Shoes of the year, part too

Nike Kiger/Wildhorse

Generally, trail shoes don’t turn me on.  The only time I put on a real trail shoe is if I go offroad into something really technical and there’s been a bunch of rain or snow or whatever.  If I need some gription.  But otherwise, I want my regular trainers because they’re what’s most comfortable.  The best trail shoes I ever had were the original INOV-8 Terroc 330’s.  I was living in Taos1, and wore them in the dirty Vaseline spring mud on the mesas and trails and felt like I was on dry, flat trail.  These aren’t those—they lack the flexibility—but these are Nike’s best trail models yet.  I like the Wildhorse more, if only because they’re what Nike gave to me, and the extra Air element in the Kiger forefoot is entirely unnecessary I think.  But most seem to favor the Kiger, which is cool because they look a bit better perhaps, and the fit is a little cleaner, so if you were to choose, you’d probably go Kiger.  You’ll probably have to size up a half size, unless you find black toenails somehow arousing, in which case message me.

Skechers GOSpeedmeb

You should own a pair of these, not because Meb wears them, and he’s America’s best marathoner, but because the GOSpeed are one of the best marathon racers you will ever wear on your feet.  They’re supafirm, but don’t rattle you like the Adios 2, so responsiveness might be a little much if you’re used to marshmallows.  The fit is narrowish, but you don’t mind because when you pass people, all they’ll hear is a lightsaber cutting through the air and you’ll probably PR in something.2

Things we’re looking forward to:

ON Cloudon-cloud-every-day-9

This model will be the one, if there is one, to bring ON some traction.  I love the cool Swiss aesthetics—understated and functional—and I think they’re on to something with the whole Cloudtec thing.3  I don’t know what it is exactly, but I slowly fell in love with the Cloudracer.  I was pleasantly surprised as they slowly revealed themselves to me as a simply solid, consistent performer, and that’s really all you want, isn’t it?  They disappear on my feet, and my feet don’t feel beat up afterward.

The Cloud are already being tested across the pond, and the elites there have chosen them over the Cloudracer, so there’s that.  ON will have to work on adding a splash of color if they really want to hit the American market, and with a few tweaks here and there, the new Cloud elements will be the real deal and people will be spreading the ON love all over the roads.4

ASICS Hyperspeed 6

These are on the list because they’re $85.  You just don’t see that anymore, even with racing flats.  When I started in run specialty a lot of years ago, the standard go-to neutral and stability shoes were $80.

The upper looks pretty flimsy, a little Kinvara-ish, so I don’t expect the fit to be very racer-y, but I’m a cheap sumbitch and $85 is right on.  I loved the first couple iterations of the Hyperspeed, except of course for the durability part, and then the water drainage part (I’d Shoe Goo the drainage holes—much better.)  ASICS appear to be focusing on the big box these days, and not paying much attention to run specialty, other than the 33 Series, which is inconsistent, really; huge swings for the occasional base hit, is all.  I don’t know.  Whatever the situation, I’m getting a pair of the Hyperspeed 6.  Nostalgia maybe.  Somebody ganked the Wakiihuri racers I had, and my last pair of Tarther are in shoe hospice, so I’ve gotta give ’em a shot.

Mizuno HitogamiHitogomi

These are the ones I’m waiting for, at least until the Revolver come back, or they bring in the Cruise Victory from Japan.  My favorite shoes in recent years from Mizuno—the Musha (shudder! drools!), the Universes, the Ekiden—all tend to be more flexible than most Mizuno.  My hope with these bad girls is that they will be more Musha-like and I’ll get to return to public displays of affection with a daily trainer from Mizuno.  Initially, I liked the Sayonara—I’d wanted to like it for a long time—and then about a month in, realized that they made my Achilles and PF flare up every time I wore them.  Same with the new Rider 17 insertfrownyfaceemoticonhere.  They’re just too rigid in the rear foot for me.  But I think I’m odd man out in that respect.

The Hitogami will be beautiful to look at for sure—Mizuno are doing aesthetics right—and if they perform as good as they look, I wanna be on ‘em.

Saucony Kinvara 5


Saucony Type A6

The Type A series have been aweseome from the get go, and I’ve lost count of how many pair I’ve owned.  The only downsides to them have been that they bottom out a wee bit too soon and the drainage thing.  I get the drainage thing:   Triathletes doing Ironman distance are pretty much waterboarding themselves to stay cool, but for those of us who like to train in them, it just means you’ve gotta keep an eye out for puddles.  And since the drainage holes reduce durability, they’re counter productive, at least from my perspective.  But these shoes just plain disappear on my feet and I can go pretty long in them without feeling abused, so I keep coming back.   The A6 look like they have modified drainage elements and there is more rubber up in the fore foot, so it can be safely assumed that when I get ahold a pair of these uns, there won’t be a lot of talking going on.  I don’t know what that means.

Nike Pegasus 31

Someone sent me pics and specs of the new Peg, and it looks really good.  Generally, I think the Peg are one of the very best old school marshmallows you can find, but they’re not my thing.  Back in the early-mid 80’s I had them, and remember liking them.  (I think I liked the shoes more than the actual running part, back then.)5  And then in the mid-2000’s, I think, I had a few pair of that iteration, but then I was digging them because Mssr Tergat was wearing them when I met him at NTN and he nudged my foot in acknowledgement that, yes, we both wore the same shoes, although his marathon average pace is pretty much my fastest mile ever, though we didn’t really talk about that part.  But it seems that the Peg will get a bit lighter, a bit firmer, a bit lower, and if that’s the case, me and Peg are going streaking in the quad.  Who’s with us?



1The center of the universe

2I don’t know what in, but you never really know.  Don’t be so hard on yourself.

3Which kinda makes me think of Tubes.

4Definitely gross and potentially dangerous, possibly illegal.

5Not like now.  No.


6 responses to “Shoes of the year, part too

    • You know, I think it depends on which one tends to feel the best, the longest. The Go Speed is firm enough that some people might find it a little harsh late in the race when things get sticky. Similarly, the 1400 might feel a bit flimsy in the darker miles. I’d give each a go in some longer runs and see which one rises to the top.
      I think if I were to choose one for myself, I’d go with the Go Speed and risk feeling a little blown up the day or two after the race.

      • Thanks John! But y’see, I don’t own either yet… Running in Brooks puregrit, Hagios and Vibrams. Hagio, sadly, gives me blisters under my arch and was hoping for something lighter, more road-y than puregrit. Sounds like Go speed might be the way to go. Love the reviews, keep it up!

      • Thank you!
        If you’ve been in Grit, Hagio and Vibram, then you’re right–the Go Speed might be the way to go. They are very, very cool.
        Good luck. Enjoy!

  1. Hi John

    What shoes do you use as an everyday trainer … I am looking for option on what to try, something cushy with a little stability.
    I used Mizuno Precision for the last 3 month and my achilles is not happy. I also have a pair of GT-1000 that are on their last mile.
    I habitually own only 2 pairs .. so not a lot of rotation for me … I am a cheap runner.


    • Hi Phil,

      Thank you for the question.

      I like the Launch, the various Adioses, Kinvara, 1400 and…the GORun 2 (and now 3). Each of those is a shoe that I can put on and do almost any workout and not have to think about what’s on my feet.

      Most of these have good inherent stability, though none are technically marketed as such.

      Best of luck. Enjoy!

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