We prefer the simpler things in running.
One of the things that we used to hear back in the day, when running was less Happy Hour/Playdate/Fashion Show and more, you know, Running, was, “Running is simple: All you need is a good pair of shoes.” That is something we don’t hear as often today, if ever, because as running has bloomed from an individual, competition-seeking act of self-discovery into a social, event-seeking act of self- expression, it has become a thriving, expanding business. It is exciting and, for the novice or newbie, a little overwhelming at times perhaps. And this is the part that we hope to help with. The overwhelming part, that is.
We know that there’s no going back to those simpler times, and we’re not sure we want to go back there, since that was also when we were still unable to shave and when awkwardly clumsy was where it was at.
And so in these spaces we want to focus on the things that are the essence of running, in the original form. At least, in the way we learned it. When we talk about training, there won’t be talk of LT, or AT or VO2. Instead, we’ll talk about “fast” or “easy” or maybe “marathon goal pace.” We probably won’t review any of the GPS things. When we review shoes, we will stick to simple, functional kicks, or what some people call “minimal” or “elemental” designs. We prefer to call them, um, “running shoes.” Anything else is “not a running shoe,” or sometimes a “fashion shoe,” or on occasion, “stupid.” We probably won’t compare carbohydrate gels. If we discuss anything “nutritional,” it will be, probably, the grass fed bacon cheeseburger at Flat Top or maybe the kimchi in the fridge, which someone found in their backyard or something.
When we talk about running shoes, we’re probably not going to reference all the studies that might show that barefoot is life changing or unethical, or go too deep into if it matters whether your shoes have a 4mm or 10mm offset or whatever. We’re going to present things in a way that informative, fun, sometimes absurd and occasionally offensive. We’re going to note when advertising gets silly and try to translate it for you. I mean, it’s just running. And it seems that there’s so much, you know, seriousness in there now. Srsly. We’re much more likely to find value in the stories or recommendations we hear from someone who has been there, done that uphill bothways than from a lab report or marketing press release or some shit. And just so we’re on the same page, here are some of the things we think about when we think about running shoes:
The right running shoes for you are the ones that disappear the most on your feet. That means that they are the least amount of shoe you’re comfortable running in. You’ll know that the amount of cushioning, or stability, or the fit, or the softness of the midsole—all of that shit—is right for you when you notice it least.
The most functional designs are probably the ones with the least amount of technology shit in them. Generally speaking, mid-foot support devices, medial posts, proprietary cushioning systems, etc. are almost entirely unnecessary, functionally speaking. That doesn’t mean that good designs never have any of these elements, because sometimes they have all of them, but mostly they don’t. It’s not an either/or thing, it’s not so black and white. It isn’t only midsoles that are 4mm or less. It isn’t barefoot v. shod. There is a spectrum of functionality, and it probably isn’t as broad as the shoe companies would lead you to believe. When in doubt, go simpler.
If we would put them in rotation, we’ll discuss them. One example of that is the Saucony A5. Also the adidas Adios 2, or even the Skechers GORun 2. See the differences there? Or if we’d think they’re legit shoes, but don’t run in them—Brooks Launch!—we’ll talk about them. We’ll mention if they were given to us by the shoe company, and we’ll note if we paid for them out of pocket. Other than that, we don’t have much of an idea about how this is gonna go down. We don’t exactly know how this is gonna shake out. Hell, we don’t even really know what day it is except that we’re not supposed to pick up the kids yet.