And joy is when the door bell rang and the postman stood at the doorway with a cardboard box packed with your new running shoes! And I was literally jumping up and down with joy like a little girl.
And what’s the big deal about a new pair of running shoes, you may ask.
I had spent months trying to find a new pair of running shoes to replace my old Merrell but to no avail.
I’ve been running with my Merrell Road Glove 2 for the last 2 years. It’s a pair of minimalist running shoes meant for paved road running and light trail runs or what they call a low profile, zero drop running shoes. Essentially it means that the shoes are designed without a steep slope from the heel to the forefoot unlike most traditional running shoes which come with thick cushioning.
So my husband read about how the traditional shoes, with a significantly raised heel is often the culprit to many common running injuries, such as knee pain. He was convinced that I should give minimalist running shoes a try after trying out his.
I was hesitant at first because I was used to my running shoes with a LOT of cushioning! Up till then, I was told that a good pair of running shoes should provide enough cushioning for support and stability. You need that padded heel to help absorb the shock so as to prevent injury.
Then in recent years, there emerged a group of people who believes that we should all run like the cavemen, barefooted! Because that’s how running was performed throughout human history and even till today, there are people in Africa and Latin America who still runs that way!
So the minimalist running shoe is touted to allow the runners to run in the most natural position without having to compensate too much for how the shoe is trying to dictate the movement of the foot.
I got my first pair of Vibram Fivefingers shoes some years back when it first came out and didn’t like it. Aesthetic wise, it made my thunder calves look even bigger! The soles of my feet hurt when I used them on gravel paths and it was SO DIFFICULT to get all my toes into those holes! The shoes ended up sitting in storage.
Then we got our first pair of Merrell minimalist running shoes. My husband fell in love with his new shoes. I didn’t like mine and I didn’t realize that I had gotten half size too small. My feet felt suffocated in them and for a long time I thought it was because the cut at the midsole didn’t suit me. My elder boy whose feet was growing at a tremendous speed and was in between kids’ and men’s size then ended up taking over my size 6. And since then, there was no turning back for both of them. They were stuck with Merrell shoes.
So in 2014, we found Merrell’s Road Glove 2 for ladies which came with a bit more cushioning (about 4mm) but still minimalist. It maintains a zero drop, ie the heel height and the forefoot height is the same so there is no slope from the heel to the forefoot, which still makes it a low-profile running shoes. This time round, I bought the right size.
It fit snugly and my feet didn’t feel suffocated. It was super light weight compared to my old running shoes and very flexible (as you can easily bend the shoes).
I LOVE the lime green and hot pink, it was the brightest shoes I’ve ever owned. It has the ‘fast shoes’ look (though I was anything but fast) and most importantly, it doesn’t make me look like I have elephant calves!
Initially I thought I might need some time getting used to, like changing the way I land my foot when I run, but everything went on so well. There weren’t any new shoes woes such as blisters or pains.
During our last hiking trip in Albany, we didn’t pack any hiking boots but everyone brought our Merrell shoes instead. They were light, easy to dry (because of their mesh surface) and very flexible. We could feel the ground and thus have a good grip on uneven terrain. It was totally different from hiking boots which were stiff, heavy and come with thick soles. We concluded that unless we are hiking on snow and need something waterproof, we don’t need our hiking boots!
It’s been 2 years since I started running in my Merrell and I can’t imagine going back to my old running shoes which are still sitting in storage. For someone who is fickle when it comes to shoes, it’s amazing that I only stick to one pair of running shoes for the last 2 years. My Merrell now sports a few holes and I told myself that I should probably retire them after the Army Half Marathon.
I have been searching around for other brands to replace my Merrell but found nothing suitable. Royal Sporting House have stopped bringing in Merrell’s minimalist running shoes and I was devastated to find out that Merrell has discontinued the Road Glove 2!
Last week, I finally took the plunge and went with the closest I could find on the internet, Merrell’s Pace Glove 3.
It arrived at my doorstep 2 days ago. I was so excited that I brought it to the gym that evening and tried 5 km on the treadmill. It literally fits like a glove but it feels slightly different because the soles has slightly different design as my old Road Glove.
I have yet to take a good look at myself in these shoes, so I can’t confirm the aesthetic part, especially the part on how well it will go with my calves!
But looks aside, I am very happy with how my feet feel, like they are being swaddled by a loving mother, yet at the same time my toes can splay naturally and don’t feel restricted.
I shall bring them out soon to try on some rougher terrain and do what these shoes are really meant for!