Thursday, October 4, 2012

Asics Gel Nimbus 14

My new running shoes arrived yesterday!  These Asics Gel Nimbus 14, limited edition color are just as beautiful as I remembered.  I purchased my shoes from Road Runner Sports, and it was a positive experience: the shoes arrived earlier than I expected, and they have a 90 day guarantee in case I realize they aren't right for me.  These shoes provide more forefoot room than my old Nikes, though I do kind of miss the rounded sole of my Nikes.  My new shoes provide enough cushion for my runs but are also light weight, so I feel close to the ground. 

Look closely at how I laced the top of my shoes.  A long time ago, I had to get custom orthotics to help heal my stress-fractured back.  The podiatrist that I visited taught me to lace the top of my shoes in this way to provide additional ankle support.  Orthotics push your foot up out of the shoe more than normal, so additional ankle support is required to improve ankle stability.  I don't wear my orthotics any more, but this lacing technique has stuck with me.  It's simple: just lace your shoe as you normally would, but at the last 2 holes, instead of criss-crossing, lace through the hole on the same side that your lace is currently on.  Then, criss-cross and bring your lace ends underneath of this straight (non-criss-crossed) portion, as shown in the diagram below.  To tighten your shoes, pull up, out, and up.  Then, tie as you normally would.  For additional support, I could use the very last hole, but I don't think I need it.  Try this out; you can feel a difference!  What do you think?

It's amazing what type of motivation my new shoes provide.  I was at work when I got an email saying I had a package waiting for me at home, and I was so excited for the rest of the afternoon to get back and go for a run.  Let me repeat: I was excited to go for a run!  That's probably the second time in my life that I actually wanted to run.  Apparently, these shoes are just the motivation that I needed, which is a good thing considering I spent $140 on them.  That's right, for the cost of approximately 2 outfits, I bought 1 pair of running shoes.  Running shoes give me sticker shock-- I'm not used to spending that type of money on one item, especially when I live off a graduate student stipend (not exactly raking in the big bucks...).  I could have bought 2 weeks of groceries, 4 new pairs of casual shoes from DSW, or splurged on 2 full body massages or 3 mani/pedis with that type of money.  

And yet...
I am happy with my decision to purchase these shoes.

Motivation is priceless, but I only spent $140 for it.  

When purchasing something, you can't just think about the immediate benefits; you must also consider the long term benefits.  For $140, I am bettering my health, improving my mood, and working towards accomplishing a goal.  These benefits far exceed anything a mani/pedi would provide.

As soon as I got home yesterday, I changed clothes and went for a 2.3 mile run.  It felt great, and I didn't get any blisters!

What was the last thing you bought for much less money than its true value?


  1. Great to hear you've reignited your passion for running! I think I've seen that method of lacing before, and I'm sure it works just like you say. I personally tend to keep my running shoes supper loose, from bottom to top because tightening them too much can sometimes cause strain and ultimately pain in the muscles/ligaments on the top of the foot, plus it helps decrease the likelihood of rolling an ankle which is a common concern if you do much trail running.

    1. Great points, Joel! I agree that this lacing technique is not for everyone in terms of comfort, gait technique (heel-striker vs. forefoot-striker), or conditions of running; nor am I qualified to recommend a "best technique" to other people-- I can only go based on what is best for me, and this method has felt good so far. The reason so many lacing techniques exist is because not one method will suit everyone, so I'm glad you brought up that point!

      I stick to pavement for my runs* and am a forefoot-striker. One study on male rearfoot runners (heel-strikers) showed reduced loading rates and pronation (the inward roll of your foot) velocities in tighter and higher laced shoes. This same study showed lower peak pressures with high lacing. The authors of this study conclude, "A firm foot-to-shoe coupling with higher lacing leads to a more effective use of running shoe features and is likely to reduce the risk of lower limb injury."
      When considering what we can take away from this analysis, however, things get fuzzy. We don't all fit into the category of trained male rearfoot runner in a lab.

      In the shoe biomechanics world, everything is so debated-- from the benefits and risks of barefoot running vs. standard running shoes, whether orthotics do anything useful, how to lace your shoes, etc. You can pretty much find a study supporting or refuting anything you want. We clearly need more quality research in this area, but it takes a long time to gather this type of information, and even longer for this information to become public knowledge. In my opinion, this is why it is so important to learn to listen to your body and do what is best for you!

      *Pavement running, on another note, causes increased loading on my joints compared to trail running, and could increase risk of overuse joint injury; however, I also strike with my forefoot instead of heel, which lessens the impact forces received through the joints (ankles/knees/hips) in my body...I'm hoping these things cancel each other out!