A week and a half ago, I did 18 ish miles in Yosemite. This past Sunday I did 5 at a new to me trail- Riconada- in my area. Both days my feet let me know that my new trail shoes were not winning any points. Boo. Which puts me in a predicament. I need shoes! And it’s not for lacking of trying.
My first few years running trails, I had perfect shoes. First Mizuno Wave Hayate followed by a move into Under Armor Horizon HTT. Loved both of them with no issues but neither shoe is made anymore. Not only that, neither shoe company makes any trail shoes anymore. WTH? Which has started a 2ish years of trying all the trail shoes. Let’s recap-
First up- Brooks Cascadia. Anytime I say their name, I hiss a little and call them devil shoes. Pretty sure I broke my foot in the them during Spooner’s Cove back in Dec 2019. 2020 and my lack of running gave my foot time to heal and nope- I never went to the doctor. Did get rid of the shoes. Full disclosure- the rep at the store talked me into buying mens and they ended up being too big. I might like the woman’s version but can’t bring myself to order them.
Both my first trail shoes were pretty minimal and the Cascadia was a beast of a shoe so maybe that was my problem???
Next- Altra Lone Peak. Felt good up until 5 miles… and only on flat. My feet slid around like crazy when running downhill and I needed more cushion. I tend to run downhill like a 5 year old without brakes so I need my feel to feel secure. As for the cushion, I mean I am carrying 50ish more pounds than I used to so that may make sense.
3- Merrell SkyFire. Ok, ok, not bad. Nice blend of running shoe meets hiker. Ok, we may have something here. Until I ate trail going down the Grand Canyon. Son of a!
4- Topo Ultraventure. Kind of like a cross between the Skyfire and the Lone Peak. Traction was amazing, cushion felt good. Until my first 8-9 mile trail in them and I think I broke my big toe. Ok, dropping a bottle on it that night was probably what did it fully in but it was already severely bruised from that day. Returned.
5- Nike Terra Kiger– Nope. Never made it out of the house. Went back in the back and back to the Running Warehouse. For a person who wants snug shoes- this was a form fitting brick.
6- Altra Timp– Tried a size 9, felt way too small. There went that idea. Exchanged for a 9.5 (my usual size). Holy fire of arch pain Batman. Returned.
7. Brooks Caldera- good lord, that’s a cushiony shoe! It also made me about 2 inches taller and that it just too much shoe for me. Back to the store without running in them.
At what point does the Running Warehouse fire me as a customer? And before you @ me about buying from a local running store, the Warehouse is my local running store. Shout out to local businesses going big. But the storefront still hasn’t really reopened since COVID.
8- Merrell MQM Flex 2 I liked the SkyFire but wanted more traction so I searched the Merrell site for a possible other option. They started out good. I’ve put more miles on them then any of the other shoes. But I didn’t really test them until Yosemite. The path was basic so I didn’t really need to worry about traction but my feet were so damn sore, I almost tore them off. My bad toe even reared its head again. Then in Riconada, I slipped 4 or 5 times on the rockier parts of the trail. Which is most of our local trails. WTH again!
So now I don’t know what to do. What else is there to try? I know there is Hoka, but that seems like it will be way too much shoe for me. I’ve looked at Saucony but nothing jumps out at me as the answer. I have dreams of running a 50K but I can’t even begin to contemplate that if I can’t last more than a few miles or a couple of hours in a pair of shoes.
So seriously, if anyone has any tips- throw them my way!