Choosing the right running shoe is crucial for both performance and staying injury free. With such a wide variety of options produced by dozens of manufacturers, making the crucial shoe choice is not always easy to do. Coaches Jeff Raines and Elizabeth James will give you the "rundown on running shoes" so can choose the pair that's best for you.


TriDotPodcast .03:

TheRundown on Running Shoes


This is the TriDot Podcast. TriDotuses your training data and genetic profile combined with predictive analyticsand artificial intelligence to optimize your training, giving you betterresults in less time with fewer injuries. Our podcast is here to educate,inspire, and entertain. We'll talk all things triathlon with expert coaches andspecial guests. Join the conversation and let's improve together.


Andrew: Welcome to the show, everyone. I'm super excited you'vejoined us today we have a dynamic main set topic that I'm teasing early becauseI think a lot of people out there will benefit from this talk. We are talkingrunning shoes: how to pick them, when to replace them, where to buy them from,what all those drop, stability, foam, energy-return terms mean—all the bigquestions you might face when choosing what running shoes are best for you. Myfirst guest joining us today is the best guy to talk to about this. It's coachJeff Raines. Jeff has a master’s of science in exercise physiology, and canstill throw down a sub-16-minute 5K and a one hour and 15 minute half marathon.I don't know about you, that's a little bit faster than me. He's qualified forBoston multiple times, and has over 30 Ironman event finishes to his credit. Hewas a D1 collegiate runner and is my absolute favorite person to talk runningshoes with. Jeff, it's your first time on the show. How are you feeling?


Jeff: I'm excited to be here. Thanks, Andrew. I can't wait togeek-out on shoes with everybody. I've been called a shoe nerd definitely morethan once. So, I welcome anybody to join us and nerd-out alongside me.


Andrew: Yeah, the Nike founder, Phil Knight, was known as the shoedog. And we all affectionately refer to Jeff Raines as our shoe nerd. So, Jeff,glad you're here with us. Next up is coach Elizabeth James. She is aprofessional triathlete, Boston qualifier, and Kona qualifier who has a recentmarathon PR of three hours and 59 seconds. Elizabeth is on a quest to completea marathon in all 50 states and with 18 states down, she is already well on herway. Elizabeth, thanks for putting down the running shoes long enough to joinus today.


Elizabeth: Well, thank you, Andrew. I have been really excited aboutthis episode since we first pitched the idea. There's just so much to talkabout with the run, and I can't wait to dive into this one part as we discussall things running shoes today.


Andrew: And who am I? I'm your host, Andrew, the averagetriathlete, voice of the people, and captain of the middle of the pack. Listen,every good workout starts with a warmup, peaks with the main set, and concludeswith a nice, refreshing cool down. And that is exactly what you can expect fromthe TriDot Podcast. Today, we’ll warm up with a fun and hypothetical questionthat will help you get to know Jeff and Elizabeth. Then we'll all nerd-out onrunning shoes in the main set before cooling down with a running edition of “GearWe Use.” Lots to cover. Let's get it going.


Time to warm up. Let's get moving.


Andrew: So, a few years ago, my first half Ironman was 70.3 NewZealand. I was on loop one of the run course when I noticed the crowd gettingreally excited that I was approaching. I thought that's a little odd. But, Iguess, you know, all these Kiwis are just super friendly. But right then therace leader and local hero, Terenzo Bozzone, passed right by me. I realized itwasn't me that the fans were getting super excited about. It was Terenzo. Thisleads us to today's warmup question, If you could get passed by any celebrityduring a race, and so, for just a moment in time you too were side by side,right on the racecourse, who would you want to get passed by? Jeff, what areyour thoughts?


Jeff: Wow, great question. So, many choices. My non-athletecelebrity would have to be, I guess, a man crush you could say as well,Sylvester Stallone.


Andrew: Solid, Rocky Balboa himself.


Jeff: He plays a lot of athletes and it just happens to be hewears Converse in a lot of his movies, which used to be the end-all, be-allathletic shoe of its time. But I would say athletes, celebrities passing me onthe course would have to be Mirinda Carfrae and/or Craig Alexander. Both Konawinners, they both tend to be run specialists. I love that they tend to comefrom behind and make their biggest move on the run course. So, I would justlove to run alongside them for at least one step.


