The Shoes Made Me a Believer
|January 25, 2012||Posted by Lauren under Reviews & Giveaways, Running|
I have a confession to make.
I have been cheating on you. Big time.
Anyone who knows me and my history as a runner will know what a big deal that last statement was. I grew up in Asics, and have been running in the same shoes since the 90′s. When it comes to racing flats, I’ll try any brand. I’ve raced in most major shoe brands and had great results. But when it comes to my trainers? Well I’m loyal to a fault.
Until recently, that is…
The Saucony ProGrid Guide 5 shoes have a heel-to-toe offset of only 8 mm. For comparison, the offset in the average running shoes is 12 mm. It may not seem like much, but let me tell you – that 4 mm makes a huge difference when you’re running. I will never actually transition to barefoot running (yes, I know that is a big statement but I can confidently tell you that I do not buy into the merits of running barefoot or in shoes that make it seem like you are barefoot. If you ever see a picture on this blog of me in a pair of VFFs, assume I’ve been hacked. Anyway, I digress…), but I do like the idea of shoes that are a bit more minimalistic than my usual trainers. These shoes are not only lighter, but the smaller heel-to-toe offset ensures that you land further forward on your foot. As someone who has major problems with heel-striking (see Exhibit A below), I knew I could benefit from a different shoe.
This hurts me just looking at it!
The smaller heel-to-toe offset in the shoe also allows for a greater range of motion with your calf/achilles, giving you a more powerful stride. Which, in turn, can help you run faster. (I am in complete support of that!) And if that’s not enough, the shoe boasts cushioning and some support for pronators like myself.
Knowing all of that, I was very excited to test out a pair…but a bit nervous about how my stability-shoe-loving legs would react. As soon as I picked up a pair and felt how light they were, I couldn’t wait to take them out of a spin.
The honest truth – it was love at first run. Not only did my feet feel so light and free, but I felt like I was running on pillows. The shoes were everything they were marketed to be. Light, responsive, fit great to the shape of my foot. All thoughts of my old trainers were out the window.
I have been running in the shoes for a couple of months now, with a little break in between due to a problem I experienced in the heel with my first pair. However, I was sent a replacement pair and have not had the same problem – they fit and feel great! Because I am not used to running in any sort of minimalist shoe and the Guide 5 shoes very clearly change my stride, I have purposely kept my transition very slow. I don’t run in the shoes everyday, and the longest I’ve run in them so far is 7.3 miles. I’m interested to see how they hold up over the course of marathon training.
For those of you who like bulleted lists, here are the major pros and cons of the Guide 5s (vs. my usual trainers – the Asics 2160s).
- Very lightweight
- Cushioned and supportive – I don’t feel like any of the cushioning was lost when making the shoe lighter and my over-pronating feet feel very supported.
- I land more on my mid-foot! This change was pretty much instantaneous. The first time I ran in the shoe, I was actually taken aback by the loud “slap, slap, slap” sound I was hearing as my feet hit the pavement. I quickly realized this was happening because I wasn’t absorbing all of the impact with my heel anymore, which made me land heavier on the front of my feet. This has gotten better as I’ve gotten used to the shoe and the change in stride.
- As an added bonus – my stride is better in my old shoes too. On the treadmill the other day, I could see that I was landing less on my heel and more on my mid-foot, even while wearing my old trainers. (Though this changes when I get tired or start to run really fast).
And finally, now when I switch back to my old trainers, I honestly feel like I’m running on bricks. Those shoes were built for support and cushioning. But they feel so hard, clunky and unweilding in comparison.
So far, any con that I’ve experienced is simply due to the fact that the Guide 5s have literally changed my stride and the way that I run.
- Uncomfortable rubbing on my arches/toes that is leading to some new calluses. This is expected, since the shoe not only fits my foot differently, but is changing the way my foot hits the ground. I am hoping it will go away as I become accustomed to the change in my stride. And my toes are pretty callused anyway, so what’s one more?!
- Soreness in my calfs. Again, I think this is because I’m not completely used to the shoe. And when I switch back and forth between the 8 mm offset and the 12 mm offset shoes, my calf muscles get a bit confused.
The bottom line: The Sauconys are here to stay. My feet have found a new love.
I’m still not running in them 100% of the time yet, but I plan to keep building up. At the very least, I’ve been loving these shoes for shorter runs and speed workouts.
I received a free pair of Guide 5s to test out and review. But as always, my opinions are my own. I would never recommend a product I don’t like or believe in. And I love these shoes so much that I intend to buy another pair when these ones are worn out.