Know Your Gear – Shoes

Ok, so I am using my blog to keep track of my training for the Leadville 100 in 2020. Why not? I can share my story with you and chronologically document what is working, and not working.

I am still trying to figure out what is the best shoe for race day. Which one has the right amount of grip, cushion, support and will not kill my feet over the course of 100 miles. Today I am on the fence of running in the Altra Lone Peak 4 or the Saucony KOA Trail. I have already ruled out my Hoka One One Speed Goat 2’s.

I have a wide foot and after running in the Hoka’s for two hours my toes just felt cramped in the toe box and were really starting to hurt. For me, these shoes are good for an hour to an hour and a half run. It was worth trying them out but are a no go for the Leadville 100.

Altra is all about the zero drop and the wide toe box. Everyone I have talked to says you need to give them a try and then decide for yourself if the zero drop works or not. Every shoe I have run in over the years have had a 3mm to a 5mm drop, so adapting to the Altras has been a challenge. First few runs in them I was sore because it changes the way your foot strikes the ground, so I had to slowly ease into them. To date, I have just over 100 miles on the shoe. I love the wide toe box for the most part, but coming down Barr Trail the other day it just felt like my toes were flailing around. Maybe to much room in the toe box? Coming down Barr Trail can be steep in some places, somewhat comparable coming down hope pass. Notice I said somewhat. Hope pass is steep!! In the grand scheme of the race, hope pass is just a small part of the race. Can I survive flailing toes for that short period of time to enjoy the wide toe box that is not cramping my feet for the rest of the race? I will need to answer this at least six months before the race.

The other shoe that I have run in that I really liked is the Saucony KOA Trail. I remember being at the running store and trying on several shoes, and because of my wide foot, the Sauconys standard width was not tight on my foot like the other standard width shoes. The material of the shoe is forgiving and stretches just enough to form around my foot comfortably. I track all my runs on Strava and specify which shoe I run in on my runs and to date I have 600 miles on these shoes. Research says to replace trail running shoes from anywhere between 300-500 miles. I stopped running in them when I bought the Altras. I need to get a new pair of Sauconys and start running in them again. They were working and could be the answer to which shoe I am going to wear for the race.

What shoe do you run in?