When I first started running, I wore a ratty old pair of Nikes that I had bought for clinic in massage school. They were serviceable when I was starting the C25K, but as I started being able to string together more minutes of running, it became more obvious that they weren't going to cut the mustard.
I have odd feet. I know, I know, most people probably say that, and mine aren't freakshow level (I don't think), but not just any old shoe fits. I have low arches, bunions, and narrow heels. My toes are long and flat. There are entire styles of shoes that I avoid altogether. So, I was a little anxious to start the search for running shoes that weren't too expensive, and also about putting myself forth as a runner when I was just barely starting out. Were the salespeople going to laugh at me?
I had no clue where to start. I knew I needed something better than what I had, but what? And where should I buy them? I journeyed to the mall (any excuse to go there is always good in my book), and wandered through a few different sports stores. I ended up price checking and buying a pair of Brooks Ravenna 3 shoes from the last store I visited based on the recommendation of the clerk there. I had tried on a few pairs in other stores, but this was the first -- and only -- pair I tried on at the final store. The salesperson was awesome and took me seriously and put me in exactly what I needed.
Brooks Ravenna 3
They've been great, and having new shoes is always a motivation to me to use them. However, at the Panerathon 5K, we received coupons to the Road Runner Sports store in the same shopping plaza as the Panera store. I'm already a VIP member at RR, so this was an added bonus to go shopping. After the race was over, I headed over to see if my shoes are really as awesome as I thought, or if they were just awesome compared to those ratty old Nikes. I worked with the cheeriest girl ever to sell footwear.
I tried on Mizuno Wave Inspire 8s. They had a weird bump that pushed into the medial side of my heel; if I noticed it just walking around, I couldn't imagine what it would feel like after a few miles.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 8
I tried on some Asics Gel-DS Trainer 17s. They were okay, but didn't seem to fit my foot right.
Asics Gel-DS Trainer 17
Then my salesperson put me in a pair of Brooks PureCadences.
I was there with my boyfriend who wanted nothing more than to finally head home after the race and get in a nap before his afternoon work shift, so I felt a bit pressured to speed up my normally hesitant, wishy-washy shopping style. I thought they felt like a dream! Great fitting, enjoyed walking around in them, hopped on the in-store treadmill for a couple of minutes and still liked them. I walked out the door with them.
The next day I took them for a run. Everything that felt great walking around turned into not such a good thing when I was running. It felt like they forced me to run on the sides of my feet, and in fact, the lateral sides of my feet starting going a bit numb. My left foot hurt. My right ankle didn't feel quite right. I slogged out the run, determined halfway through to return these bad boys and resolved to spend more time with the trying on process in the store next time.
I ended up returning them last night. Road Runner Sports has a great shoe return policy; 90 days to try, wear, workout, see how they go, and if anything is wrong with them, they accept them back. Road Runner only had the Ravennas in the color I already have in stock at the store, so I ordered a pair from their website in a different color (the color I *really* wanted once I found out that it was available, *after* I had already bought my purply-blue pair).
Brooks Ravenna 3 - anthracite/silver
They should arrive early next week. Another perk of the Road Runner VIP membership is free shipping!