Not too hard, not too soft, but just right

IMG 1629 300x300 Not too hard, not too soft, but just right

Just right?

Sometimes I feel like Goldilocks, except that instead of porridge or a chair, I’m on a quest to find the perfect shoes. As you all know, I strive for natural running form, which is a constant work in progress. I mix in a bit of barefoot running with my overall mileage because I think it is always the best form teacher. But I still wear shoes for the majority of my miles and will probably remain that way for the near future.

You might recall I tried some Altra Zero Drop Delilahs a while back. I really, really like this shoe. It delivers really great ground feel, is flexible, and has a super wide toe box, all attributes I like in a shoe. But it has absolutely no cushioning. What does that mean for me? It means I have yet to get up the nerve to go more than about seven or eight miles in them. I still feel like for a long run, I need just a tad of cushioning.

I had been running my long runs in the Brooks Pure Connects, which have a 4mm heel-to-toe drop and a bit of cushioning. I feel like I can still maintain my form in these, but I also feel like even these have become too much shoe for me.

So–I began looking for a zero drop shoe with a tiny bit of cushion in them. I know Brooks is adding the Pure Drift this winter, a shoe that fits my spec list. But winter is a long way off and I’d like to get to the point where I am in zero drop for long runs sooner than that. Enter my newest find, the New Balance Minimus Road, with zero drop.

I’ve taken these out now on about four runs and it seems like maybe I’ve found that sweet spot. I have yet to push them beyond about seven miles, but my plan is to get to 10 miles in them this coming week and keep working my way up from there. They feel like wearing nothing, I feel like I hit my form spot on in them, and there’s just the smallest amount of cushion in them beyond what the Altras provide. It doesn’t mean I’ll be ditching the Altras, just that I might have found the shoe for my longer runs so that I can graduate beyond the Pure line.

And hey, the yellow color doesn’t hurt. Yellow happens to be my favorite color, to begin with. And years ago when I was heavy into triathlon, Saucony made a racing flat in a similar color. I had lots of great runs in those shoes so maybe that will carry over to these shoes? A little superstition never hurt anyone, right?

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  1. says

    Love the yellow! I’m on a never ending search too… I wish I had one shoe that I was committed to that worked for me but I’ve had many that I’ve liked and many that haven’t been so good, so I have no shoe brand loyalty right now. I really wanted to like the Brooks Pure Flows, but my Achilles did not. I’m still using a little more support, but want to move in a more minimalist direction gradually. Thanks for doing the research work for me. :) I’ll have to keep these on my radar.
    Laura recently posted..The Fit Mom ControversyMy Profile

  2. says

    I’m in the same boat, in the hunt for the perfect shoe. With the “foot issue” I have, my altra’s helped in some ways but hindered in others. I’m actually going back to more of a drop to see if that’s actually better for me…. not sure about these zero -5mm drops for me. Keep us posted how these work for you! Have a great wkend!
    Kristy (@KrisRunTri) recently posted..Running Partner FailMy Profile

  3. Nora says

    I tried those, wanted to love them but the darn things bothered the back of my achilles! I’ve got prbs with NB :( I love the yellow!!

  4. says

    I’m glad you posted this review. My bank…notsomuch. I’ve been waiting to hear someone else’s thoughts on these. I can’t decide if I should break out of the NB Minimus line or not since it’s the only shoe I wear (I have about 6 pairs of various colors, styles, types of them). Just when I think of breaking up with them they go ahead and send flowers by launching even MORE shoes. Good job marketing department, good job :)
    Sheila recently posted..Celebrity BFF’sMy Profile

  5. says

    I just bought New Balance 1600 and LOVE them. Even though I really like a minimal sneaker, I’ve been afraid to run a marathon with what I currently have, Saucony Fasttwitch. I get pain in the ball of my foot when I go long. But I bought the NB’s at the expo a couple of weeks ago and just love how they feel on my runs. Can’t wait to try them on a long run (with fingers crossed).
    Not sure how different they are from the Minimus? I think they might have a big more padding.
    Joanne recently posted..An Empty NestMy Profile

  6. says

    Funny, I remember when I first started running, I looked at how the shoes looked on me instead of how they felt. Years and many marathons later, I no longer hold that as important. I still have color preference, but Asics have worked for a long time so I’m sticking with what works.

    On another note, my husband is a loyal New Balance wearer. We debate. A lot.
    Lisa recently posted..More MagicMy Profile

  7. says

    I wish I could go the more minimalist direction. Every time I get fitted for a new shoe, I’m pointed in the support direction. I’m happy with what I have but wish there were more options. And that I had better color options! All the fun shoes are bright colors!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Accentuate the PositiveMy Profile

  8. says

    Love Love Love the yellow!! Yellow has always been my favorite color and I haven’t found a shoe (in the brand I wear) in yellow!
    I’m itching to slower transition to less heel-to-toe drop shoes. I jumped to 4mm a few months ago but I think it was just too much on my body (to do during pregnancy). So I’m going to go back to my old ones until after the baby is born and then give it a shot. I’m definitely going to be looking for some tips/advice from you though. Love that you incorporate some barefoot running in your regimen too!!
    Michele @ Nycrunningmama recently posted..Friday Night Cry SessionMy Profile

  9. says

    I will be interested in hearing how these work out for you in the long run. I got the Kinvaras which have been good so far, but am still experimenting a bit myself!
    Travel Spot recently posted..Run The DayMy Profile