2019 Shoe Retirement - Why you should retire yours too.

10:49 AM
With every training cycle, I retire the shoes who I've put hundreds of miles on.

This year was the first year I went with a color scheme as well.  There was a purpose to this year's color scheme.  Part of it was a personal dare and the other was to remind me of the extreme change in how I was training.

I had plateaued and I needed to switch up how I was training.  So I switched to low heart rate based training, with routine back to back longish runs.  In short, constant training on tired legs, without extreme exertion. 

Then there's the fact after every 100 miler, my body changes.  There's a new runner that emerges and many times it prevents me from running in the shoes I trained in throughout the year.  Crazy, right?!


This year's shoe team was a great team.  They all played their part.  Here's a quick run down of their talents and how I used these tools for 2019. 
  • Brooks Ghost v11:  These were a carry over favorite from my training and first 100 miler.  
    • Win: These kicks had just the right mix of cushion and platform stability for my stride.  I could put these kicks on when my legs felt like lead and still go out and put in work without beating my legs up.  The mesh was breathable and kept my feet cool.  
    • L:  The foam used was heavy.  12+oz.  If I was tired, I could feel the weight after a "few" miles too.  However, I leveraged the weight penalty to my training benefit to help with the getting used to running on tired legs feeling of a long ultra.  Also I learned the hard way if you submerge them in water, they took a spell to dry out!  Bummer.  
  • New Balance 1080 v9:  The most used shoes out of the arsenal for 2019.  These were the go to distance cushioned trainers for 2019.  The Toyota Camry XLE with the moon roof and vented seats of the stable.
    • Win:  Cushioned!  Light weight!  10oz.  Breathable!  As fast as a racing shoe for the distance!  An almost perfect shoe for me, my style, and my feet.  
    • L:  Almost perfect.  I had to use an alternate lacing technique to avoid a sometime hot spot on my right foot near the top of the lacing pattern.  Could never figure out what was causing the hot spot when it arose, but in order to avoid it altogether I just used an alternate lacing pattern and called it a day.  Other than that, almost perfect!
  • New Balance Fresh Foam Zante: When these were on, I knew I was going out to push my heart rate and still put a few miles on the docket.  
    • Win:  Lightweight for an almost race weight shoe.  7.5oz.  Sock like feel and breath-ability.  Felt like the wind when my legs warmed up and it was go time.  Cushioned enough for me to take up to 10ish miles without punishing my body too hard.  Great road feel despite the cushion.  Really helped with foot placement and foot control.  Grip!
    • L:  The grip was the result of the bottom rubber, which was clear.  The clear blown rubber got dirty easily.   AND, wore easily in the summer months in the AZ heat!  I saw some concerning wear on my shoes after about 50 miles in the shoe.  I'm sure if my stride was better, the area worn wouldn't have shown so quickly.  Definitely made me pay attention to my lazy leg that drags the inner left side when I'm tired.  
  • New Balance 890 v7:  When it was time to do speed work, these shoes were on deck.  When I wanted to work on body mechanics, these shoes were on deck.  
    • Win:  Just read everything under the Fresh Foam Zante above but consider a lighter more agile purpose driven construct.  
    • L:  The back cup of the shoe was hard formed and I had an issue once where it rubbed the back side of my heal a little.  I'm not sure if it was the shoe or if my stride was off as this occurred only once.  
  • New Balance Fresh Foam Gobi v2 (not pictured):  These kicks were my go to trail shoes for years.  But I knew these were not going to get me through the Javelina Jundred.  So I finally retired and left the Fresh Foam Gobi v2s.  These kicks I've had in my arsenal for over two years!  And been running in Gobi v2s for over three years!  That's how awesome these kicks were for me.  Perfect door to road to trail and back shoes.  Weren't the best for technical trails, they didn't have a rock plate or even a good toe guard.  But I loved these kicks!  The shoe that upset the Gobi v2s?  Nike Pegasus 36 Trails. 
Well that's it for 2019. 

I'm still on the fence as to what and where I'm going for 2020.  Nike has my attention for the first time in years as a result of the Pegasus 36 Trails which got me through Javelina.  The Hoka Carbon Xs have my complete attention. 

My body is continually changing and despite these kicks getting me to the Javelina Jundred in 2019 and my love for each of them, they wont see 2020.  I need a different kind of shoe moving forward. 

Just want to let y'all know don't marry a brand or a style.  Know that your body changes over time.  Know that shoes change as the version changes and a shoe that you once loved and was your go to kick in the past maybe the very reason you are having injuries today.

But why should you retire your aging shoes too?  Shoes break down over time.

Your shoes are constantly moving parts and a fundamental instrument in your ongoing progression.  Fibers in the upper that wraps your foot stretch over time.  The rubber and foam breaks down from repeated compression and rebounding, and exposure to the elements (Sun, Rain, Rocks, Ground, Toys, Dog crap, Animal Urine in the grass).

Bacterial growth from your sweat has an impact on the inner bed.  Oh you wash them constantly, that breaks them down too.

As your shoes break down, they slowly change how you run in them and alter your stride.  Eventually they become more of a hazard than a tool.  Just saying old shoes can become a liability and can cause injuries where they once protected you from injuries.

Not saying newer models are better.  Nope didn't say that at all.   I'm not an advocate of buying the latest and greatest hotness which now routinely cost over $150.00! 

Quick Tip:  Last year's shoe models are typically 40% - 50% off at the end of the year.  And you can get the current new models at the end of next year at a discount.  Who cares if you're a year behind the times, when you keep more cash in your pocket.  :)

Hell A beloved shoe of mine in the past, when it up-graded to the newer "better" model, it was trash for me!  It went from a daily trainer to a there is no way in hell I can run in these.  I took them back.  And I've never run in another version of that shoe since. - Maybe I should check in on those -

What shoes are y'all running in?  Do you constantly change up brands or have you run in the same shoe year after year after year? 

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