Andrew: I think those are really, really good pics. Now, ifSylvester Stallone was going by you on a triathlon course, would you be temptedto hum the Rocky theme song as he went by or throw your arms up like you wereon top of the Philadelphia capitol steps?


Jeff: Absolutely. I would be that guy. Absolutely.


Andrew: You'd have to fan-out for a second, right. Elizabeth, whowould you want to get passed by on a racecourse?


Elizabeth: Well, I mean, shoot, Raines stole my answer with MirindaCarfrae, she's always been one of my favorite athletes for similar reasons thathe mentioned about being a strong runner and really making the racesinteresting on the marathon portion of the Ironman events. So, as soon as hestole my answer, I've been kind of racking my brain to try to think of anotherresponse. In terms of celebrities, I mean, honestly, my competitive nature iscoming out here and my first thought was, I don't want anybody passing me.


Andrew: It's hypothetical Elizabeth, come on.


Elizabeth: But then, just kind of an off-the-cuff thing, I think itwould be hilarious to see Chuck Norris on the course. Just the signs, you know,“Chuck Norris never did an Ironman.” They make me smile. So, I'd love toactually see him out on the course.


Andrew: Like that would for sure get your attention, right? You’reon the course and Chuck Norris went by.


Elizabeth: Oh, definitely. Yeah.


Andrew: And I could have rephrased the question, perhaps just foryou to say, What celebrity would you want to pass on a race?


Elizabeth: Well, there we go. Yeah.


Andrew: Is that better, does that make you feel a little bit, alittle bit better? Well, I thought about this as well, because in my openingscenario that made me think of this, it was an actual celebrity triathlete,somebody who's a professional and well known in the sport. So, it got methinking, if I could have an actual celebrity, not triathlon specific, whowould I choose? And here's what I was thinking: there's celebrities I like,there's celebrities that I follow. One that came to mind really early was NASCARdriver Jimmie Johnson. I follow him on Strava, he actually is a cyclist,runner, athletic guy, really enjoys getting out on the bike and knocking outsome miles wherever he goes. But I just, I feel like I would want it to besomebody that while I'm on course, and this person goes by me, like I wouldwant it to be somebody so attention-grabbing, kind of like a Chuck Norris, thatfor just a moment it would kind of take my mind off the pain I was goingthrough, right, on the run course. So, here's what I thought of, what if youcould have Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man himself, come by you? And even better,if he was in a custom tri suit that made him look like the superhero Iron Man.It'd be like Iron Man Inception, right, to have superhero Ironman, RobertDowney Jr., pass by you during an Ironman. So, that's my pick. If I could haveany celebrity pass me, it would specifically be Robert Downey Jr. dressed asIron Man.


Jeff: Him and Chuck Norris can be doing one-arm pushups in T1also.


Elizabeth: There we go.


On to the main set. Going in 3, 2,1.


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Ofall the gear choices triathletes have to make, what running shoe we put on ourfeet is one of the most crucial. And with a large variety of models produced bydozens of viable brands all marketed as the latest and greatest, making thecrucial shoe choice is not always easy to do. Jeff, I first heard you talkabout running shoes at a training camp down in Galveston, Texas, and I justloved every minute of your session. But before we get too far into shoe talk,can you tell us a little bit more about your background and studying runningmechanics?


Jeff: Yes, so thank you. I've spent years working in abiomechanics lab in graduate school. I stayed a few years after grad schoolworking in this lab, utilizing everything from force plate work, accelerometersback when accelerometers were fairly new to the game. They were only in the Wiiremote control at the time. So, we would put electrodes on your lower patellaand we could measure the amount of shock going up that tibia and into thepatella, and we would prescribe certain shoes and drills based on that amountof shock as far as a rehab goes there. Did a lot of work with electrodes andVO2 testing, metabolic carts, hydrostatic underwater weighing, bodycomposition, biomechanics, you name it. Really, really enjoyed my time spent ingraduate school and years thereafter. I have a Level 3 shoe expert andcertification. I've conducted hundreds of gait analysis through Austin Aquaticsworking at their facility for five-plus years.


