Although I work here, even I take the advice from our very own magazine. Since I’ve been doing much longer distance runs recently for my half-marathon and triathlon training seasons, I’ve noticed the difference in the way my feet feel after I finish an exercise. A month ago, as soon as I had completed the NYC Half Marathon I could feel something abnormal on the bottom of my foot—a blister? a rock? had my sock rolled down?—there was definitely something in my shoe! Alas, when I took my favorite Asics sneaker off, my recurring blister (the one I nicknamed Texas after my triathlon last summer) had appeared again. This time however, it was large, ugly, and bleeding (I apologize for the gory details) and I immediately went to the medical center. The doctor on-call to handle injured athletes was shocked I had ran 13-miles in cotton socks (oops!). However, since I had been rushing that morning I forgot to grab the new synthetic, water-absorbing ones our fitness editor gave me. The doctor also told me my sneakers had to go as the wear and tear of everyday running had ruined the cushioning benefits that these shoes should be giving me. A new study revealed that for avid runners, after 300-500 miles (about 4-6 months) you should ditch your duds and get new ones. (So, the cheapest sport in the world, now just got a little bit more expensive I guess.)
As soon as I got a copy of our April issue I scoured our story on the best shoes of the season and found that the Under Armour Illusion II ($85; underarmour.com) might be good for me to try. Because they’re light, they’re easy-breezy for running long distances and improving pace (getting faster is a new goal of mine); and the midsole support protects the part of my foot where Texas appears every so often. Plus, they’re pink, silver, and white, just like my old Asics and every other sneaker I’ve owned (extra bonus points!).
Besides these for training, I just purchased the Zoot Ultra TT 3.0 sneakers (also in hot pink and white!) for running on race day. Without any laces, you just slip them on and pull a bungy strap to tighten. (No more pulling over to the side to tie your shoe.) They look like those sleek, light shoes that marathon winners wear, but these Zoots have great sole support too. Did you know that some marathon runners and professionals actually run barefoot? Well, this is the closest I'll get to that by wearing these shoes. When you run long distances you don't need to be wearing shoes that weigh you down and these are so light that you don't really feel like you're wearing sneakers, but you still get the benefits of a great supporting shoe. They're also perfect for triathletes: during transistion area you don't have to worry about killing time because just kick off your cycling shoes and slip these on. (Check these out in our Fitness Challenge: You can be a triathlete!, in our May issue.)
Something new that I’m doing as well, when I’m not wearing my training shoes, I’m wearing New Balance’s new line of TrueBalance Toning Shoes, specifically the 1100 style which is more chic and trendy to wear every day (even to work!). I was never one to believe the hype that wearing “shape-up” shoes could actually tone your legs or reduce cellulite (I mean, cmon, it’s not like some miracle shoe that can transform your body); but when I tried on a pair of these in the office, I figured I should give them a try. When you take a step in these shoes, the way that the sole was created makes your body work to maintain your natural balance, which in turn activates your muscles. (Think of walking along the middle of a see-saw, but this see-saw is on the bottom of you foot.) However, the sole of this shoe is unlike a see-saw because it’s soft and flexible and spring your feet forward as you walk. So really, you’re perpetually toning your foot with each step you take. And honestly, I was a skeptic, but now, I totally get it. They're ideal for recovery when I'm not working out, running, or training for my triathlon.