Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Shoe Shopping: Aftermath

Time for a follow-up after the great Shoe Shopping Expedition to Runners Service Lab in Belgium.

The end result was the purchase of a pair of Brooks Ravenna 3 shoes.  I had five requirements for my new shoes:  Lighter.  Same pronation correcting.  Less stabilisation.  More shock absorption.  Larger toe space.

I've now done several 20k+ events including the Semi de Paris in them and can report that they are exactly what I asked for.  And then some.  Comfort levels are good and there is a little more toe room.  If I'm really splitting hairs, I could probably still use more space here as I don't much like losing toenails.

The cushioning is stupendous.  Remember when you were at school and they had those cushioned rubber mats in the sports hall?  Running on pavement in these shoes feels like running barefoot on on of those mats.  It's quite extraordinary.

The "and then some" comes as a result of the change in running that the shoes have brought to me.  I am a strong heel-striker but, wearing this pair, I get a much more mid-foot strike.  My running is more fluid and less jarring.

If I had to offer a criticism, it would be that the back of the heel is slightly higher and further forwards than it needs to be.  I'm getting calluses on the backs of my heels.  Now I've spotted this, I can stop them building up with (even more) Vaseline.  Really:  What can't it do?

I'm not going to suggest that anyone should rush out and buy this particular shoe but the combination of expertise and technology that helped me to choose them was blindingly successful.

Incidentally, RS Lab has a much improved website now which does a better job of showcasing their unique services.  And, no, I am not being paid to promote them.  I really do believe they offer an exceptional and useful way to buy running shoes.