Andrew: Now, I do want to say for the folks listening today, Jeffis like, you have to understand what Jeff just did was like one of the hardestthings for Jeff Raines to do because he's a super humble guy. He very muchhates boasting on himself and talking about what other things he's done. ButJeff, I wanted you to share all that because when I kind of heard your qualifications,it showed me this is a guy that whatever he says about shoes, there's a reasonhe's saying it. It's not an opinion, it's not that he's just a YouTube shoereviewer out there that just has thoughts and has preferences. You've studiedthis stuff. You've looked at hundreds of people's gaits and the way they runand the way certain shoes affect them. And so folks, as we work our way throughthe episode today, kind of know that when Jeff talks, it's from a scientificstandpoint of, he's done the research, he's put in the time, and he's got a lotof great stuff to say. So, Jeff, thanks for taking the time to say all that.Now, Elizabeth, you like triathlon but you love running. When did you first getinto running?


Elizabeth: Yes, I mean, you said that well. I love triathlon but evenmore than that, I love the run portion of triathlon. I would say, gosh, I firstgot into running to impress the guy that I had a huge crush on at the time.He's now my husband, so I think that everything worked out pretty well there inmy favor. But really, that's what got me started. I played soccer in collegeand running was part of my daily training, but I had never participated in astand-alone running event. So, my college summers were spent working as asummer camp counselor and Charles, my husband, worked at that camp too. And hewas keeping up his run training for the college cross country season. So, wewould get up each morning and go for a run before our campers would wake up.And when we started dating, we dated long distance and this was kind of our wayto do something apart, but yet together. So, we would pick a race, train fromit in Nebraska and Illinois, where we were attending colleges. And then we’dtravel to kind of the race as a weekend date. So, I mean, being very honest, Igot into running to impress a guy. So--


Andrew: And it worked.


Elizabeth: I guess so.


Andrew: It was effective. Shout out to Charles, wherever he isright now.


Elizabeth: Yeah.


Andrew: But let's start with the basics and get a little bit morein depth as we go. Now, there are a ton of running shoe terms that tell us whata particular shoe may be like. So, let's walk through some of the most commonand tell the people what each of these things mean. The first thing I thinksomebody sees when they go into a running store or looking at a particular shoeis there are shoes that are neutral versus having some sort of stability. Jeff,what are those referring to?


Jeff: Yeah, good question. I mean, first of all, there are 26different bones in the foot, 33 different joint structures, and over 100muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. It's a very complex system, yet very,very adaptable. We have to be precise in knowing what shoe that we choose, andthen what shoe that we need. Literature will even say that approximately 75% ofjust the general population will and do have some sort of foot problem. So,picking the right type of shoe is something that can be a huge aid in rehabbingfoot problems and/or preventing future foot issues. There are different typesof shoes that can provide aid in guiding your foot through the four main phasesof one’s stride, which would be the impact phase, the midfoot phase, toe-offphase, and then that glide phase. Assistance can be given through correctlyprescribing and choosing a specialty shoe that can aid and guide the foot in amore efficient and injury kind of reducing direction. But there isn't a shoethat will cure any issue. There is a shoe out there that will make you become amidfoot runner versus heel striker.


Andrew: Even though some advertise themselves as such.


Jeff: Some do and some have even gotten in trouble for that. So,they are aids, I can't emphasize that enough that there are shoes that can betools to help you. But focusing on curing an issue at the root of the problemis always something that I recommend. There's not a shoe that gives perfectrunning form or perfectly cures an injury just by simply wearing it. Thereisn’t a shoe out there that makes one become a midfoot runner as well. It's aconscious effort of neuromuscularly learning the most efficient biomechanics aspossible.


Andrew: So, you're telling me that the shoe can do that for me, thatI have to do that for me? Come on, Jeff.


Jeff: Correct. You have to think about what you're doing whilewearing certain types of shoes. To answer the neutral versus stability, whenyou walk into a running store, typically half of the shoes in there will beneutral, non-corrective shoes. So, from heel to toe, the shoe is the samedensity, it's the same durometer of foam from left to right from toe to heel.So, whatever you do naturally with your gait, you will do that in a neutralshoe. Stability shoes can often be understood as corrective shoes, let's say. Alot of people don't like that term, but for simplicity, just know that –


Andrew: That's what it's doing. That's what it is.


