on you for the race. Wearing a T-shirt of the race, while currently running said race, is discouraged. It’s like being at work and constantly announcing “I’m at work”. Besides, you wont have the correct post-race shirt then…unless you like to wear sweaty, pitted-out clothes on a regular basis. If you do, then go back to the swamp, Gomer.

9. Volunteers have full T-shirt rights and all privileges pertaining thereto. So there. Remember, you can always volunteer for a race and get a shirt. I encourage this as your civil duty to be a member of the running community. Races don’t happen without volunteers, folks.

Others are more obscure or just down right funny:

6. A DNF’er may wear a race shirt if… the letters DNF are boldly written on the shirt in question (using a fat Sharpie or a Marks-A-Lot).

13. Never wear a T-shirt that vastly out-classes the event you’re running. It’s like taking a gun to a knife fight. Or like unleashing an atomic bomb among aboriginal natives. You get the idea.

19. The Spencer Guideline: If an event is canceled at the last minute, but the event shirts were already given out, you can’t wear the shirt unless you actually ran the race on that day. This means you will have to run your own unsupported event, through snow storms, hurricanes, or whatever lame excuse the Race Organizers came up with for canceling said event. If you still want to wear the shirt, you have to mark it with a sharpie, “I didn’t run this lousy event, and I’m all the better for it, thank you,” across the front of it.

HT Dmitri’s trail blog

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