Sneakers For Sisyphus: Searching For The Perfect Running Shoe

Running shoe rainbow

I have been running in earnest for nearly a decade now, and I still haven’t found my elusive perfect running shoe.

Oh, I’ve come close. The Nike Zoom Vomero 10 gave me the perfect-fit Cinderella feels, only to betray me as soon as the 11 hit. I’ve been using the 14s lately and they work well, but I don’t get the same bespoke sensation when I put them on.

I used the Brooks Ravenna for literally years, until Brooks modified their stabilization system and it overpowered my one unstable foot. (The other foot is neutral. It’s a real treat.)

Under Armour’s first iteration of the Sonic Hovr was a dear love, but alas, when it came to long runs my right knee was ultimately not a fan.

I’ve tried UA’s Guardians, but they were WAY too stiff. WIth Nike’s Lunarglide, I tried to replicate my Cinderella experience with the Vomero 10s, but it was no good. The Brooks Ghost everyone loves was okay but seemed to exacerbate – or at least did not assist – existing issues.

Running shoes

I have been to Fleet Feet and I have been to Road Runner Sports and I have done research and tried things on my own. And yet here I am, still searching. I doubt I’m the only one.

It’s those darned yearly model upgrades – that’s the culprit. Oh, sure, sometimes they work out and sometimes it’s even an improvement. But as I’ve notated in several instances above, sometimes your favorite shoe plummets in your esteem instantly. What can ya do.

Well, you can buy a bunch of shoes blindly or you can go to a running store. Mostly recently I went for the latter. My fitter was knowledgeable, a track coach, and I walked out with a pair of Brooks Glycerin thanks to my avowed enjoyment of bounciness.

Still, when I took them home I found they weren’t quite it. Don’t get me wrong, as a training shoe, the Glycerin is great! Very cushy and comfortable. But they’re so squishy that whenever I try to dig in for some speed it feels like I’m sinking into mud. Not ideal for racing.

Running shoes

I think part of the problem is that the Fleet Feet I went to didn’t have a treadmill, so I kinda had to just lightly jog six feet up and back in the store. It’s hard to get a real running feel that way.

On the other hand, when I’ve done shoe fittings with a treadmill, I can get sucked into trying everything repeatedly; the fitting takes hours and the choices leave me in a tornado of indecision.

Anyway. Guess I’m still looking. I might stick with my Nike Vomero 14s for my upcoming races, but as I said the Glycerins are in the training mix for sure. And I still have a couple pairs of Ravennas that I should get some use out of.

I also just picked up a pair of the Nike Pegasus 38. I found a good deal, and the description appealed to me. These shoes have a tagline, it seems: “workhorse with wings.” That feels like a good descriptor for me, too: I’m not a cheetah, but I’m out there getting it done, you know? I went for my first run in them yesterday, and while it’s very early in our relationship, so far it feels like love. LOVE! Cinderella-style love! Which is HIGHLY shoe-based, as you know.

But then again… where have I heard that before? Oh, right. From me. About other shoes. All the time. Or maybe the Pegasus 38 will be great but the 39 will be terrible.

Or… maybe not? Jenn + Pegasus 4 Ever? Only time will tell.

It’s really annoying. 😂

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