Jeff: It is. It's moving the foot. It's adjusting your gait in astrategic way. So, half the shoes in any specialty running store, inparticular, will be those kinds of “corrective,” more stability category shoesand the other half will be neutral. Now, in that stability or correctivecategory and stability, meaning correction for overpronating. A little bit ofpronating is good. Pronating is the foot rolling inward in attenuating thearch. So, pronation would be a zero degree up to the, kind of Golden Rule, 15degrees. So, anything inside of zero to 15 degrees of an inward movement orroll or wobble, so to speak, is healthy. It's natural. It's attenuating thearch. You're using your arch. But anything greater than that 15 degree ruletends to be or can be a wasted movement that can tend to cause injury.


Andrew: And so folks who’s feet roll more than 15 degrees inward,those are the folks who are looking, that need to be looking for the stabilitysection?


Jeff: A stability shoe can be an option in aiding that unhealthyamount of movement. Now, in this stability category, there's mild stability,moderate stability, and high stability, which is called motion control. And allof those are based on how much one overpronates, and again, overpronating isanything over 15 degrees. Now supinating is rolling outward, pushing kind of upand off, maybe emphasizing the pinky toe, staying on the outside of the footand not getting a healthy amount of an attenuated arch. So, for supinators whotend to have more IT band issues but higher cushion, neutral shoes would bemore recommended.


Andrew: So, the next thing I think people are used to seeing, yousee neutral, you see stability, and that was super helpful in knowing what thatmeans. Just in terms of the shoe itself, I always see people advertise, “theupper is made of this, and the midsole has that, and the outsole has that.”What are those three terms kind of mean, the upper, midsole, outsole?


Jeff: The upper, the midsole, the outsole are the components thatmake up the entire shoe. And there are certain selling points, there arecertain marketing trends that are focused on creating the perfect shoe. So, youcannot spend just all of your time as a manufacturer focusing on the outsoleand forget about the upper. And so these three components make up the entireshoe. Let's start with the upper. The upper would be anything from that insertin the shoe to the top of the shoe. You're not landing on it, it's covering theupper portion of your foot. But this could be anything from kind of heat,welded uppers, you know, versus stitching. A lot of brands are now heat weldingtheir uppers and getting rid of a lot of stitching. This cuts back on weight,it drops friction levels, which can cause blisters. So, getting rid of the seamsis something that we're seeing a lot of companies are incorporating. Weaving,Nike does that. They even actually incorporate a lot of structural componentsacross the world as far as creating the perfect fit of an upper. Like, they usethe bridge structure of the Golden Gate Bridge, the cabling system, they followsome of those patterns even in creating the perfect upper to mold and hold yourfoot in the best way possible. Things like asymmetrical lacing following thenatural curve of the foot, it's not just an aesthetic appeal, it's a comfort. Itcauses less material as well which makes it light. A lot of companies now aremachine-making their uppers through an algorithm, kind of a one-piece upper.So, just the technology is just amazing what they're doing now.


Andrew: And that's all to make the upper more form fitting, morecomfortable, is that the end goal there?


Jeff: Absolutely, all of the above. Lighter, more comfortable,making you more comfortable, hence you a faster athlete. But a lot of shoes areeven going up and up and up in price each year because even more of these supertechnical aspects are improving. The midsole is the cushioning level. So, itstarts from the first impact underneath your foot to what would be the sectionthat touches the ground. So, that would be the midsole. It's not what you seeaesthetically, on the bottom of the shoe when you roll it over and look at it,but it's kind of like that stack height some people refer to it as. A lot ofcompanies will use EVA foam and they adjust the densities of that foam to makeit firmer or lighter. Again, this affects the weight, but a lot of companies willuse gel, even wave plates, air pads, fresh foam, pro empower grid, carbon fiberplates are even being thrown into the mix. So, each brand kind of has theirgo-to niche as far as how they create their cushioning throughout that midsoleregion. The outsole would be the bottom of the shoe. So, the cushioning hasbeen created, and now we need some sort of protection for the impact phase ofthe foot strike.


So,the bottom of the shoe typically consists of some sort of a rubber. Now there'scarbon rubber versus blown rubber. And the carbon rubber tends to be black onthe bottom of your shoe, but the carbon rubber is a heavier longer lastingrubber. If you look at the bottom of your shoe, the outside of the heel, maybeunderneath the big toe, you know, more traditional kind of heavier shoes, youwill see a lot of black on the bottom of that shoe. Heavier shoes in each brandwill have those, they last longer but that carbon rubber goes from heel to toe.Now, if you want to start making the shoe lighter, a lot of brands will replacea lot of that carbon rubber with blown rubber. Blown rubber usually has aunique color aspect to it. Nike does a good job of differentiating the colorsof black versus their other rubbers.


