I'm not a normal athlete ... well, for many reasons, really, but for today's purposes ... because of my feet.
Yep, my feet.
I inherited some beautiful bunions on BOTH of my feet (thanks, Grandma Adele!). I've looked into possibly removing them but haven't for several reasons:
1. That would put me out of commission for too long;
2. There's a strong possibility that, despite removal, they'd still grow back; and
3. I could run the risk of never being able to run again.
So yeah, no, hasn't happened. As a result, shoe shopping? The one thing every woman says she can rely on - "Oh, clothes don't fit, but shoes always do!" - I find a nightmare.
(Obviously, the same happens with running shoes.)
I'm by no means brand specific, but I've tried quite a few different shoes over the years:
2011: Nike Lunarglide+ 2 (enjoyed a lot, actually.)
2012: Saucony Cortanas (hated. hated. hated.)
2013: Saucony Triumph 10 (I honestly don't remember much about this shoe ...)
2013: Mizuno Wave Rider 16 (LOVED. adored. went through a few different pairs.)
2014: Mizuno Wave Rider 18 (never liked as much.)
2015: Saucony Ride 8 (these actually weren't bad ... they're just Saucony and wear out in 300-some miles which is annoying.)
2015: Zoot Ultra Kalani 3.0 (bought on super clearance at TriSports. I wear them more for running errands than I do actual running. I'll do super short bricks in them, but they rub too much for anything more substantial.)
2016: Adidas Ultra Boost (purchased maybe two weeks before IM Boulder? didn't mind them, but they never quite fit properly.)
(pre-2011 included Mizuno Wave Alchemy, probably a different Saucony, random Adidas that I had purchased at a big box store, New Balance shoes I wore in college for free since my hockey coach worked for them, more I don't remember ... I also tried Hokas for like a week, but my shins did NOT like them going downhill.)
That list brings us to ...
2017: New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 2
(The New Balance and the Adidas.)
I decided to try New Balance again for really, the stupidest reason. Since our favorite running store shut down (okay, technically rebranded with new ownership, but in my eyes, it died), buying running shoes has been a struggle for Brandon and I. It's so hard when we go into a running store and know more than the employees about what we're looking for and how our feet are supposed to look on the treadmill. It's also hard when I say I will specifically special order a shoe because I know I need wides and the employees ignore me and throw me in men's shoes (especially hard when this was at a highly-recommended and highly thought of store).
In any case, Brandon popped into a local running store to try the newest version of the Wave Rider (I think we're on 20 now) and while he was doing that, I wandered over to the clearance section looking for stuff in my size. There weren't many, but there was a pair of New Balance Fresh Foam Zantes that I tossed on, jogged around a little in, and was instantly intrigued about. I almost spend the $60 gamble that day, but decided to wait a bit.
We returned a week or so later after Brandon said that the gamble would probably be worth it, but unfortunately, they were gone.
A few days later, we were back down in our old stomping grounds of Lone Tree running errands when we randomly decided to stop in the Runner's Roost down there. Roost locations have been so hit or miss for us, but we decided, what the hell, and walked in. Brandon walked out with a pair of Nikes and I walked out with a special order of the Zantes in wide hopefully coming.
I give Roost a lot of credit for what happened next; I got a call from them saying that they couldn't do a special order of the wides because new models are coming down the pipeline relatively soon. They said I could wait for the new ones (potentially a few weeks), or I could just find the current ones online. When a local business recommends a customer going online away from them so it will make them happy? I respect that a lot.
So, Amazon it was ... and I have my shoes.
The question is ... do I like them?
Short answer ... I think so.
Long answer ... I think I need more time. I have heard that with shoes these days you shouldn't need to "break them in." That being said, my first run in the Zantes was a little painful - tight around the midfoot area (between ankle and bunion). I fiddled with the lacing a bit and since then, they've been okay. Granted, my longest run in them has only been three miles (ramping things up slooooowly this year), but I haven't had the weird blister/rubbing issue on the bottom of my big toes that I was getting in the Adidas (thanks to them not coming in wide). I've also had some "moments of brilliance" as I like to call them, with my run showing flashes of returning to me ... moments that I haven't felt in quite some time.
Let's cross our fingers and hope they work! Otherwise, I may be making a special trip down to a TeamSFQ teammate-owned running store to beg them to work some magic ...