I am not sure if it was really an acute need of new runners or just the fact that I fancied a new pair that took me to Nike Town on Friday. Well, I had run over 690km in the old pair so I am sure the padding had taken a beating (this is how I justified it to my husband).
From what I gather, Nike isn’t seen as one of the manufacturers taken seriously for actual running. They are seen as focused on marketing rather than product development and the needs of the runner. I have to say I definitely disagree here. All I know is that from the shoes I have tried, Nikes are the only ones that my messed up feet tolerate. I have been running in Structure 15s and 16s and found them to be the only ones that cushion the foot strike enough and that are wide enough to accommodate my duck feet. They always make me go “aaaah” when I put them on. It is like slipping your feet into a cloud puff.
Nike Town isn’t usually great for customer service; the sales people don’t seem to be runners themselves and rarely know about anything other than what looks good (and even that knowledge can be dubious). They are uninterested in actually HELPING you to do anything other than just spend money – on anything. This time though, I was helped by a guy called Andrew who seemed happy to spend some time with me to make sure I was leaving the store with the right shoe.
As usual, things have moved on and the Structure 16s aren’t available anymore and we are at Structure 17 now. It always worries me as when you find a shoe that works for you has been “upgraded”, even a small change can really mess things up. And indeed, I chose a colour and asked for the shoe in my size. And rather than get that “aaaah” when I put it on, I went “huh?”. The shoe just didn’t feel as cushioned. Maybe it is in my head but I definitely felt like my foot was sitting lower and was the shoe wasn’t as “boingy” (technical term).
Confused I asked to try the other stability shoes, LunarGlide and LunarEclipse, on.
LunarGlide is a very pretty shoe – it comes in various different, cool colours. Unfortunately as soon as I put it on I could feel it was all wrong. Sadly I handed the box back.
LunarEclipse is like the ugly stepsister to the LunarGlide. I mean, this shoe is UGLY! But oh my word, it was very very comfortable. The shoe felt cushioned and it hugged my foot nicely. Damn – I had a dilemma. Do I take a risk and go from the Structure to the LunarEclipse? I agonised. Andrew agonised with me. In the end I went with what I knew, probably mainly because the LE is just so ugly, and headed for the till with my Structure 17s.
My version of being smart and breaking the shoes in was to walk to the gym with them. I had a 21km run the next day and I was going to wear the new shoes but wanted to be sure the lacing etc was as I liked it. They are definitely very very different to the Structure 16s. They feel harder and it took me a while to get the snugness just as I like it. I am sure these shoes are.. tighter. However, I decided to just go ahead with the long run in the new shoes.
And they did ok. I did get my Mortons Neuroma pain but I get that in the old runners as well. My right foot seemed to be easier to control in these, however. Or maybe it is just my imagination. So verdict on Structure 17s (after only 1 run) – they’ll do. Maybe with a bit of time they might upgrade to higher praise.
The one thing I have to say is brilliant is the bit of fabric on the top of the shoe that seems to reinforce the bit where my big toe usually ends up making a hole in the mesh. This didn’t exist in the previous shoes.
Here are some comparison shots between the Structure 16s and 17s. The 17s have the reflective elements built craftily into the shoe. I may have tested this out in the dark bathroom with a flashlight… Ehem…
UPDATE – 4th of June 2014
I have been running with the Structure 17s for a while now so I thought I should give a quick update on how I am getting on. In one word – great! The shoes are really fantastic, they feel pretty light when I am running and any issues I had with possible Morton’s Neuroma (undiagnosed but painful) are gone! So despite my initial hesitation with these shoes they definitely work for me. I am thinking that maybe the fact they are slightly narrower is actually a good thing; they support the foot a bit more.