Sunday, January 29, 2012

1000 Mile Shoes

Attention Mizuno:
The following is a great advertisement for your shoes. I am expecting compensation, in cash. 

Good Mileage
Recently Shannon retired a pair of Mizuno Something-or-Other road shoes that had over 1000 miles on them.
(Shannon would like you to know it was 1017.8 miles to be exact). I had promised her that if she put a 1000 miles on them, then I would do a post honoring this achievement in frugality. So here it is.

Cost per mile$0.09
Road Races9
Trail Races14
Number of runs over 20 miles5
Number of runs under 2 miles48
Number of times I put screws in them and she got mad at me1

These shoes worked well for Shannon, meaning they didn't cause any problems. The highlight in the life of this pair was when she won (won! I still can't believe it!)  the 2011 Uwharrie 40 Miler.

It's worth noting that she had success despite using them in ways that Mizuno did not recommended.
Nothing crazy, but somewhat unconventional.

Unusual Fit
Souvenirs from the 2006 NY Marathon
When I first met Shannon, she got blisters on just about every long run she did. She had been getting blisters her whole life, and just accepted it as a fact of running.

"With the right shoes, you should never get a blister", was my opinion. Of course, everyone's foot is different, so finding the right fit takes a lot of experimenting. (The absolute perfect fit is no shoes at all, of course). Initially she was resistant to change shoes because they otherwise worked well for her.

Eventually she relented and we headed to our favorite running shop, Bull City Running. She liked the narrow width and lightness of the Mizunos, but they didn't feel quite right.

The standard sizing procedure, which leaves a half inch of room for the toes, put her in a size 7. But she preferred to have her toes crammed in there with no wiggle room, which sounds really uncomfortable. Reluctantly, they gave her a 6½.

With more experimenting, she found that removing insoles felt just right.
Number of blisters in the 1000 mile shoes: ZERO.
This includes the 40 mile ultra with soaking wet feet the entire time.

Shannon took the insoles out for a better fit and less cushioning

Most of the miles were trail or dirt, so not much wear
Trail Shoes?
Shannon was so happy to be blister free, she ran exclusively in these, even on trails, without another thought about it.
There must be dozens of brands of trail shoes out there claiming their superiority and even necessity on trails.
Shannon was unaware of this, and naively wore these for the toughest, rockiest, muddiest, trail races around here. And she did pretty well. (See the chart below)
Her ignorance of the need of trail shoes just goes to show that the shoe company marketing depts need to do a much better job.

These shoes made it well past the 300-500 mile "limit" that the shoe companies place on them.
While it is true that after so many miles the cushioning breaks down, the question is: Does it matter?

Objectively, they seemed to work pretty well for Shannon well past the 500 mile mark:

406Run at The Rock Trail (mud fest)1st age group
687Uwharrie Mountain Run  40 MilerWon (first female)
784Umstead Trail Marathon PR 3:45:39 (3rd female)
898MS Trail 12 Miler1st age group
100010 Mile Umstead runFastest to date

Shannon did admit that the 1000 mile shoes no longer felt good on pavement. I guess if you get used the cushioning, then you will miss it when it is gone. On trails, however, she said they felt fine.

Eventually the shoes started to fall apart and she had to retire these.

They had to be retired due to foot coming out

Kim at Bull City refused to take the shoes back
Response From Mizuno
After winning Uwharrie, Shannon kind of got an inflated ego (with help from me) and became envious of other runners being sponsored by La Sportiva and Montrail. So she emailed Mizuno, seeing if they would sponsor her trail running endeavors. This was the response:
Thank you for contacting Mizuno USA. We appreciate the positive feedback on our Wave Rider 13's. Your email has been forwarded to the head of our running division as he always enjoys receiving feedback on our products whether positive or negative. This only helps us to build a stronger product line. Thanks again for choosing Mizuno products.
Hmmm. Maybe she does need to switch to trail shoes.