Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Bit of Crazy Shoe Kismet

I'm sure you'd agree that if there's one thing we runner-types can get just absurdly, unreasonably excited about, it's shoes.

("Unreasonably??" I hear you protest. "The hell you say. My level of running shoe excitement is completely appropriate. Running shoes are awesome." Well...alright. It is. And they are.)

And I am excited.

I have new shoes.

For the last six months or so my all-around, super-reliable, go-to shoe has been the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11, which I absolutely {heart} and will probably keep a pair around for at least the foreseeable future. They're perfect for long runs, half & full marathons, & putting in a lot of miles on concrete. Retail, they tend to run ~$100, but after my Road Runner discount it's more like $90, and if I time things right & wait for a good sale or a coupon, I can usually get them for $80ish. But recently the new model has come out, which means the price on the 11s has dropped even more and with my discount I could get them for $72. Perfect timing, considering my current pair is quickly approaching retirement.

Now, I do love the Adrenalines. At 9.3 ounces, though, it's definitely a lot of shoe. The heel is a tad on the shall we say generous side, and there's a pretty signiticant heel-toe drop (maybe 8mm-10mm?). It's partly for those reasons that I finally broke down & got flats last year. And for track work & 5K/10K racing, I love my little Mizuno Musha Wave 3s. They're thin-soled, light-weight (mine register 6.8 ounces), and have maybe 4mm of heel-toe drop, but also just enough stability to be workable for someone like me with moderate over-pronation.

I've been longing, though, for something in the middle. Something a little more stripped-down than the Adrenalines, but more substantial than racing flats. Something a little more natural-feeling, but that I can still run 6-8 miles on concrete in without ending up with achey feet. Something I could even conceivably race a half marathon in, maybe.

But I'm afraid to be without my trusty Adrenalines.

What I really wanted was to buy two pairs of shoes.

Unfortunately, running shoes are really freaking expensive. Witness some of my current shoe crushes in the lightweight trainer/not-quite-flats/performance shoe department:

NB 905

New Balance 905; 7.4 ounces.

Brooks PureCadence

Brooks PureCadence; 8.3 ounces. (Definitely the chunkiest of my crushes.) $120.

Newton Running Distance U

Newton Running Distance U; 7.0 ounces. $155.

Newton Running Motion

Newton Running Motion; 7.7 ounces. $175.

Love. Want. I'm actually drooling a little here as I'm writing this. Still, a part-time contractor's gotta eat & pay her student loans. So while $72 is a pretty good deal for a solid pair of running shoes, unless I could find an outrageous deal on something in the lightweight/performance category (say, oh, *75-80% off*), it's not really good enough to make two new pairs realistic.


On Sunday, however, I went with Don on a Tahoe-related trip to Lombardi Sports. Now, typically I don't go to Lombardi Sports because it's downtown, and I almost NEVER buy things there because it's crazy expensive. But, as long as we were there, I decided to swing by the clearance racks just to see what they had.

Lo and behold:

Adrenaline GTS 11s

Price Tag

Friends, I snagged the last pair of Adrenaline 11s in my size (and any size even remotely close to it, for that matter) anywhere in the store. They didn't even have a lid or fancy tissue paper or plastic inserts or wadded-up paper towels inside. (Does anybody actually know what those are for?) And $12 cheaper than the sweet Road Runner clearance price that I was probably hours, at most, away from taking advantage of.

Which meant that maybe, just maybe, my dreams of lightweight/performance/not-quite-flats still had the faintest glimmer of a pulse.

I think it's pretty clear that, as much as I'd like to, I won't be wearing any of the hot shit pictured above any time in the near future. But back a few months ago, someone mentioned the Saucony Kinvaras to me, another lightweight performance shoe that's not quite a trainer and not quite a flat. I read a lot of good things about it & heard of many people wearing it for daily shorter runs and even racing half marathons with good results. Best of all, it weighed the same as my Mizunos!

