The year in running shoes started out in a bad way, but ended well. Like most people, when I purchase running shoes, I pretty much have to consider them an investment. I made one investment that didn’t pay off, two that had good performances, and two that excelled.
Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 ($89.98 at the time of purchase): I like the Epic React, but it wasn’t my favorite shoe ever. The midsole was very forgiving and I thought that I could probably log a lot of miles in it, but I didn’t. For whatever reason, I just didn’t go to grab it when I wanted to run and that’s relatively abnormal. I also liked how it has a wide forefoot, my foot never felt cramped. I think that this shoe had a 10mm drop, which is a lot and maybe the reason why I didn’t grab it on a regular basis. I still wear them all of the time because I think they look fantastic and I’d buy another pair at $90 if they didn’t have such an extreme drop.
Would I recommend? Yes, I did like these shoes quite a bit. I think as they continue to develop these shoes, I think they’ll probably continue to improve.
Nike Vomero 14 ($140.00 at the time of purchase): Absolutely hated this shoe. I don’t even really like wearing this shoe around the house to get any use out of it. Another 10mm drop, 14mm in the forefoot and 24mm in the heel, but what I hated about this shoe is that there’s this air pocket underneath my toes. I guess the idea is to give your forefoot extra cushioning, but I never felt that. I just felt annoyed that I was continually stepping on this packet of air.
Would I recommend? No. I did not enjoy this shoe.
New Balance 1080 v 10 ($149.50 at the time of purchase): I did love this shoe, but hate the way it looked. I’m not a huge fan of the elfen heel, I simply don’t get that. I had no issues putting 400 miles on this shoe. The Fresh Foam X was terrific and it’s a legitimate midsole. The 1080v10 has an 8 mm drop, and weighs about 281 grams, which isn’t heavy by any means, but this is a shoe that you take out on consistent long runs and it will perform. A majority of my runs are 6 to 20 miles, with most of them being 6 as that’s when I get to run in the morning before work.
Would I recommend? Absolutely. I just hate the elfen heel and that’s purely aesthetic. They are also expensive and I found other shoes for $40 cheaper that I like as much or better.
New Balance 880 v 10 ($129.95 at the time of purchase): Because I was so in love with the Fresh Foam, but didn’t love the elfen heel, I picked up the 880’s and they are also ridiculously comfortable. As stated above, the Fresh Foam X is seriously comfortable. This was my Saturday morning shoe in the summer, where I’d run outside and be completely drenched and the concrete was hot at 8 in the morning. This thing is a tank. The difference between the 1080 and the 880 is weight, 304 grams, and a 10 mm drop. So it’s a heavy shoe to go on long runs in the dead of summer. I still wear this shoe and part of the reason why I didn’t put 400 miles on it was because I want to wear it and didn’t want to completely blow it out with 400 miles.
Would I recommend? Yes, they’re heavy, but part of the reason why I didn’t put more miles on them was because I’m using them quite a bit around the house and I use them for when I work out with weights. So they’re continuing to be utilized, not just miles.
Saucony Kinvara 11 ($110.00 at the time of purchase): I’ve fallen in love with this shoe. Everything about it is perfect for what I do. I typically run about 6 miles most mornings. That’s a shade under an hour of running for me. The Kinvara 11 is 233 grams, which is significantly lighter than the New Balance Shoes. I had no need for that added weight. The drop is only 4mm, 24.5 in the forefoot and 28.5 in the heel. I have never thought I needed a significant drop and just find these super comfortable. The PWRRUN midsole is light and responsive. It’s not too cushy and it’s not so firm that makes it uncomfortable. By far, I’ve loved running in this shoe more than any shoe the entire year. So much so, I went ahead and bought a black version. I’d also add that the Kinvara 11 is the most affordable shoe on the list at $110.
Would I recommend? Hell yes.
I’ll have a graph at the first of the year that details the miles run on each shoe. Yes, I’ve done that.