Shoes, Shoes and More Shoes

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It seems I have found my running shoe company! I posted about having bought the PureGrit 2’s a while back and I am still enjoying running in them. They grip well on most surfaces, mud being the exception but I don’t think there are many shoes that grip well in deep very wet mud! I would really like another pair of the Grits as they do get wet and it’d be nice not to run in damp shoes if I don’t have to, but they only come in the one colour which is a little boring and I haven’t found a pair of the men’s in a size 6 at an affordable price yet.

I knew I was going to buy shoes in the post-Christmas sales, but I hadn’t planned on buying two pairs of road shoes or of sticking to the same brand, I was going to play the field a while longer and try out different styles and get one pair of road and one pair of trail shoes. However, after my fall and taking the week off I was thinking about the Mizuno’s that I own and realised that, although they’re not uncomfortable, they don’t really make me want to go out and run in them. I read around and looked at lots of reviews both from people who were given the shoes to try and those who had bought them themselves and decided to give the PureConnect 2’s a go as they were half price in the sportsshoes.com sale (plus I found a discount code for free postage saving another £4.99) and sounded like what I was after.

The Connects (the blue ones in the photo) arrived on my first day back to running. I was actually planning to do a walk/run in the woods but the courier dropped them off whilst I was putting on my running gear and once I got them on my feet I didn’t want to take them off so I changed my plans! They are a really light shoe but still feel padded. The arches are quite high which bugged my right foot on the way back, but my right arch is lower than my left and that happens with most shoes that have arches in them, I should think with time it’ll flatten out a little. I really enjoyed running in these shoes and went out in them again for the next walk/run I did too. They have a 4mm heel to toe drop rather than a zero drop like the Mizuno’s and I’m wondering if that is part of what makes them a bit more comfortable and easier to run in. They also feel like a well fitting proper running shoe whereas the Mizuno’s often feel like I’m running in slippers, which sounds nice but really isn’t all that great!

I read a bit more about the PureProject shoes and decided that I also wanted a pair of PureFlow 2’s (the black ones in the photo). They were also on sale as Brooks have released version 3 of a lot of their shoes recently, sadly the free postage code had expired, but I did manage to snag the last pair in my size! I decided that I wanted to run a new route near the sea which is about a 10 minute drive from my house in my new shoes so planned that for the day they were due to arrive.  I got changed into my running gear around the time that the courier had arrived the previous time only to have to wait another 2 hours for him to get here! As soon as I’d gotten them out of the box I headed out the door. The promenade was a LOT shorter than I had thought it was and I ended up in the woods which was not on the plan in new shoes not designed to handle trail running. However, I managed to keep my balance and ran a personal best time of 34.33 seconds. I was actually looking at the distance on my Garmin and didn’t realise how close I was to 35 minutes or I would have carried on! The Flows are more cushioned than the Connects and Grits, I imagine that these would be the shoes I use for longer distances/times and on days when I’m feeling a little old and achy and need more bounce in my shoes.  I really love them though and I’m glad I bought them.

In the reviews I read a lot of people said that they found Pure Project shoes too tight. They are a fitted shoe, unlike the Mizuno’s which have a huge area for the forefoot and don’t make me feel secure as I worry about my foot sliding around in them. I can’t wear my  usual size 6 in Brooks as they were too tight and not quite right, but a 6.5 fits me fine and doesn’t feel too tight in any way so maybe going up a half-size is what’s required for Pure Project shoes. For the record I have quite wide feet and I wear a 6 in Mizuno’s and New Balance. The Mizuno’s are marked UK6/US8.5 on the box and the Brooks are marked UK6.5/US8.5 so they are obviously sized a little smaller.

Today I went back to the woods wearing the Grits (thus the state of them in the picture!) as it was so much fun yesterday and I wanted to explore a bit further in better suited shoes. I didn’t expect much of myself as I haven’t run 2 days in a row for a while and I’ve not been running far at all since Christmas. However, I managed to PB again in time, keeping going for 36.03. The distance was about the same as yesterday but I’ll take it on tired legs with a still slightly sore ankle. I’m looking forward to running in those woods again on weekends when the boys are with their Dad, they’re beautiful and the paths are nice.

I wish I had some pictures of the run to share with you, of the sea, pier, cliffs and surfers that I saw at the start and finish and they beautiful trees and greenery with a stream in the woods, but I don’t want to stop running to take photos! I thought about taking some pictures for the blog every time I saw something especially pretty, which was quite a few times, but the thought of stopping, getting my phone out, taking the picture and then putting the phone away rather than carrying on running just didn’t work for me!

So, these are my thoughts on shoes I paid for myself (although if Brooks would like to send me free stuff I’d be more than happy to try it out for them!). I will try to remember to update on the Connects and Flows after I’ve run in them a little longer.

On another Brooks note, if you are looking for very reasonably priced running clothes it’s worth checking out the Brooks things on Amazon. I’ve managed to buy t-shirts from £3.50 up to £8 for things that would normally be priced £16 to about £30. They have a nice range of colours and styles and everything I’ve bought is very comfortable and well made.  I also bought a Brooks half-zip sweatshirt type thing from Ebay a little while back and mentally said ‘yeah right’ when I read that it was supposed to be wind-proof, but it is seriously the warmest most wind-proof (not totally but I don’t think anything could be!) garment I own and I actually have to make sure it’s cold enough to wear it or I boil in it!

I guess I’m now a Brooks convert, the new Pure Project clothing they have just released looks fab and I look forward to buying more of their stuff in the future, when it’s on sale that is!

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