Andrew: So, that's not just for fun and to make the shoe lookpretty, right, that actually does something, it's showing you what thedifferent rubbers are in the bottom of your outsole?


Jeff: Absolutely. So, surface areas on the outsole of the shoesthat do not get as great of an impact, companies will use blown rubber in thosesections because it's lighter. It wears out a little bit faster but it's a lotlighter. Areas of the foot, like when we walk, everybody lands on the outsideof their heel first when they walk and then they progress through the otherthree stages of the foot strike. And so on almost every shoe, at least a casualshoe or your more traditional kind of heel strikers shoe will have carbonrubber on the outside of the heel, almost every shoe. A lot of racing flats,you will not see hardly any of that black carbon rubber or even blown rubber onthe heel of the shoe because more elite runners tend to stay more midfootfocused. So, you will see more carbon rubber and blown rubber on those higher impactportions of the outsole.


Andrew: So, tell me about a traditional shoe versus a more minimalshoe, because that was a movement that was really popular. Not even too longago, people were really looking for more minimal shoes. Is there a bigdifference between the two of those?


Jeff: Absolutely. And the whole minimal versus traditional debatecan cause a lot of discussion.


Andrew: Yes, it can.


Jeff: 10 years ago, almost all brands kind of understood andfocused on closer to a higher stack height, a heel-to-toe offset, where theheel used to sit much higher than the height of the toe inside the shoe. So,the offset or the drop of a shoe, people tend to understand that as thethickness of the midsole which is not necessarily true. You can have a shoe thathas hardly any midsole that still has a significant or more traditional drop. Notevery brand and their go-to shoes used to be arguably a 12-millimeter offset.The heel would sit at least 12 millimeters higher than the height of the toeinside the shoe. Now, the more traditional is kind of understood, I would callit, an eight- to 12-millimeter offset is deemed more traditional now. Anythingflatter than an eight-millimeter offset tends to be a shoe that is favoring themore minimal direction or that more minimal category. Now most people think ofthat minimal shoe is that, kind of, barefoot roll up the shoe, put it in yourpocket.


Andrew: I mean that's exactly the mental image you get when youthink of a minimal shoe, right, that the Vibrams, almost next to nothing in thesole.


Jeff: Seven to 10 years ago, the minimal phase was a superminimal phase as I call it.


Andrew: Did you read “Born to Run,” Jeff?


Jeff: Absolutely. And that pretty much started this trend, right.And minimal shoes started off actually super minimal, zero drop, get rid of thecushion in midsole. Heel and toe, same exact height inside the shoe and all wehave is some carbon rubber between the bottom of your foot and the ground. Now,minimal can still be that, but there are variations and different levels inthat minimal category. You can still have zero drop but you can add 16millimeters of cushioning midsole underneath that drop so you're still gettingthe effects of a true, insignificant minimal, but you have protection andcushion underneath that drop. So, there are four millimeters, six millimeterswith all sorts of different stack heights of the midsole, underneath that drop.But in my experience, anything flatter than an eight-millimeter offset tends tobe what I would call going in that more minimal direction.


Andrew: And you referenced stack height just a moment ago, and sojust expound on what stack height is for folks that have heard that term butaren't super familiar with it.


Jeff: So, again, stack height is the distance between the groundand the bottom of your foot. So, stack heights can be very significant and veryminimal. But as far as a minimal shoe and using that term in the shoe world,minimal tends to lean more now at least in the running and triathlon world, asfar as the offset of your heel to toe. So, that stack height is the amount ofcushion so to speak.


Andrew: So, those marshmallow-y, pillow-y, wonderful cloud-lookingshoes are higher in stack height?


Jeff: It tends to be the more cushion, the more gel or the moreair pockets inside of that midsole constitute the stack height. And then thedrop is something that would be kind of added on top of that.


Andrew: Now, I think the last terms I see frequently and I alwayshave to wonder, okay, well what's the difference? What's better? What's worse?You know, some shoes advertise themselves as being firm, and others advertisethemselves as being quite flexible. What's the big difference there?


