Ramblings, for your feet.

by John Schrup

I saw on Faceplant the other day some pictures of Bill Rodgers running in the Adios 2.  So, yeah, go getcher self some.  Win some Boston Marathons and stuff.

Watching the gang on the sales floor fit shoes is fun.  I participate here and there, but mostly I just mess things up, so I try to be invisible when people are fitting.  But the presentation has changed and I find that interesting.  Back in the day, when explaining the differences and similarities among shoes, we would reference cushioning systems, stability features, flex grooves, yaaaaaaaawn, etc., etc.  That was then and this is right, so we’re teaching now about things that make more sense to the individual who will purchase and run in the shoe, as opposed just selling some brand’s product because they came up with a more memorable acronym or some shit.  Now we teach about offset and stack height, flexibility and more importantly, how to make your body stronger, healthier and more athletic, so that what you wear on your feet is tertiary in importance, at best.

But let’s not get bogged down on offset, stack height and all those cool new things.  The tendency is to think that these numbers have magical properties that will make us better, more efficient runners.  If you were to wear only 4mm drop shoes, then no doubt you’d be all kinds of Kenyan in no time, wouldn’t you?  Just because you’ve wisely dumped your Kayano doesn’t mean that all of a sudden you’re landing midfoot and eating ugali and sukuma wiki.  It doesn’t work like that, though we keep looking for the elusive magical bullet.  I don’t know why, we just do.

When we tell you that the best shoe for you is the least amount of shoe you are comfortable with, we’re telling you that you are better than you think you are, that you simply do not “need” all the things you think you do.  I mean, it’s just running, man.  All that shit ain’t gonna make you cooler, faster, more African-er.  All the variables of the shoe—offset, flexibility, weight, fit, firmness—combine to make the shoe what it is.  You will know, intuitively, which is the right one for you.  Give yourself some credit.  Yes, you will.  We’re A.) not going to bring out something that wouldn’t work for you, once we know what to look for and 2.) not going to make the decision for you, unless there is something so glaringly obvious that we wouldn’t be doing our job to let you out of the store with an unwise choice.

You will know it is right because you won’t feel a thing.  Or, more likely, it will be the shoe that is the least noticeable on your foot.  If the fit is right, if the weight is right, if the firmness is good, if the offset is right—all of that—your interpretation of the feel will be that it disappears on your foot.  The proprioceptive response will be nothing, sort of.  It’ll be the closest feeling to nothing that you can get, wearing a pair of running shoes, that is.

I don’t know where that all came from.

A couple of you have asked me why I’m all obsessed with Newton.  I wouldn’t call it obsessed, exactly, it is just that I’m really enjoying learning some new stuff.  I mean, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?  There are times when the shoe reappears on my foot—going around corners faster than, say, easy—and I’ve been a little banged up lately, so admittedly there is some trepidation when I put them on, I don’t know why.  But they are much better than I’d ever have given them credit for.  The actuator lugs, as a technology, are much more valid than some crappy guide line flex groove or elastic arch band.  Anyway.  That’s that.

John Schrup is Rogue Running’s very own shoe guru, and has coached every age and every level of athlete in most every distance known to man … on planet earth! Including Team Rogue, currently. Don’t miss his Shoe Talk on Saturday, September 29, 9:45am at Rogue downtown (500 San Marcos St. 78702). Free and open to all!

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