2015 Road Shoe of the Year

new shoes 1I finally did it folks; I picked a winner! According to this review I picked the 2015 Road Shoe of the Year as my free pair from New Balance Wilmington. My review on these shoes is long overdue and I preface this with the fact that these shoes were my payment for coaching the inMotion walking group along with the following other items: two kids’ pair of shoes (one for each child), a pair of men’s running shoes (for my husband), three pair of NB short socks in very bright colors, and a NB headband featured in my race recap photos.

However, all of the opinions about these shoes are my own and are not an endorsement for which I received any additional swag or commission.

Back in late August I went in to the New Balance store to get my new shoes for leading the inMotion walking group. If you recall, it had been a year since my last new pair of running shoes and I was in desperate need of some new ones! My last pair were a minimalist style of shoe and provided almost no cushion as I ran. I am not much of a pronator, but one foot has a slight tendency to roll inward as I lose form during normal fatigue. This has caused me some pain on the left anterior medial aspect of the knee. I was trying to avoid a stability shoe this time around for two reasons. First, I’ve found them to be too bulky for my tastes. Second, they unnecessarily push my right foot out as I run and that aggravates my hip dysplasia on that side. My new shoes had to be the best of all worlds.

new shoes 2I was recommended the Fresh Foam Zante and became sooo excited that it was offered in such a wide variety of colors. I ended up with the navy just because that particular pair had the best feel to my foot. There were a few pairs I tried on of the Zante that felt like I had a rock stuck under the lateral ball of my foot, but the navy pair suited me most. I have been running and walking in these shoes for about 2.5 months now with my first run taking place on September 3rd. (See all of my runs here.) In that time I’ve only logged 53 miles on the shoes from dedicated walking and running sessions, but I’ve also been wearing them on the regular.

I started wearing the shoes on a daily basis because I’ve found that the secure fit through the midsection of the shoe makes my extremely high arches feel stable throughout the day. It keeps my hip from acting up on days that I’ve overstretched in deep yoga sessions and provides the cushion necessary for both my hip and knee while running errands around town with the kids. Plus, they’re just so LIGHT! I feel like I’m not wearing them most of the time.

So, are there any negatives? Yes….for walking this shoe was not designed to take the beating that a walking shoe is meant to handle. The walks with the inMotion group would get tiring on my body if they were closer to the 3 mile range and  I was pushing their time. The mechanics of running and walking are so different that it really does make a difference in your shoe choice. At the end of the day my foot feels like it has been squeezed and I have to start to loosen the laces. The fit is great while I run, in that I never feel the need to double tie to prevent slippage, but over the course of many hours that starts to pinch the top of the foot and needs to be relieved. And finally, the navy color is great because it goes with almost anything I wear, but it can feel a little warm on a hot day running.

I have already recommended this shoe to three people. One was a total stranger I saw trying on the shoe in the New Balance store. I told her about my experience with a minimalist shoe before and how much I adored the light weight feel of these shoes as I run. They do not seem to inhibit my natural running pattern, but provide just the right amount of cushion to comfort my aging body. I recommend them to you as well if you are a moderate runner who has the need for some cushion in your shoe, but doesn’t need a lot of correction. I haven’t yet named this part of my gear, but they are truly my new besties when it comes to training. My MapMyRun Gear Tracker says I still have 347 miles of life in these shoes, so I look forward to lacing them up in the morning and hitting the streets while the big guy is off at preschool. Check in tomorrow as I’ll let you know all about my experiences in Anderson, SC last week via a TOLT post.

What’s on your feet these days?

What special needs do your shoes require?

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