Jeff: Good question. I think there are two main differences.People like firm versus flexible and vice versa. One would be like the amountof return that you get. So, a firmer shoe, you're going to feel the ground morelike in cycling. The higher you pump up those bike tires, the more that you'regoing to feel and respond off of bumpy terrain. A firmer shoe, you tend tospend less time on the ground, so it can be an aid to give you more return ifyour gait is in a way that you feel is efficient enough to get that return offof. Now, softer shoes will absorb more shock. So, if you feel like your formbreaks down a little bit, the second half of long runs or the second half ofraces, some people kind of like a softer shoe, that might even be a little bitmore flexible, because it feels better.


Andrew: A little easier on the foot, perhaps.


Jeff: Absolutely. Maybe rehabbing an injury or you're new toupping your mileage. People don't necessarily care about shaving one second permile. And a firmer shoe will also, it can be faster in some aspects, but youcan be more sore the next day racing or doing a longer run in a more firm shoe.People will tend to train in slightly softer, heavier, more traditional shoes,and people will tend to do more speed work or racing in slightly more minimaland/or maybe even a firmer shoe.


Andrew: So, with all these running shoe terms in mind, Jeff isthere a certain amount of flexibility, shoe drop, stack height, etc. that weshould all be looking for?


Jeff: That I would say, Andrew, is the million-dollar questionfor coaches, for runners, for athletes. You know, it all depends on yourhistory. It depends on your goals, the race that you're training for. Let's saythat your Ironman bike course is super hilly. Well, you would adjust thecomponents on your bike to accommodate that type of race, that type ofterrain,, the length of your crank would be impacted. The decision that youmake in the depth of your disk. Flatter courses, you're going to adjust tothose components on your bike. So, let's say that it's your first marathon andyou have a history of getting injured. I would say that you would stick totraditional, stick to that eight to 12 millimeter offset shoe, point sixounces. It is not going to affect your time that much. So, I would stick to alittle bit more cushion, something a little bit more traditional. If you're abeginner and you're new to a certain distance, I would stick to a traditionaldrop shoe in that eight- to 12-millimeter category.


Butlet's just say that you're doing your first 5K, and let's say that you've had agait analysis and you're riding the line of meeting stability and not. So,maybe that angle of pronation is about 15 degrees. You might say, oh, no. Well,I think I might need a mild stability shoe because maybe I mildly overpronate.Well, if you're injury free, and you don't have a history of injury and in yourlong runs are only three to four miles, then you could probably stick in thatmore traditional, neutral category shoe. So, everyone has a unique story. Ifyou are injury free if you're someone who is a proven runner or you have racedsuccessfully three to five times at a given distance, and you don't have anysignificant inefficiencies, then I would say that you are an ideal candidate tostart mixing in a more minimal shoe, if you would like. And so if you do that,I would recommend that you work your way into that minimal shoe patiently.Don't go zero drop, no cushion, the first time you ever wear a minimal shoe.I’d get a four- to eight-millimeter offset shoe with a decent amount ofcushioning and use that as a stepping stone. 75-90% of your running needs to bein that more traditional category shoe even if you're an elite runner, thateight to 12 millimeter offset, higher cushion –


Andrew: So, it's not that you outgrow that or become such anefficient or good runner that you can move beyond that. That is just thestandard best training shoe from what you found, right?


Jeff: Absolutely. I would say that everyone needs their go-totraditional training shoe that they're using for the majority of their runs. Ikind of use this rule of thumb, if it's a workout or a run where you don't careabout shaving 10 to 15 seconds per mile, go with that more cushioned, moretraditional, safer shoe. Okay. If you have a minimal shoe, you've had successin it, I would always just mix that in. Do not do every step of your running ina shoe that has less than an eight-millimeter offset.


Andrew: Now, Elizabeth, everyone's foot is very, very different,and choosing a shoe that fits well is critical. How can we tell if a shoe is agood fit for our foot?


