I have new runners! Ok, so maybe it’s not that exciting considering I go through at least 3 pairs a year. But still, I bet you all know that feeling of excitement, tinged with apprehension that the new shoes won’t be as good as the last ones. I have advertised the fact before, but in case you are new to this blog, my shoe choice is Nike Structure series. I started with the 15s a few years ago and have always just gone with the latest “upgrade” so have gradually made my way through the 16s and 17s (had two pairs of those) to the 18s. Unfortunately each time they move up a number, they completely change the shoe.
The thing about the Nike Structure series is that they have historically not been very pretty. In fact, butt ugly might be an appropriate description. So you can imagine I had to take a double take when I saw the Nike Structure 18s. They are actually pretty!! No, pretty isn’t the right word – these shoes are sexy!!
Visually they are a whole different beast to the previous Structure shoes. They have funky colours, more “depth” in the design and they just look… well – nice!
Here are a couple of comparison shots. I have to say my last Nike Structure 17s (the pink shoes) weren’t even the ugliest. I think that prize would go to the brown 16s I had way back (yuck!).
The shape doesn’t look that dissimilar though I feel the 18s are very slightly narrower.
One big problem I have had with the 17s is that they don’t seem to have any grip. If the ground has been wet or there has been frost, I have felt very unstable and “slippy”. Some uphills have been impossible to do on the pavement and I have had to resort to running on the grass to get up them.
The 18s, thus far, have seemed a bit better. It’s possible this will deteriorate once they wear down a bit but I have made the most of my new found ability to defeat slippy roads and tight curves.
There is a lot of technical nitty-gritty about this latest Structure shoe and I am not any good with that but this review I found is incredibly comprehensive. It explains all that stuff that you want to / need to know and I have no clue about. All I can really comfortably tell you is how the shoe is working out for me, so here you go:
Usually when I slip my duck feet into new Nike Structure shoes, it feels as if I am wearing a pair of fluffy clouds. The shoes have been so bouncy and cushy that they have me shivering with pleasure. As pretty as the 18s are, I am afraid I didn’t get that feeling with them when I put them on. They feel less cushioned, a teeeeny bit more snug than the previous shoes and just generally more solid. Well, maybe that’s how they should be.
The link I provided above, mentions ventilation and the 18s being warmer. And it’s true – the 17s “took in” air at every step through the drafty upper but the 18s are more solid. Considering the temperatures are plummeting, I don’t mind this but I can see how I will come to miss the feeling of fresh air on my feet when it gets warmer.
I have now run 45km with the new shoes, which isn’t a lot, but enough for me to say that I am not so sure I like all these improvements (except for the new look – love that!). I am missing the Tigger like bouncing feeling when I run and I find that my feet are “slapping” down in a way they didn’t used to before. I can’t really explain why this would be happening but I just wish it wasn’t. Clearly it’s a sign I need to fix my form in some way…
An issue that I have had before is my big toes striking holes to where they hit the upper. The previous 17s actually have proper holes from this but these ones were only just beginning to get worse. I am hoping the reinforcement on the 18s is enough to stop this from happening. Another thing that I find myself worrying about when I am running in these new shoes is puddles. I know it sounds stupid but they seem less waterproof somehow. I know, it’s idiotic as the other shoes aren’t exactly waterproof either but they seem more… plasticky. The 18s are all about the woven material and as you can see from the pics, they lack that extra protection around the front of the shoe. Oh well, next big rain and we will find out how dry they keep my feet!
So all in all, a mixed reaction from me. It’s possible that once I get a couple more runs in, I will decide these are the best shoes ever, but for now my feelings towards them are luke warm at best.
I am going to end by saying a few words for my first pair of 17s, which I quite liked. They served me well and I literally ran them ragged. RIP my worn friends. (So so hard to bin running shoes…)