Thoughts on Running Shoes (Part 2)

When it comes to running shoes, there are seemingly countless options.  Between all of the different brands, colors, uses (road/trail/speed) and new technologies being introduced all of the time, there are options for everyone.  As I said in my last post, I think that a good pair of running shoes is essential to your overall running experience.  It’s just that a good pair of running shoes is all based on your own personal preferences.    

Last week, I went through the responses to the first half of the questions I put on Instagram, which were more about how many pairs do you have and how often do you replace them.  The remaining questions to go through this week were more geared towards brands and specific uses of your shoes.

So, let’s see what brands are your favorite and what types of running you do in your shoes!

1//What’s Your Favorite Running Shoe Brand?  There are so many different reasons for someone to like a particular brand of shoes.  It could be price, value, reputation or the general look and feel of the shoes from that brand.

Considering the sheer number of possibilities, I knew that the responses would be mixed.  Of the 45 responses, four brands – Nike, Brooks, Saucony and Hoka – received 7 votes each.  Most of the other recognized brands also received at least one vote. 

There can be good things said about all of these brands, but my personal favorite right now is Hoka for the comfort as well as the reasonable cost of a lot of their shoes.

2//Brand Loyalty.  As someone who has changed loyalties many times in my years of running, I often wonder if other runners are the same or if they are always deciding on a brand/shoe in a spur of the moment type of way.  The responses here were somewhat split – 26 people are loyal to a specific brand, 20 change it up frequently.

For me, when I first started running I was always drawn to Asics because they were the most recognized “running-specific” brand that I knew of and, even though they might have been a little more expensive, it felt like I was paying for the comfort and quality of their shoes.  Then, after several pairs of shoes I would take a chance on another brand and, if I liked them, I would run with those for while.  That has continued for many years until last year, when I tried my first pair of Hoka.

I would now consider myself loyal to Hoka, but if my history is any indicator that could change!

3//Do You Have an All-Time Favorite Shoe?  Not many people responded with a specific favorite shoe, but of those that did, four people liked a specific pair of Nike that they had in the past because they were the perfect shoe.  One of my favorite pairs of shoes was also Nike (Pegasus Turbo) because I ran my two fastest marathons in them. 

A few people also responded and said they had favorites based on a specific pair getting them into running or it was the first pair of running shoes that they used. 

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a few different favorites mostly surrounding my best races or training cycles. As mentioned earlier, the Nike Pegasus Turbo will always be a favorite for my Seattle and Munich Marathons and the personal best times I achieved in each, but two honorable mentions would be Under Armour Charged, which I wore in San Francisco for my half marathon personal best time, and my first pair of Hoka Rincon, which comfortably got me through a lot of miles during the last year!

4//Do You Use Your Shoes for Specific Types of Runs?  Road vs. Trail.  Racing/Speedwork vs. Everyday.  As expected, the most common distinction was between road and trail, which makes sense given the extra grip and stability that many trail runners prefer or require.  Of course, there are also shoes made for speed that can be good for race day but might not have the proper stability to keep you comfortably going on your longer efforts.

I’ve mainly used road shoes up until now, but with a trail event coming up on the horizon for me, I’ll be looking at trail running shoes soon. I love a good recommendation and one of the responses came from Mark in England who said his favorite shoe was the Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX for when he is hitting the trails. I’ll definitely be keeping these in mind when I’m getting ready for my trail event in a few months!

In future posts, I might delve a little deeper into some more detailed aspects of shoes because this is all just really scratching the surface. Thanks to everyone who responded to the questions and for reading! If you have any shoe recommendations or areas that you’d like to read more about, please let me know!

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