Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cheating On My Hokas With The Altra Torin...

Several weeks ago, I made the decision to switch from my beloved Hokas to a "less bulky" running shoe. I'm not sure if it's just me, but deciding on a shoe is pretty difficult - especially when you're breaking up with a shoe that's done you no wrong (I'm willing to overlook a lot more rolled ankles lately). It took a while, but I narrowed the choices down to three: Altra, Inov8 and Pearl Izumi (while leaning towards the Altras).

Anyway, despite thinking that my running was coming along pretty well in my Hokas, I kinda wanted to find 'less' of a shoe while not completely going over to the other side - the minimal side. I felt (and still do) that I've gone as fast as I will ever go in my Hokas, I have been wanting to improve my endurance and swiftness lately. I needed a shoe that can go fast and the distance. Don't get me wrong, though, my Hokas have been, are, and will be, my distance trail shoe probably forever.

I'll admit that prior to a couple months ago, I had no idea what a phrase like zero drop meant. Several months ago, one of my friends told me that my Hokas were 04 mm drop shoes - whatever that meant. Once he explained that it meant that was the difference between the heel height and the midfoot height (if I'm paraphrasing him correctly), it kinda made sense. Hey, I'm just a dumb & crazy runner. I don't need much explanation - just point me in the right direction and tell me to run. 

This past weekend we visited Houston and made it a point to stop by Luke's Locker. I kinda had my mind set on Altras, but I went in there with an open mind. I tried on some Altras, Inov8s, Montrail and even a shoe I didn't expect to see...Scott EVO shoe. Just a side note, I've read a lot of positive things about it in several mags, but it just didn't feel 'right' to me.

I tried on quite a bit of shoes since they had a huge selection, but in the end I decided to go with the Altra Torrin. I liked their look, the cushioning and the wiiiiiiiide toe box - my toes gotta breathe & move around.

The day I was going to do a 10 miler in 'em, I decided to wear them to work. I wanted to see if I'd feel a difference. I usually wear my older (but reliable) Asics 2170 to work since I'm on my feet all day. I've got to say that they gave me more of a 'flat foot' feel, but, overall, no problemo.

That same evening, I did my first run in a non Hoka shoe in over a year. I was a little hesitant initially because I've felt absolutely no foot pain in my Hokas and was afraid my feet would feel the difference from all that cushioning to the whole zero drop thing.

From the get go, I felt myself running...dare I say - graceful. Keep in mind that I've never used that word to describe my running. I'm used to running and wanting to smash everything in sight, but I really couldn't do that with the Torins - I knew I'd feel it. I felt like a ballerina. Almost.

We ended up doing a speedy (in terms of me) 11 miler on the sidewalk/pavement. It definately was a different feel when compared to my Hokas. I felt lighter and like I was running a bit faster which I may have since I was more or less right on splits I wanted to hit.

My feet were a little sore afterwards but nothing unusual I think. I told myself I'd feel a difference since I was running in a less cushioned shoe. I say less cushioned but it's not really that accurate of a description. I think that I'm destined to think shoes are not or less cushioned since I value my Hokas so highly.

Any complaints? Well, I thought and still think the traction is not the best. I've run a bit on a light dirt trail, and I found myself slipping and at times sliding. Not a good combination to a clumsy runner like moi (that's 'me' in French - I think).

I felt so comfortable in them, that there is a slight chance that I'll be running in them for my next race - The Pedernales Falls 60k Night Trail Race.

I'll feel more comfortable about 'em as I get more mileage & wear & tear in 'em, but for now, they're a thumbs up.

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