Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My New, New Trail Running Shoes

Well now the doctor call me crazy,
sometimes I am, sometimes I ain't.

I posted a while back about my new trail running shoes – Mizuno Wave Ascents. I'm still using them, they're great. There's certainly nothing wrong with them that warrants me buying another pair of trail running shoes. Yet that's precisely what I did, back in early July when we were in Seattle.

When I'd inquired into trail running shoes, I'd gotten a few suggestions for Inov8 shoes. They're a trail running shoe company. Most trail running shoes are either beefed-up running shoes (like my Mizunos or Helen's Cascadias); or else they're slimmed-down hiking boots, like what Vasque makes. I liked the idea of a company that specialized in running on trails. But when I was looking, I didn't see any. When we got to the Seattle Running Company they had a pretty wide selection, so I was pretty excited. And in a burst of pure consumer madness I actually spent $60 on an almost completely superfluous pair of shoes – a bright red pair of Inov8 285s.

"Almost," because they are quite different from the Mizunos. They're much lighter. In fact, they weigh 285 grams – Inov8 uses the posted weights for their model numbers. It's a 'trail running racing flat', kind of, I guess. They're comfortable. There's not much shoe, which is the idea. But this makes them limited – they don't make a good run to valley green, run trails there, run back shoe. So even though I've had them for a while now, today was the first good trail run I've gotten to do in them. I ran for 45 minutes in Valley Green, almost all on trails.

Response? Mixed.

On soft ground, they're great. Light, but with a good grip in the dirt. And on flat rocks, they're actually quite good, because they grip well. They give a really good feel for the ground.

They're a little narrow in the toe box, causing some discomfort later in the run for my pinkie toes. I'm hoping that'll stretch out a bit.

The weakness seems to lie in the red parts of the sole, rather than the black. The biggest single difference between my Mizunos and the New Balance shoes I usually wear comes when running on small rocks, esp. downhill. Sometimes with the NBs I feel the individual small rocks too much, which can be painful. The Mizunos really help with that, by being stiffer.

The Inov8 are somewhere between the two. For most of the run today, they felt good, but I couldn't descend as confidently as with the Mizunos. There was just one point early in the run, though, where I landed with one rock really jabbing up into the outside of my left foot. Right where (I'm guessing) the sole is red, not black. It didn't happen the rest of the run, but it made me pay attention to where my foot landed more than I would have.

So, mixed reviews. I like them, plan to figure out more about where and when to use them. When I look down and see them on my feet, I feel fast. For something like a race on Forbidden Drive, or on dirt or mud, they'd be perfect. But they're limited.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In my seemingly never ending search for trail runners I like, I will give these a try. I hope they are as good for me as they were you.

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