But it was not to be. When I looked into it further, I learned that the Kinvara is a neutral shoe, and while I haven't given up hope of running in one someday, I want to hang on to a little extra stability for now as I start trying to do more running in lighter/scaled-down shoes.

Instead, I dug a little further down into Saucony's lineup & found the Mirage. From their site: "Building on the success of the award winning Kinvara, Saucony invites the mild pronator into the minimalist category with the introduction of the ProGrid Mirage. The addition of a midfoot support bridge provides motion control, while still allowing the runner to enjoy the advantages of a minimalist shoe."

Bonus -- Saucony just introduced a new model of this shoe as well, meaning the previous model is beginning to go on clearance. Predictably, I found listings for shoes in the $40-50 range, but only for sizes < 7 & > 9. And there were a few results in my size for $70+ish, but that was still more than I really wanted to spend, given that I'd already put down $60 for the Adrenalines.

And then, as if in a vision from on high, I stumbled upon this:

Saucony Mirage

In my size.

Hellz to the yeah,

You better believe I snagged that shit with a quickness.

So, a few days later, here we are:


I'm planning to wear the Mirages a bit this week to see how they feel. Updates to come!


  1. Jealous!!

    My sisters bought me the Mirage 2 (in black/pink) for my b-day last year. They were very light but were too small, so I had to return them. The store didn't have my size so I left with the Kinvara.

    I might look into the Mirage again. I bet they feel so good.

    1. Ah, boo! I think I remember you posting about that. It's great that you can run in the Kinvaras, because they're actually a little lighter!

      I went on one run with them & they're a bit snug right now (not length-wise, but bottom-to-top) but very flexible, so we'll see how it goes. They may take a little breaking in.

  2. When I started running, I thought I could get by with a pair of Avia shoes which I got for less than half price. They were light and didn't really hurt my feet. I then upgraded to a slightly more expensive pair of New Balance shoes from Sears. These were a little better, but if the shoe description says "for occasional running", it probably isn't the best choice for a running shoe for someone who is starting to get "serious".

    Finally, last month, I got fitted properly for shoes at a running store and found that, though I have normal arches, I am not really a neutral runner. I ended up with the Brooks Adrenaline 11 GTS's and love them. They are more comfortable, have better cushioning, etc. than anything else I ever owned. I have less knee / leg pain now that I have the "right" shoes.

    The only downside is that they are a little bulky in size (though still reasonably light), but they work.

    1. I used to wear the Adrenaline 10s back in the day & then for some reason switched to ASICS Gel Kayanos for a few years. Just this past summer my podiatrist recommended I switch back to the Adrenalines & I LOVE them! I agree they're definitely on the chunky side, but the Kayanos were 11+ ounces so at least they're an improvement over those.

  3. Great find!!! I too heart the Adrenaline! I have worn them religiously since 2002 and they will always be my "go to" shoe. I just received (yesterday) the PureCadence. So far I have run 16 miles in them and I really like them. However, I am noticing they are making the top of my right foot super sore. Never experienced that before. I am unsure if I just need to break them in more or if I should be sending them back. I am going to revert to my new Adrenalines for my run in the morning and then try the PureCadence out again on Friday to see how the top of my foot feels. I did read on the reviews that other people have experienced the same issue with the PureCadence that I am having. Total bummer if I am going to have to send them back!

    1. I still really want to try a pair of those sometime! I have kind of "tall" feet, so I usually have to loosen up the laces to avoid having the top-of-foot pain issue. Hope they work out for you!

  4. Ah, runner shoe porn. I try to buy my old favorites when they go on super sale, too. Of course, this means I have no need to look at or drool over the new stuff when it comes out :( I have an older version of the NB 905's and I'm hoping to see if I can do longer distances in them since they are lighter.

    1. Alas...I have too much shoe envy to avoid the porn. :P I'd love to hear how the 905's work out for you at longer distances!