Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Shoe Experiment Update #1

Several weeks ago, I decided to put two new pairs of shoes - Newton Sir Isaac S's and Hoka One One Stinson Tarmac's - through their paces. I've now logged 30-35 miles on each shoe and have come to at least one preliminary conclusion: my Hokas were the wrong size.

I wear a 10.5 in most running shoes, but in the Hokas, I was just swimming around. The "speed laces" made getting the shoes as tight as I needed them to be quite difficult. I complained about this a bit in my last post, exchanged emails with Hoka One One and finally decided to do something about it this week. Fortunately for me, Hoka has a great shoe trial/return/buy-back program!

I took the shoes back to the fine folks at Zombie Runner in Palo Alto. We chatted for a while and they had me try on the same shoes (Stinson Tarmac) in a size down. Though the fit felt much more secure overall, the toebox seemed too narrow. Then they told me about another Hoka shoe: the Bondi B2. I tried that one on, also in a 10, and they fit much better! (Much to my surprise, that model's already won an award or two this year.)

After a rather delicious espresso (Zombie Runner also happens to be one of Palo Alto's premier coffee shops), I took the shoes home and laced up for a run in them this morning. They're a firmer and slightly heavier shoe than the light-and-airy Stinson Tarmacs. This makes for a slightly more "familiar" road feel, I think. I can't decide if I prefer this to the plush softness of running on the other model, but I definitely enjoyed it enough to give it a few more runs.

As for the Newtons, I do think I'm finally starting to get used to the shorter stride and firmer, lug-focused ride of the Sir Isaac model. I'm definitely going to keep running in these. They'll probably even be the ones I bring with me to New York/PA this weekend and the Philippines in December, if only because they pack a little easier than the Hokas. But the (nominal) transition to "Newton-style" running hasn't been an outright failure, and that's a good sign. I'm looking forward to trying the more prominently-lugged Motion model after I wear these puppies through.