Drop it Like it's Hot

A couple of posts ago I mentioned the Newton Running shoes; however, I didn't bring up the shoes that caught my eye even before those, the Altra Intuition. I did quite a bit of reading this week to decide between the two and the Altra Intuition won - they arrived on Wednesday from Running Warehouse.

I have to step back for a minute to rave about Running Warehouse, my go to running shoe (or gear, clothes, etc - they have it all) online store. They ship fast, send it 2-day to anywhere, and they have free shipping and returns. Talk about a great place to shop! It's even better in California because they use Golden State overnight shipping.

Back to the shoes. The two reasons I went with them over Newton is that they are zero drop and foot shaped. I ran one mile in them today, and I can't wait to get into them as my primary shoe. I have to take it slow to get used to the change to zero drop and thus running more naturally with a mid- to fore-foot strike, but I'm already pretty sold on the idea. Here's why.

Foot-shaped: The shape is amazing. I have wide feet, dare I mention bunions, and it always annoys me that shoes get pointy toward the toe. This shoe doesn't, so it's much roomier in the toe box and is also unstructured. The mesh keeps the feet happy.

Zero-Drop: The shoes are flat, so the heel doesn't get in the way and encourage heel strike like standard running shoes. I'm hoping that running more naturally will decrease impact to my feet and knees, and so far so good (but like I said, only one mile.) Whenever I try to strike mid foot on my Brooks Adrenaline, I catch the heel and end up shuffling, so this was a treat.

Weight: They are so light compared to my other shoes. I took a few strides in the grass to practice and then took them to the sidewalk. I felt like I was floating!

Appearance: Ok, not the reason to choose a shoe. But what can I say, I LOVE the look and colors too.

Fit: The fit is really comfortable. I love the mesh and lack of structure in the upper, and I've already raved about the foot shape. They come with two insoles, cushioned for support and minimal, and I'm currently using the cushioned one. We'll see how things go, and perhaps once I'm using them as my primary shoe I can give the minimal insole a try. For sizing, I went a half size up from my normal running shoes and that worked perfectly.

Transition: The warning with going to a zero drop shoe is tightness in calves and the Achilles tendon. Dropping the heel allows the muscles and tendons to extend to normal length, and for people who aren't used to it that can result in tightness. I didn't feel it in my one mile run, but I'm still starting slow to avoid any issues.

My other new running accessories include a cute rainbow colored headband from RazzyRoo and Experia socks by Thorlo. I picked both up at the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half expo last weekend. I have been wearing a black/reflective headband from Chica Bands and wanted an extra, but Chica Bands wasn't at the SJ expo. To my surprise, RazzyRoo had the same quality product for a much better price - 3 for $30 instead of the $15 each paid for Chica Bands. And of course I bought 3.

The Experia socks by Thorlo are sweet too, they feel soft and have just enough cushion. I have two pair and prefer them to the Smartwool socks I've been wearing for the past few years. The Experia socks can be seen in the shoe photos above.

Until next time - stay motivated!


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