Elizabeth: All right. So, there's a couple of things to consider whendetermining if a particular shoe is a good fit for your foot. I know that Jeffhas talked us through a lot with this 15-degree rule, and that's always a goodstarting point for looking at a shoe and if that might be the right fit. So, ifyou have normal pronation, which your foot is rolling inward up to 15 degrees,that's kind of optimally distributing the force of impact. And so you canchoose from a variety of shoes that include a neutral trainer. Now, if youoverpronate, so your foot is rolling inward more than kind of that ideal 15degrees, which is somewhat common in people with flatter feet, then youprobably choose more of what we've been calling a stability shoe to help evenlydistribute the impact there. And so level of pronation and the natural movementof the foot when walking or running is certainly a factor in that determination.But then having said that, it's not the end-all answer either for if a shoe isa good fit. This is where gait analysis is very important and the movementabove the foot itself must also be considered. So, pronation gets such a badrap, but I mean, it isn't all bad. We are going to pronate, that is a naturalpart of the movement of the foot in walking and running.


Now,some moderate overpronators have no movement of the natural pattern of theknee, and therefore, they require no additional stability from a shoe itself.Again, this also goes to what is your level of experience? Do you have ahistory of injury? What race are you training for? That's going to determinenot only comfort and fit, but what's most appropriate. And then once you have kindof the level of support within the shoe determined, you do need to considersizing as well. So, a running shoe should be snug enough that there's notmovement of the foot within the shoe but it's not so tight that it's going tocreate areas of friction while running as well as that will create somediscomfort, potentially blister. Honestly, the best way to tell when you'relooking at a whole bunch of shoes and seeing what's going to be your best fitis to try them on, see what feels best on your foot. Comfort is really going tobe a big determining factor at the end of all this.


Jeff: I use the half-of-a-thumb-width rule, as far as –


Andrew: Half-of-a-thumb width, not a full –


Jeff: Correct. And so running shoe sizing actually runs a sizebigger, no pun intended, it runs a size bigger than your traditional dressshoe. So, if you're a dress-shoe-size, men's nine, the exact same size and fittends to be one size up. So, you would be one size higher in that run shoe. Butwe also got to remember that when we exercise, when we run in particular, ourbodies heat up, our bodies swell, our feet swell. And so I like as long as yourheel isn't picking up out of the back of the shoe, it's always better to pick arun shoe that is slightly too big rather than slightly too small. Our foot canand will swell when we run and if we have that half of a thumb width betweenour longest toe and the end of the shoe and our heel isn’t picking up out ofthe back of the shoe. That is the perfect fit.


Andrew: Now, Jeff, you talked a little bit earlier about how muchof your running you should do in a more traditional shoe versus how much youcan do in something more minimal or something different. And you mentioned kindof mixing other shoes in. Is there a right type of shoe that we should all bedoing all of our running in, or is it good to add some variety in the brandsand the types of shoes that we use in our training?


Jeff: Variety is good. There are brands and, actually every brandhas a shoe that they kind of understand could be in a one size fits-all so tospeak as far as hey this shoe is good for long runs and speed run. Oh, youcould also race on it if you would like. So, there are ways of getting aroundif you had to pick one shoe for all of your different types of running. Thereare some shoes that I recommend for that. But in an ideal, and we will get tothat in just a second actually, but I would recommend that in an ideal world,serious runners training regularly, mix in definitely different types of shoes,different brands. I mean, obviously, everyone has their favorite. But in anideal world, I would have three types of shoes, okay. One would be that 75%-90%of my running would be that just traditional, go-to, higher cushioned, slightlyheavier, eight- to 12-millimeter offset shoe. Again, that can be stability orneutral depending on what you need. And just to kind of reiterate stability,like Elizabeth said, overpronating isn't necessarily a bad thing. But stabilityshoes, what they do is some will have, kind of like what they will evenadvertise, as a rail as far as being underneath that arch or on the insideportion of your foot, or the density of the durometer of the EVA foam on thatinside kind of arched side of the foot will be a denser foam than the rest ofthe foam around it. And so it can be a ramp or a wall. So, how does a stabilityshoe in that more traditional category guide your foot in a safer direction?


Andrew: It essentially prevents it from rolling inward like itwants to do or is trying to do.


Jeff: Absolutely. It's an aid, it's an attempt to help guide thatinward, wasted movement into a forward-moving, more efficient, toe-off phase.And so that's what stability is. That corrective piece is typically in thearch. Now, there's what is called early stage overpronating, where you roll inmore towards the ankle rather than just a flatter foot or the arch collapsingin the whole foot rolling in. But I do want to emphasize that you can have flat,caveman feet, no arch and not overpronate at all. You can also have super-high,beautiful ballerina arches, but when you run and put weight on them, they cancollapse or be inefficient for you. So, a lot of people will say, well, I havenice high arches, so I don't even need to get my gait looked at.


