My Take On Running Shoes
All runners have preferences regarding their run gear, especially when it comes to shoes. Since every runner is different and every foot is different, it stands to reason there will be literally hundreds of different shoes to choose from. With all the choices, it can be confusing to know what shoes you “should” be running in.
In my opinion, there is no perfect shoe. Shoe technology has advanced so much in recent years that if you are looking at shoes that retail over $100 (never pay retail price BTW – more on that later), there is a pretty good chance they will work for you so long as you consider a couple basic elements. I can hear the shoe nerds and run geeks now, “Blasphemy!”
Let’s not make fit more complicated than it needs to be. Are the shoes comfortable or not? Sometimes it’s hard to tell when you are trying them on for the first time. A really cool looking shoe on sale that doesn’t fit just right at first will not likely fit better the more you wear them. Trust me on this. Oh yeah, just because a certain shoe fit you well does not guarantee the new model of the same shoe will. Don’t force the fit. One more thing: If you are new to running, I highly recommend visiting a real running shop. Not a department store, but a shoe store that specializes in running. Have someone watch you walk and run, get your gait analyzed, and heed their recommendations for the type of shoes that would suit your foot best. This should be a free service.
A measurement in mm from the heel to the toe is called the drop. The higher the number, the bigger the “heel” padding of the shoe. Low drop shoes can also be called minimalist or racing or flats. Most average runners like me prefer shoes with more than minimalist padding, but everyone is different.
Some shoes are made for trail running, winter running, track sprinting, ultra-marathons, and everything in between. They will usually be described as such. Don’t buy track flats because they are cool looking and on sale if you intend to do winter trail running. You can generally trust the shoes description. Buy shoes that align with your primary run surface and distance.
This is simply personal preference, but it’s still important. I’ve learned that I’m not going to find the perfect color shoes to go with my outfits and I don’t care. In fact, it seems to be the trend now to have wildly contrasting colors to your shoes. I embrace the color clash now. To each his own.
After all that, let me tell you about my new wheels – the Newton Fate 2.
I won’t get all techie on you about the fabrics, cushioning, and science behind the design because you can read about that from the aforementioned shoe nerds and run geeks online. I will tell you that these shoes are pretty cool, and they feel unlike any other shoe I’ve run in.
The Newton Fate 2 has a unique outsole that encourages mid-foot striking for optimum run efficiency. At first it feels like an extra pad under the ball of your foot (between toes & arch) that takes a bit to get used to. But once you do, I feel like it helps spring me into my next step and helps me to stay off my heels. I think these will be my new “fast shoes.”
The fit is snug yet comfortable for my size 11.5. I thought it ran a bit small compared to other brands of the same size, but I think that has more to do with the feel underfoot than anything else. I haven’t experienced any blistering or rough spots in my toes, which usually indicates a bad fit, so I’m satisfied. The toe box is roomy and flexible as well. Laces seem a wee bit short, but it’s better than being way too long.
The drop is just 4.5mm which is small compared to what I usually run, but with the Newton P.O.P 2 (Point of Power) pad and lugs at the forefoot, I think it’s easier to run in than a traditional “flat” shoe.
The Newton Fate 2 is a lightweight road runner more geared for shorter distances and racing. Although I’m sure you can have success in marathon distance with this shoe, I’ll reserve it for shorter runs. Traction is nice for paved and firm non-paved surfaces, but this shoe is not designed for aggressive trail running.
These shoes look cool. I like red shoes because they make me feel fast and they clash perfectly with everything I wear. There are reflective details on every side which is nice for early morning runs when drivers aren’t quite awake yet.
I’ve tried lots of different shoes and I’ve liked most of them. I’d say that I only missed once or twice on my shoe choices over 8 years or so that I’ve been running seriously. I look for shoes described for the intended use I’m looking for, their appearance, and price. I’m not married to any particular brand and I won’t pay retail price for running shoes. Ever. I’ve had great success with Active Gear Up where I routinely pay less than $60 for my shoes retailing at $120 and up. I chose the Newton Fate 2 because they were described as lightweight road runners that encourage a mid-foot strike and they were on a killer sale and in my preferred color. Now that I’ve worn them several times I can say they are comfortable and they make me feel fast, which is a tall order. I’d go for Newton’s again and would recommend them to anyone.