Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Saucony Shoe That Started a Conversation

I am addicted to minimalist shoes. Not the hard core ones like Vibram's Five Fingers because the pair of those that I own are more for protecting my feet from rocks when I'm near water. Instead it's the two pairs that are minimal but still oddly supportive that I've been lucky enough to have find their way into my possession in the last month.

Their names? The Nike Free Run+ 2, which have been my walking saviors for the last month when I started feeling the aches of my oncoming injury, and the Saucony ProGrid Kinvara 2, which I only started sporting a week ago. Now I alternate wearing each--gotta share the love--usually opting to wear the Frees when the weather looks iffy and the Kinvaras when the sun is shining. Yes, call me a shoe dork, but I will prolong the white shoe look for as long as possible if I can help it, and the Free gray is better at absorbing the dirt--I know because I already dropped something on them and I can barely see the mark. 

Their results? I'll be wearing these pairs until they wear out. They look cool, they weigh practically nothing and they squeeze really easily into a bag. They also make me feel like I'm padding around in my bare feet, but I can head outside and maintain some semblance of normalcy in my injured state.  

But here's the kicker on the Kinvaras, all whites aside: They apparently are pretty eye-catching, enough to start a conversation with a complete stranger. By Thursday, not even a week since I brought them home from Fleet Feet, I had already received three compliments on the shoes, the latest coming at the grocery store of all places. I could have been wearing a new pair of Uggs or some flashy Jimmy Choos that everyone wanted to have. But, no, I was wearing running shoes, and couldn't even brag about the run I took on one of the nicest days Chicago had seen all year. I guess the Kinvara is the equivalent among the running set?

That was news to me. But I'll take it if it means I can talk running when I can't even run, or finally feel  comfort in a pair of shoes that don't have a swoosh on the side, or think I'm wearing "magic shoes" that are going to make my stress fracture disappear and return me to the roads faster because I see improvement in my walk every day.

The roads better watch out for my return, that's all I'm saying. If I can like these two minimal shoes without using them for their main purpose--my current highlights include pairing them with jeans and yoga pants--then what's going to happen when I ease back into running and try them on the grass and then the pavement? I'm hoping for magic, but right now I'll even take a simple sweat session that doesn't involve a stationary bike.

To read more about the Saucony Kinvara, check out my take for FFCheer.

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