B is for Brooks, or How is it I Have SO Many Pairs of Running Shoes?

BA few months ago on one of my frequent forays through our local running store, I was lamenting having to buy yet another pair of shoes. I’d only been running seriously for a few months then, so I was likely only one or two pair into what has become a recurring event. The sales guy (I believe it was Steve G.) laughed. He of course has been running for a very long time. “You should see the mound of shoes I have!” He made a sweeping gesture. “My wife won’t let me keep them in the house anymore. They’re all in the garage.”

I guess the upside of needing a new pair of running shoes means I’ve been putting on the miles. I generally start to feel that familiar twinge in the bottom of my foot that signals it’s time to break out the wallet at around mile 300. Last year, I ran very nearly 1500 miles, which meant I ran through five pairs of shoes. One of the reasons I started running, instead of going to the gym, was that in theory running should be less expensive. Very little equipment needed, no membership fees. Yeah right.

Brooks Glycerin running the Turkey Trot

Running is not inexpensive. Not if you don’t want your body to break down. Not if you care about your feet, calves, shins, knees, and back. Not if you run on a variety of surfaces or in all kinds of weather. I currently rotate through three different pairs of shoes, all Brooks. Fun fact about Brooks running shoes: they are made just down the freeway from Bellingham in Bothell.The Brooks Glycerins, the cushiest of the trio, are great for flat surfaces, pavement, and going fast. Runners World Magazine listed them in its Fall Shoe Preview as perfect for the heavier runner—a description I took some exception to, but they are super comfy. So, whatever. The first time I wore a pair in a race, I came in as the first woman overall. Go figure.

My Cascadias are Brooks’ trail shoes—awesome for running over roots and rocks and uneven surfaces. I wasn’t sure I would like the Cascadias, so I bought an older model online for about half the original resale price. Now I love them and am looking forward to racking up the miles on them so I can get a new pair of the latest model.

Brooks Cascadia 8. No pics of these in action.

Rounding out my current collection are the Ghost GTX, the Gortex-lined wonders that keep my piggies dry in this rainiest of climes. I am on my second pair of Ghost GTX—I wore my most recent pair the first time when I ran the Mt. Vernon High School Band Aid 10K. The skies opened up, and I ended up running through a thunderstorm, complete with lightning, massive amounts of rain, and rivers and rivers of cow, uhm, waste, one of the bonuses of running rurally.

The downside of a Gortex-lined shoe? They keep the water out, yes, but if it somehow comes over the top of the shoe, it also stays in. By the time I finished the Band Aid run, each shoe must have weighed five pounds and my feet were soaked and shriveled. Usually though, I avoid deep rivers of cow waste, and the GTX keep my feet nice and dry.

Ghost GTX
Brooks Ghost GTX, post Band Aid 10K. These are some wet dogs.

These days, I’m working on my own mound o’shoes which currently resides by the front door. I am not ready to relocate the mound to the garage because whenever I look at it, I’m reminded of just how far I’ve come.

No barefoot running
for me. These feet are well-clad.
My spoiled, pampered dogs

4 thoughts on “B is for Brooks, or How is it I Have SO Many Pairs of Running Shoes?

  1. Love how you’re focusing on running in this challenge. I remember adoring my Brooks Vantage QUITE a while back. They were like running on clouds, even over roots. Brooks are great shoes. Also, about running barefoot…have you see the guy who lives on Lummi and runs to the ferry, takes it over to the mainland, runs in to Bellingham and back to the ferry each day? He never wears shoes or socks. His feet must be like hooves by now, but he sure looks like he’s having a good time.

    1. I have not seen him, Susan. But I can’t imagine what his feet must be like. There was just an article in the NYT about how taking up barefoot running is more difficult for “older” runners. Oy. Not gonna happen for this older runner. I love my shoes!

  2. I know skiers with many pairs in their quiver…didn’t realize serious runners have the same problem.

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