After writing recently that I wanted the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v7 shoes, I actually stopped at Marathon Sports toward the end of my run last night. I love having this option because A. I can get some water there – it’s free! And B. I can check out running gear when I’m dressed appropriately and even warmed up. The employee who helped me was awesome (as they all are, but she spent like 20 minutes helping me). I told her about my feet troubles. At that moment, my No. 1 complaint was the feeling of the soles of my feet burning, so we talked about that and my current shoes and insoles, and she said it sounded like I was right in that I needed a more cushioned shoe. The New Balance Fresh Foam was cushioned all right, she said, but I could do better. Even still, she brought me those to try on in my size along with two other completely different shoes.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v7
I put these on and immediately noted how loose they were. Are these the wide versions? Nope, she said, that’s just how New Balance shoes are. Good to know. They were definitely cushioned and bouncy even, but the way the inside of the shoe was made meant the material was pushing against the inside of my foot where my arch meets the bone of my big toe. On both feet. It was not a good feeling and putting in my insoles only made it worse. This is exactly why you try on shoes – I was convinced these were THE shoes for me and I pretty much hated them instantly.
Mizuno Wave Sky
I actually tried these on first, at her insistence. She said they are a brand new model and are supposed to be the most cushioned Mizuno on the market. Unlike my Wave Rider 20s, they didn’t look nearly as clunky. When I put them on, I almost squealed in delight. “It feels like I’m wearing slippers!” I told her. She said that’s pretty much exactly what you should be going for when trying on running shoes – something that feels as close to nothing as possible. They were SO light. I liked them so much that I wanted to test them out. She said I could go outside and run up the block, but it was raining and I felt bad getting them dirty – especially if I didn’t end up buying them – so I opted for their very old, bumpy treadmill instead. It felt wonderful. It really did feel like I wasn’t wearing shoes in the sense that they were so light, but every land felt like a cloud instead of hard ground. Whereas I gave her back the New Balances, I felt protective over these and kept them next to me after I took them off.
Hoka One One Arahi
Pronounced “Hoe-kah Oh-nay Oh-nay,” I know a few DFMC teammates love this brand as they are known as being the most cushioned shoe brand out there. They can be funny looking, though, and remind me a lot of those Sketchers Shape-Ups that people used to wear because they claimed to tone your legs (which turned out to be a marketing ploy and Sketchers had to pay $40M after losing a class action lawsuit). Anyway, I was skeptical but they felt great on my feet. They were a 7.5 – the same size I have always worn and the same size as the previous 2 shoes I had tried on, but they felt too big. The second thing I noticed was the rocking sensation when I took a step. This is what Hoka One One is known for. If I leaned back, it felt like my heel was dropping into the floor. But all I had to do was lean slightly forward and the shoe basically did rest of the work for me. It was kinda crazy, but I didn’t mind it. I tried these out on the treadmill, too, and really liked them. Sadly, they did not have any 7s, but she did bring me a different model to try on in my size.
Hoke One One Clifton 4
I’ve heard about this shoe from a teammate but she hated the shoe so much she returned them after one 8-mile run. She said it felt like she was wearing bricks, which is nuts because Hokas are supposed to be so light. But it was most likely the rocker technology she couldn’t get used it. But Marathon Sports had them in a 7, which confirmed I am definitely a 7 in Hokas (as opposed to 7.5 in all other running shoes and a 6 in every other type of shoe). I didn’t love them as much as the Arahis, but I didn’t hate them either. I ran in them and decided the two winners were…
Mizuno Wave Sky & Hoka One One Arahi
The Wave Sky because they felt best on my feet and Mizunos are what I know. And the Arahi because they felt so cushioned. I put the Mizunos on hold for later in the week but need to be able to try on the Arahi in my correct size before committing.