How To Choose Good Running Shoes

Correct Flexion point
Besides comfort, fit and quality a runner should know what makes a good running shoe. Here is the most basic premise for shoe and foot stability. This is not including 3rd party soles to assist with pronation, suppination (opposite of pronation) and arch support but stability in regards to the actual shoe.

The most important piece of information I can think of when it comes to selecting a good pair of running shoes is that it should help the runner avoid injury or pain caused by running or the shoes. Note the two pictures here. The photo on the left shows a shoe with a good flexion point and stability within the arch area. This is the signs of a good running shoe will help the runner the most in avoiding injury to their plantar fascitis, achilles tendon, calves and knees. The last thing anyone wants is an injury caused by bad equipment. Good running shoes can be found in the $70-$90 range sometimes but the best ones are usually between $100 to $200 dollars. Make sure they have two piece treads separated by a arch/plantar stability piece of hard plastic or technology.

Incorrect Flexion point
Note the photo on the right: The shoe is soft, collapses completely and reflects a flexion point that will in no doubt cause some foot and leg pain eventually.  Notice there is no arch or mid support and stability. This is an example of a bad running shoe. Many shoes in the lower price ranges reflect this sort of lack of stability and shouldn't be used for running. I borrowed these images from a foot and leg doctor, Dr. Pribut's web site to show what a good shoe and a bad shoe looks like in regards to stability. I hope this information will help you choose a good pair of running shoes for you.

Please read my blogs posts on Asics vs. Nike vs. New Balance to see a few comparisons of decent running shoes from these manufacturers. Saucony is another brand some runners seem to like. Thank you.

Natural Running: Barefoot, Science or both?

Natural Running is getting more and more attention these days. So for those who are looking for Natural Running material check out these links Newton RunningVirbram 5 Fingers and Barefoot Runner.

Asics Cumulus 12 Review

Cumulus 12
Running 3-5 miles a day, 4-6 days a week after my workouts my cheaper and older Asics were not cutting it. They were cushioning but lacked stability causing pain in the bottom of my heel and in the knees after a couple weeks. If you can squish a shoe down length wise like a sponge they are not good for your feet I found. I could hardly walk the day after a few days of 4-5 mile runs. So I had to find something to make it better.
Cumulus 12
I purchased the Asics Cumulus 12 yesterday and ran with them for 4 miles and I can tell you today, the right places are in pain and not the wrong places. Gone is the pain in my knees and the bottom of my heels. Instead, my calves, quads and a little of the Achilles is where I felt like got worked out. They seem to help me keep form and with my slight suppination (the Asics Kayano 16 are good for slight pronators) as it got later in the run.Are these the best? Probably not but there are a step in the right direction from bad running shoes to good running shoes.The Asics Cumulus 12 running shoes released in 2010 is the model below the Asics Nimbus 12 which provides an ergonomically designed lacing structure and many different lacing combinations. The Asics Cumulus 12 is in the $100 range and can be purchased as low as $89.95 on sale or even cheaper if you find a $25 off coupon for a $100 purchase at Sports Authority (in the US), which is what I did. For $80 after taxes it was a good deal for my wallet and my feet.Asics, Nike and New Balance  all produce good entry level to intermediate running shoes in the crowded $100 range which will last about 100-150 miles from reviews I've read. The Saucony brand with the grid structured soles seem to last up to 300 miles without giving away cushioning and stability over the miles from a recent marathon runner I spoke with. Who knows, take it with a grain of salt.Here are a couple more objective reviews at Running Shoes Guru to confuse you even further:Asics Cumulus 12 ReviewAsics Nimbus 12 Review


2010 Running Shoes - Asics vs. New Balance vs. Nike

UPDATE: New blog is up for 2011 Running Shoes.

Someone asked what the replacement for the New Balance MT840 I wrote about last year, it is the MT876. But if you're looking for an upgrade and not a replacement, try the award winning New Balance MT910. New Balance is a highly trusted choice.
Entire midsole made of ABZORB® FL.
Ortholite® foam inserts with anti-microbial function to fight odor.
Rock Stop® embedded into forefoot provides protection from sharp rocks.
Ndurance rubber compound for maximum outsole durability.
NLOCK® external support system. And more...

Asics is simply known for the best running shoes. Try a pair of the award winning Asics Gel Kayano 16 and you'll know why. Their cost is well worth your feet's comfort and health. Besides, with the Gel Kayano 16, it's like running on clouds. Mid level Asics Gel models are very comfortable too.
Impact Guidance System (I.G.S®) (RUNNING)
Forefoot and Rearfoot - GEL® Cushioning System
And more

Nike designs a wide variety of running and sports specific shoes, well rounded are the Nike Zoom Vomero+ 5 for those who are mild under and over pronators with a neutral gait.
Segmented crash pad for shock absorption and a smooth transition
Deep, men's-specific flex grooves for flexibility and smooth stride
Multiple types of rubber and traction patterns for sure-footedness
Nike+ ready
Weight: 11.6 ounces (men's size 10) And more...


