The One Where Road Runner Sports Made Me Buy All of the Things

When I was in New Jersey last month, I finally had the chance to visit a Road Runner Sports store. I enter my credit card number on their website on a fairly regular basis and am a member of their VIP Program, but unfortunately (well, fortunately, for my bank account) they don’t currently have any stores in Austin. Or Texas, for that matter. I knew there was a location in Shrewsbury and included it on my to-do list before the wheels even touched down in the Garden State.

Monday after the marathon we set out in an attempt to drown my DNF sorrows with some retail therapy. There was only one thing I wanted from the store: custom insoles. Obviously something I can’t buy online. I met with an employee who asked me countless questions (what are you training for? any injuries? how many miles do you run? where do you run?) and then I stepped onto a machine to determine what kind of arches I had.

She asked me what kind I thought I had, to which I promptly responded matter-of-factly with flat. Apparently I was WRONG. I have high arches, but flexible ones. Basically this means they collapse fairly easily (which is why I was led to believe I had flat arches), causing shin splints. Oh! I know what those are! I’ve had them 245843957 times! Next she watched me run on the treadmill, where I learned I’ve corrected my form tremendously since my last gait analyis but still pronate a little bit. She pulled out a pair of insoles and, using a special machine, heated them up to mold perfectly to my feet. Pretty cool!

Since my form is much better than in the past, my pronation has decreased a lot, and my diagnosis of arch type is now high – I am now classified as a neutral runner. I knew what was coming next, and so did my wallet as it immediately tried to make a run for the door.

New shoes.

If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know my addiction to running shoes. In the past it was mostly a quest to find the perfect pair that kept my shin splints at bay. Once I settled in on the Brooks Adrenaline 11s last summer, I purchased them in a few colors and ceased shoe shopping. When the Saucony Guide 5 came out, I purchased them for shorter runs but was pretty nervous to log any serious miles on them due to the 8mm drop. Shortly after that my running burnout was in full effect and shoes were no longer an issue.

Until now.

I’m not opposed to buying new shoes, but that wasn’t the purpose of the trip to RRS on that particular day. Especially with the 49.0 pound suitcase I brought home with me. New shoes certainly wouldn’t fit in there without hitting the 50 pound threshold, resulting in a $50 overage fee. But I humored the salesperson and let her bring out shoes for me to gallivant around the store in.

I was pretty adamant about my feet not liking Nike shoes but she still brought me out a pair of Vomeros, insisting I give them a try. And I did – still not a fan. I pulled on a pair of New Balance 890s which were incredibly light but the toebox felt a little small. I tried on the Brooks Ghost but didn’t love the way they fit, and the Launch, which again were really light but didn’t fit right. I mentioned to her how I’d really prefer a lighter shoe, but something that would hug my foot a little better.

Enter the Mizuno Wave Rider 15. I tried this style (maybe the 11 or 12?) out a few years ago when I first started running and they didn’t work for me. Well obviously. They’re a neutral shoe and I needed something very stable, borderline motion control.  But that day when I added the insert and laced them up, they fit incredibly well. I jogged throughout the store a few times to get a feel for the shoe and really loved them.

While I was wearing out the carpet, the salesperson had pulled another pair of shoes for me: the Saucony Kinvara 3s. They were beautiful (I know, not important…) and SO.DAMN.LIGHT! I couldn’t get over how much lighter the shoe was than the Mizunos.

After much deliberation in my “must-have-all-the-shoes” brain, I just couldn’t talk myself into buying one or the other. I needed both. Okay fine, I didn’t NEED both. I wanted both. With marathon training coming up the Kinvaras would be perfect for speedwork at the track and short tempos, while the Mizunos would carry me through my weekend long runs on the trails.

I had already made the decision in my head and my mom could see it in my eyes. Brad was telling me I should buy the Sauconys now and get the Mizunos later. My mom kindly read my mind and informed him that I clearly wanted both. His response? “So get both!” Such an enabler he is. And by “get both” he meant he was going to buy the Mizunos for me. So it only made sense for me to return the favor a few weeks later and buy him the Green Lanterns.

I bought the inserts and the Kinvaras, and did a happy dance all the way to the car. Until a few miles down the road where I realized the cashier didn’t put the inserts in the bag and we had to make a u-turn. Oops.

So. I’m a neutral runner now. Glad we got that all straightened out before Philly training started.

Oh, and I ended up needing to check an additional bag for the flight home. Turns out 2 pairs of shoes > 1 pound.

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  1. So I run in Wave Riders, but after reading this, I’m really tempted to try on a pair of the Kinvara’s! How have you enjoyed running in them?? What would you say are the main differences between the two?

    • I really like the Kinvaras! I find myself a lot more aware of how my foot lands, which transitions over to the days I wear my Mizunos. I think they’ve really helped my form, even though I do still struggle from time to time with heel striking. The main difference between the two is really the weight, and I’m sure it’ll be quite some time (if ever) before i ditch the Mizunos for a long run.

      After I bought the 3s I also got a pair of the 2s (super-cheap right now!) and think I actually prefer the 2s. The 3s are lighter but only by a small amount. The 2s seem to have a little bit more cushion while still having the minimalist feel.

      Hope this helps!

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