A few weeks ago, I visited my favorite running store, Classic City Running, to try out trail running shoes. Classic City is a true locally owned store and everyone who works there is a runner. They do gait analysis by taking video of your feet as you run on a treadmill and then bring you as many different pairs of shoes as you want to try. You can test them out with a run on the treadmill or outside around the shopping center. They never rush your decision; in fact, I’ve spent an hour walking around the store wearing two different shoes. As fellow runners, they are always willing listen and share their experience and knowledge.
Classic City carries more road shoes than trail shoes, so they didn’t have a huge selection. Several experienced trail runners simply gushed about their Altra’s, so I knew I wanted to give those a try. I tried on the Saucony Peregrine and the Altra Lone Peak 2.5 and the Altra Torin. I tried on the Torin for fit because they didn’t have the women’s Lone Peak in stock. The Torins have high cushioning, which would be great for long days on your feet. Although the men’s Lone Peak were ginormous on my foot (which isn’t exactly dainty), I immediately loved how lightweight they are and that, though cushioned, I could feel the surface beneath the shoe. The high cushioning and max cushioning models made me feel like I was wearing platform shoes. Given that I need to develop more lower body strength and stability, I felt I’d be more likely to get into some unplanned acrobatics and injure myself or, at minimum, suffer extreme embarrassment.
I did like the secure and stable feel of the Saucony Peregrine. I wasn’t thrilled about the narrow toe box. I like the idea of a the sturdier rock plate along the shaft, which I would have appreciated back in March for the rockier parts of the Cubihatcha Challenge trail. On the other hand, the appeal of a firmer rock plate wasn’t enough to sacrifice toe box space and a closer to natural foot motion feel. Since I started running, I’ve struggled with the toe nail of my big toes rubbing a painful callouses on my second toes (yes, I have Morton’s toes) and achy metatarsals when I run 8 miles or more. I decided on the Altra Lone Peak 2.5s for those two reasons. Classic City ordered my shoes and I had them in less than a week.
At the first opportunity, I took my Lone Peaks out for a 4.5 mile test run at my favorite trail. I was very pleased to discover a distinct lack of trail junk in my shoes. I still have trail debris in my road shoes that works it way around the shoes and sticks me in the most painful places, forcing me to stop mid-run and remove shoes and socks, dig around in my shoes, then replace socks and shoes before continuing. Wash, rinse, repeat. I hope all the gunk works itself out soon. Anyway. I did have some soreness across the top of my ankle where the laces tie but I think that was from earlier in the day when the dog stepped on me. She’s a bruiser. (SIDE NOTE: She is always leashed when out for a walk or run) Otherwise, I had no general foot or toe pain, my fore-foot did not feel like it was sliding around in the toe box, and my toes did not rub together. The treads gripped the surface well and the toe bumpers saved me a few times (must remember to pick up my feet).
When I picked up my shoes, I tried on a pair of Oofos. I immediately insisted that they take my money. I’m not that keen on the Crocs-like material, but man, oh, man, they do feel good on tired feet and legs. I decided on the investment since my mileage will be increasing and anything that aids recovery is a bonus. As much as I love my running shoes, once I cross that real or virtual finish line, I need them off my feet sooner than now. If I don’t let my feet out to stretch, wriggle, and breathe, it’s cramp city.
As it happened, after my first trail trial in my new Altras, Classic City Running hosted an Injury Prevention event for Moms RUN this Town/She RUNS this Town. Reps from Altra and 2XU were there doing demos. I fell in love with Altra’s medium cushioning stability road shoe, which made not winning the giveaway rather disappointing. Regardless, the Provision will likely be my next road shoe. The Altra rep confessed that he runs both trails and road in his Lone Peaks. It’s an idea worth considering; yet, trail shoes wear out more quickly than road shoes, so making them do double duty could get expensive.
For now, I’ll stick with my rotation of Brooks Ghost 8 and Glycerin 13s for road running and the Altras for trails.