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Running Epiphany: I never thought I'd love a sneaker…

April 17, 2013

Running Epiphany: I never thought I'd love a sneaker…

It sounds crazy, but after years and years of trying to find the right running shoe, being told that I needed extra support, but feeling like my feet only didn’t hurt when running barefoot on the beach, after blister after blister, blood-soaked sock after…well, you get the picture. Anyway, I finally found two pairs of shoes that I am in love with.

I know a lot of people think that the minimal shoe thing is a whole lot of hype. I admit, I loved the book Born to Run, primarily because it’s beautifully written, and because his writing makes me want to go out and just fly down mountains, but I read it and didn’t think about switching to minimal shoes.

What really happened, and this is going to sound shallow, is that I started traveling for work. A lot. And I didn’t always have time to bike, let alone the money to fly with one. I try to avoid checking baggage on planes, and when I pack for weekend trips, I try to pack light. Sneakers, frankly, took up too much space. So, one day, at the New Balance outlet in Boston, I stumbled on a pair of their Minimus running shoes on sale. My thought wasn’t about run quality, it was simply, “Those are really cute. And they’ll fit in a bag a whole lot easier.”

So I bought them. And I hated them when I first ran in them. Re-enter the blisters, the blood-soaking.

But, a pair of socks later, I was flying.

Now, racing Xterra triathlon, I needed something a bit beefier for the tougher trails and getting over rocks. Luckily, there’s the New Balance Trail Minimus.

Best type of shoe to run in? I’ll still say barefoot is the best. The freedom of sprinting down a beach in a bathing suit with no shoes or socks on is still the greatest feeling in the world, but a close second is definitely bombing head over heels down a gnarly descent with my new sneakers, hoping that I don’t make some kind of dumb mistake and start somersaulting.

That’s just me, and I’m just extremely pleased with how my sneakers held up this weekend at the most brutal race on the most intense terrain that I’ve ever experienced. Race report to come, but this love letter had to be written ASAP.


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