I like to run. I've learned that it really isn't about where you're going, it's about the getting there - the how, the why, the who with. This blog is just a little repository for my thoughts along the way; the setbacks, the lessons learned, and the occasional triumph.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Running Shoe Fetish?

Well, “fetish” may be too strong a word, but I do seem to have accumulated a lot of running shoes over the years. I'm not just talking about buying a pair, wearing them out, buying a new pair to replace them and then failing to throw out the old ones. (Though, I tend to do that, too.) No, I’m talking about all the pairs I've got that I could take outside right now to run in. And I just went to double check, and even I’m surprised. I’ve got – ready? – Seven pairs.

I didn’t realize this situation had developed until a few months ago when my girlfriend started ribbing me in front of my friends about the shoe store in my closet. My good-natured defense at the time was that most of them were running shoes, but then later I wondered to myself if that was really a sane argument. I mean, isn’t that a little like someone opening your refrigerator and noting, “My, you sure do keep a lot to drink in here," and replying, “Yeah, but most of it is vodka and gin.”

The tally of those seven pairs? I’ve got my street running shoes for the summer (NB767), and I’ve got a nearly identical pair in an “all-weather” version meant for winter running (NB768AW). The summer pair is very breathable and let lots of air through, and the winter pair are the reverse. They make a big difference in the sub-freezing Chicago winter, so they’re kind of a necessity.

I’ve got a pair of fly-weight trail shoes that I love so much I bought a 2nd, identical set that are just a ½ size larger (NB790s). The larger ones give my feet a little more wiggle room.

I’ve also got a more heavy duty pair of trail shoes which weigh a little more, but offer much better protection on rocky surfaces (NB800). I haven’t had a chance to use them in a race yet, but they feel good on the local dirt trails.

I’ve got a 4th pair of trail shoes, from a totally different brand, which is supposed to function as a cross between my other pairs: light-weight but trail rugged (Inov-8 Flyroc 310). I was really excited about these when I bought them, but don’t wear them so much anymore, because I’ve learned that they cut oddly into the back of my right heel (and only the right - something to do with the shape of my foot), which causes a lot of friction and blisters on long runs.

And finally, early this spring, I picked up a pair of cross-county racing spikes (NB RX505CR). They’re really meant for a max of 7 or 8-mile races, but I wore them all the way through my 50-miler this past April and they did great on that dirty, muddy course.

All this doesn’t include the older pairs of running shoes that I don’t run in anymore, but keep around as “work” shoes, or the fresh pair of NB767s that I bought cheap and put away for future use. (And we'll not get into all my "regular people" shoes.)

That is my one defense for all the running shoes I have: Every single pair, except for the Inov-8s, I bought at a really great discount. And they all do serve different functions for me. Really!

But I know I may have a legit problem, because in spite of my personal supply, I still want to go into every shoe store and look around, “Just to see what they’ve got.”

Sarah Jessica Parker would be proud of me, but I’m not sure that’s good. But, now, if Kara Goucher approves, well, that’d be cool.

So, come on, tell me how many pairs of running shoes you own.

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