Buying a Running Shoe

borntoruninc_logoYesterday I decided that I could use a new pair of running shoes and headed to Born To Run in SpringHouse, PA. I’ve known Hillary for many years and like keeping the business local instead of penny pinching online. Plus I like to try before I buy.

Brooks Ghost 5

Brooks Ghost 5

I’m not your typical runner and have had various issues with shoes in the past. Every step I take running is on my toes. What this does is creates immense friction under the balls of my toes and blisters begin. The last 2 purchases I made were Brooks Ghost 5’s which are a heavier shoe that does a decent job keeping my feet safe.

I walked into the store with an open mind and no real budget because it’s an item I’ll be using often. I do some quick browsing and check out the new Ghost’s and the Mizuno Wave Enigma 3. I’ve pretty much eliminated Saucony and Nike from my shoe buying due to bad experiences. I had an employee bring me out 11’s of the new Brooks Ghost 6 and wasn’t thrilled with the color choice but they fit like I was used to. As I was walking around, a representative from the company Altra asks if he can help me out. I give him some quick details about my style and what I was looking for and he shows me Altra’s equivalent.

A1333_Black_xl1I’ve never heard of Altra before and when I first saw the shoe I thought it was out of the space program. It has a wide front and the sole is very flat with no arch on the bottom nose. It looked peculiar but if a shoe could prevent me from getting blisters, I was interested. The rep said that the company was from California and does well on the West Coast but has little base in the East. I tried on one shoe of the Altra Instinct 2.0 and compared one of a Mizuno Wave Enigma 3. Both shoes felt nice but it’s impossible to know what to expect out of a running shoe without running in it. After some more discussion I decided to take a flyer on the Altra and purchase it. I figured worst case scenario was that I could try it out and then complain that it wasn’t what I expected and go from there.

Running an Altra

I was quite anxious to go for a run in these new shoes because they were unlike anything I’ve tried before. My first impression of the shoe out of the box is that it’s unique looking but the color scheme is nice. It’s not too bright or off putting, it blends well. I put on the shoe and it fit like a slipper. The shoe laces were a tad short and thin for my liking. I immediately noticed the difference in weight with these being 9.5 oz compared to my 11.3 oz Ghosts. With everything being set, I decided to head to the Ben Franklin bridge and give the shoes a workout.

20140521_165634A few steps in I was feeling the additional room in the front and thought it was comfortable. My feet didn’t feel squished and had some room to breathe. The sole is very flat so I noticed that my toe running was landing me further back on the mid sole compared to what I’m used to. Everything felt fine and I knew the run I was doing was going to test the shoe further. The Ben Franklin Bridge is about a mile long bridge with a slight incline for the first half and then slight decline for the second half. The downhill incline would be a perfect test because my feet will usually heat up from a half mile of a pushing pace downhill.

Ben_Franklin_Bridge-3While picking it up on the downhill,  I found out that although my feet would heat up (less so than in the Ghost), if I wanted to back off a bit on my toes, I’d land in the middle and it would give my feet some cooling off. Normally, when my shoes would get too hot, I’d have to start running heel to toe and this was a refreshing surprise because I lost little speed when I would back off.

I made sure I ran hard on both parts of the downhill and could find no faults with the shoe. They felt light and I felt like I could pick it up when I wanted to. The stability wasn’t as high as what I was used to but I don’t see this as an issue. When I took them off after the run everything felt normal which is exactly what I want and I saw no exterior issues with the shoe. Obviously this was only a 4 mile run but I’m looking forward to putting on some more distance and then working them on the track.  At an $105.00 dollar price tag, I have found no faults so far.

If you like running and are new to my site, you might like to read about my Broad St Run Experience.