It seems like runners are always in search of the perfect shoe. Just when you find one, the manufacturer changes the design, or it gets discontinued, or you realize it’s causing an injury or…. and your search resumes. Unfortunately, running shoes are highly personal. So, anyone that suggests they can tell you what the right shoe is for you isn’t worth listening to. Even so, sometimes it’s helpful to talk to other people about their favorite shoe to help direct your search! This month, we reach out to the DPMR Board Members to share a bit about their current favorite shoe(s).
Meggie Inouye: “I have worn Hoka Speedgoats for my last several big races. Getting into longer races (100k), I have found my feet really appreciate the extra cushion. I initially fell in love with the lighter weight Speedgoat Evos, which are now discontinued, but this year’s release of the Speedgoat 5 are much lighter than previous versions and feel great. I also think there is great benefit to mixing up shoes during a training season to help strengthen all the little muscles in my legs and feet. I usually have 2-3 of shoes that I wear during a training season. Right now, I also have pairs of Salomon Sense Rides and Altra Timps that I mix during the week depending on the type of workout I am doing.”
Steve Woo: “I like to rotate shoes depending on terrain and workout/race and wear a pretty wide variety of shoes even if they are not perfect for my medium-wide volume flat foot. I have a theory on this, but I digress… Among these shoes I have two favs right now. For easy days and for recovery runs, I’ll use my [zero drop] Altra Lone Peaks. They have that nice wide fore foot for good foot splay. For technical trails and racing, I had been wearing the Salomon Speedcross (wide version) until I discovered Dynafit shoes. Currently digging the Ultra 100 which, like Salomon, is responsive to good foot work as they are nice and stiff torsionally side to side (the Lone Peaks are very noodley!) but with way better cushion. This makes a huge difference for control, confidence, and comfort on trails. I made it thru TDS with the Salomons but they really beat me up. I most recently ran Castle Peak 100K and Broken Arrow 26K in the Dynafits and they served me well. That better balance of cushion and control I’ve been seeking for the longer distances on technical terrain. The mesh lace cover is great for keeping rocks out and for making sure your laces don’t get snagged or untied. These look to be a go for running the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc later this season.”
Renee Elsdon Jacobs: “Up until recently, I was almost solely running in Salomon shoes. I loved the SLab Ultra 2 for really long runs on trails that were not excessively technical, S/Lab XA Alpine for combining running and scrambling/climbing, the Predict for road running, and GoreTex Sense Ride for winter running. But eventually I couldn’t find the Ultra 2’s anymore (the Ultra 3’s are a pathetic replacement), got tired of the particularly high price tag, and was frustrated at their sloppy performance on technical terrain (partially due to their lack of torsional stability and soft soles, I expect), so I started searching elsewhere and built up quite a quiver! Over the past year or so, I have found some new favorites! Eclipse in Reno helped me discover Brooks Catamount, which I have found to perform significantly better than the SLab Ultra’s on technical terrain (I’ll even take them on 3rd and 4th class scrambles) while providing all day comfort on long runs. Our friends at Tahoe Mountain Sports (who offer a discount to DPMR members) helped me discover On Cloudrunner road shoes, which are a super cush, comfortable shoe for trail runners that only run road when absolutely necessary (ahem, me). I’ve also tried Altra shoes, but gave them away when I realized that most of my injuries and niggles started on runs while wearing them. I now try to only run in shoes with a medium drop. I also have tried Hokas, but their sloppiness made them disappointing on rocky and technical terrain. And while La Sportiva shoes offer some amazing tack and performance on rocky/technical terrain, the stiff soles and lack of cushion really beat my feet up on long runs (the Jackal’s are one of their most comfortable shoes, but not enough for ultra running)!”
Carol Patterson: “I’ve got a wide forefoot so I like Altras. I was using Lone Peaks but switched to Timps for a little extra cushioning. They’ve been my ride for the last 3-4 years. I buy 2 at a time and rotate them. They seem to stay ‘fresh’ (don’t break down so fast) longer with rotation”
Kathy Slocum: “I am loving my Hoka Speedgoat for trail and Hoka Mach for road. I typically like to stay with the same brand but mix up trail and road for either discipline. The trail shoe rubber is a little softer and the pavement wears them out more quickly. Both are great and my feet are happy.”
Aude Hofleitner: “I used to be an Altra Superior fan and have owned many pairs. The upper of the 3.5 would shred apart quickly but the most recent ones have been much more durable. While looking for a new pair of Superior, I recently discovered the Hoka Zinal that I fell in love with from mile 1 and have taken me on a lot of my long runs and races since, including 50 miles at Lake Sonoma and six hours regularly soaked in melting snow and river crossings in Iceland! They’re wider than other Hokas and a bit closer to the ground. In winter, I like my Salomon Sense Ride Gore Tex which are very versatile and also a bit wider than other Salomons. On the road, I like my Adidas Boston 7. The bright yellow is very faded but they still have fun doing tempos and marathon training.”
Jack Macy: “After Hoka discontinued the shoe I wore the last two years for most of my long runs/races, the Evo Mafate, I tried a ton of different shoes this spring to find some new options. I landed on three that I rotate:
– Brooks Catamount (everyday trainer)
– Inov8 Trailfly Ultra 300 (longer, rugged distances)
– Salomon Ultra Glide (mid-range, 30-50k, less rugged trails)
With a gift certificate I had, I also just picked up a pair of North Face Vectiv Infinite which I demoed and liked at one of our newbie runs this spring. And I plan to try more shoe models from Inov8, particularly some of their fell/mud shoes with 8mm lugs(!!) for my trip to northern Spain this fall.
I still have a good pair of Hoka Torrents and wear them from time to time, but given their less than ideal under foot protection, I like them less now than some of these new members of the family.”
Kelly Barber: “Altra, Altra, Altra. The only shoes I have taken out of the box and run a 100K in. My primary shoe on the trail is the Superior. If I need a bit more underfoot, I use the Lone Peaks. If I’m on the road, it’s always the Escalante. It’s like running in a slipper, so nice that I ran the last 40 of Western States in them in 2019. If I’m on the track, it’s the Vanish (although I did run CIM in them). The Superior and the Lone Peak drain very well with light socks so I don’t have to worry about enjoying all the water on the trail!”
Briana Jaskot: “Since I work at Reno Running Company I’m a little spoiled with my shoe selection. But I do find that I always go back to the same main three. The Timp 2/4 are my faves for most runs/even long runs. The Dynafit Ultra 100 has been my go to shoe for most runs where I’m wanting to feel some pop. It’s a great responsive, yet “high Cush” option. The shoe I’ve raced in and trained in the most is probably the S-Lab Ultra 2/3. I liked the 2 a little better because I’m not a super big fan of the sock fit on the three. For easy road runs I do the Hoka Mach and for road workouts I’ve been using the Saucony Endorphin Pro. It does have a HUGE toe roll so if I’m running downhill I don’t like it- things feel out of control fast.”