Test Drive: 2009/2010 Nissan 370Z Enthusiast

At lease end time and with all these deals in favor of the consumer or at least that is what they would have you think, I drove onto the Nissan lot and test drove a Nissan 370Z Enthusiast with 6-speed manual transmission. I can say it is phenomenal fun to drive, impressive performance and now is more refined but provides the same giddishness of a purist sports car. With a 330HP 6-cylinder naturally aspirated engine, the Nissan 370Z is available in Coupe or as a soft-top convertible two seater. Base model with Sport Packages has been quoted at $31,995US and around $40,000CAD.

One neat feature is the Synchro-Rev technology which is when the engine revs up while down shifting blipping the engine when it becomes available with the use of S-Mode. Also available is the 7-Speed automatic with paddle shifters on the automatic models which doesn't tout Synchro-Rev matching but has an effective engine blip on down shifts in manual mode with the paddle shifters. All but the base model includes a Vicious LSD. Every 370z comes with rear wheel drive and with 18" or 19" wheels. The Nissan 370Z interior is a bit nicer than in the past. All models but the base model has radio and cruise controls on the steering wheel. The features can be added to the base model if desired. The smooth plastic texture of the interior in previous 350Z models have been replaced with a faux suede like material. Included is a good stereo system, heater, AC, optional navigation system and plush body hugging cloth racing seats also available in leather. As much as the car is great, there were a couple things to adjust to. The shortfalls is that the rear view visibility in the hardtop and in the convertible with the top up, the view is very narrow but the side window are long and offer a good view around the car. Also the model I test drove carried a full size spare in the boot which means minimal usable space as it is.. I imagine one could remove the spare and reclaim some trunk space. Nissan got rid of the gaudy rear tower strut bar arch thing from the 350Z with a smaller and less gaudy but still obtrusive rear tower strut bar. I test drove the 6-speed manual and loved it but perhaps my age is showing as I preferred the 7-speed automatic with paddle shifters. It's Tiptronic and not Double-Clutch paddle shifters so there is about a 2-3 second delay in gear change. Drivers of the automatic transmission models won't be missing much, you still get the growl, handling, noise and cockpit.

The handling is top bar, the car feels like it is turning on your hips. With a shorter wheel base than its predecessor, wider body and  19" wheels, this car turns and grips the road like a hawk gripping its dinner. Tight cornering, responsive handling and constant acceleration is all full of fun and adds to the spirit lifting, deep, raspy 330HP V6 engine. Then there is the Sports Mode button...   synchro-rev engages and the sports car becomes even more sports car. Why would one ever turn it off?

The ride is medium stiff but not a nasty stiff. I'm familiar with after market sports and racing suspension and I find the set on the 370Z is not as extreme. Perhaps though, if you're used to driving a Camry or Accord, the difference will be quite different. Thus this car isn't the best for long distance drives unless the roads are smooth and well maintained. The racing style cloth seats are comfortable and wrap around the body comfortably and ergonomically. The leather seats are very good too.

The engine noise definitely is heard through out the cabin and has deep muted tones out the exhaust however road noise is not bad (the 2005 350Z is by far the most insulted from the exterior) but it's hard to tell because the engine, wind and stereo will over power most road noise and I kind of like that. The 6-speed manual has fairly short throws but not as short as the Honda S2000. It also feels a little notchy but solid. The manual 6 with 19-inch tires looked great but the finite feel and control on 18-inch wheels was preferable. Of course, purists will exclaim owning an automatic 370z is a sin but I don't think that's the case with pure sports cars these days.

The nearest competitor for performance and price is the BMW 135i which is no slouch itself. However the Nissan 370Z redefines what a sports car in its price range should drive like, look like and feel like. A possible competitor to these is the newer model Corvette and Camaro. The Ford Mustang must start designing well rounded handling and rear suspension in it s base models to compete which may happen with their 2011 models when they bring back their famous V8 version.

Other two seater sports cars to think about if $33000US is a bit much are a used 350Zs. Not much changed between 2003 and 2006 so I would highly recommend a year 2007 and newer unless a 2003-2006 model is available at a bargain price. In 2007, Nissan introduced the improved 330HP V6 engine with dual intake manifolds, which provides 90% of all the torque at 2000RPMs and also with the first round of interior improvements. In 2009/2010 the re-designed and improved the entire car.

Others to consider are a Honda S2000 or  Mazda MX5, both thousands of dollars less. On the other end, the Porsche Cayman S and Porsche Boxer S which costs two brand new 370Zs but it can keep at the heels of a Porsche 911. The Honda S2000 comes with 236HP, good amount of torque, rear wheel drive w/ helical LSD, 6-speed manual only while the more affordable Mazda MX5 with 178HP but on very light chassis is available with 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic in many trims.


Merrell Moab GTX XCR Hiking Shoes

Last year I purchased the Merrell Moab GTX XCR hiking shoes, not the mids but the low ankle versions and as usual, they are top notch hiking shoes for fast, light, day hikes. With light layers of Gortex, sturdy construction, tread that grips (made by Vibramand a strong foot support they have satisfied every trek. For backpacking and heavier loads, I recommend high top/mid top support backpacking boots that have much more support for the added wait but if you're looking for light, airy hikers that can take a beating and asks for me I recommend these. Water proof for the most part, I seal all my shoes with a water proof spray when I get them just for added water resistance. They stay light, protect your feet and make hiking a pleasure by minimizing foot fatigue. You can find these on sale on many sites, such as Amazon and, links are to the left.