Andrew: I’ve heard people say I have flat feet so I can't really bea runner.


Jeff: Absolutely.


Andrew: I've heard that side of it too. I will say this, whenyou're at the stage in a running shoe podcast where the term “early stagepronation” is incorporated, you’ve officially gone full-run nerd in thatpodcast, right? But Jeff, I do want to say this because I think it’s animportant thing to distinguish; you've gotten at this several, several times.And I think what I'm picking up on as the average triathlete, the averagerunner out there, is that kind of your reasoning for wanting people to do amajority of their running in that traditional shoe with a little more cushion,it sounds like those types of shoes protect your foot a little bit better. Isthat kind of the primary motivation there?


Jeff: Absolutely. It's a safety. As a coach, especially for beginners,I will put them in the most traditional safest route, and then it's kind oflike a game. They can earn the more minimal fun shoe. But in an ideal worldmixing in three different types of shoes, and we've spent a lot of time onnumber one, but yes –


Andrew: Yeah, and for good reason.


Jeff: Now, there will be the outlier or the runner out there thatwill swear by, “I have a zero-cushion shoe. I've run tons of ultramarathons. Iam injury free. It's been 10 years.” Absolutely.


Andrew: If that's the case, good for you.


Jeff: Yes, to each their own, there will always be both ends ofthe spectrum. But in my experience, all the lab work, all the kids, all theadults, all the triathletes, and all the gait analysis I've done, the majorityneeds to have that traditional go-to safe shoe that they do the majority oftheir running in. The second shoe is what I would call a middle-weight shoe.It's something that's not super, super minimal, but it's not something that issuper bulky or super traditional. It's a shoe that might be in that four- toeight-millimeter offset category, depending on the cushion level. But a shoethat would be good for longer tempos, a little bit of speed work tempos,fartleks, hill repeats, you know, more of a quality, day shoe, not just a superraw speed, super anaerobic-like track workout, but just kind of that end-all,be-all, just go-to for, you know, if there's a workout where you're going to dolong easy stuff, hills, that's that middleweight shoe. And then the third wouldbe kind of your more aggressive or the shoe that you might race in. Ipersonally mix in this more racing kind of “flat” of a shoe, a racing flat,about six to eight weeks out of kind of my big A race. I will then start toincorporate that third shoe, that race shoe.


Andrew: So, it's not even on a regular basis. It's really just tokind of prep yourself for race day.


Jeff: Yes. And again, this is unique to each type of runner andtheir own personal opinion. But I will do a lot of my speed work, even trackworkouts and that more middle-weight category issue earlier on in the season.As I’m mixing B races, you know, I might get 50-60% into my season, especiallysix to eight weeks out of a big race, I will start to mix in that more minimalracing flat shoe, the one that I'm going to race in. I might do a 10-20 minuteeasy run off of the bike here and there. I might do my last 5K assessmentupdating my paces in my zones going into that a race in that more racing flatshoe. And I put “flat” in quotations, racing “flats,” you kind of think of the crosscountry spikes, where you can roll them up and put them in your pocket but theymight poke you because of those super long spikes on the bottom. We tend tothink of those kinds as fitted socks, glorified socks with spikes on them. Aracing flat doesn't have to be a zero drop, no cushion, or very low cushion.


Andrew: They're very improperly named.


Jeff: Yes. And Elizabeth is going to touch on this a little bitmore, but something that Nike has done throughout this entire minimal phase,fad, trend, you name it, you deem that how you want it to be. But Nike has keptthe racing flat category of their shoes in the more traditional offsetcategory, it –


Andrew: Those famous Nike record-breaking shoes are what kind of adrop? Jeff, tell us.


Jeff: Well, you've got eight- to 10-millimeter offset is theoffset that Nike has stuck with for the sub-two-hour marathon attempts, whichhas now been broken. So, even the fastest most elite runners in the world aresticking with more traditional drops in racing, “flats.” So, it's veryinteresting and it's very even controversial. So, I'm someone who's been injuryfree, knock on wood, for years. Ice could be an ideal candidate to go superminimal, or mix in a super minimal shoe for more of my training, but I choosenot to.


Andrew: So, Jeff, people hear that and they say, because I heardthis talk, all this information from you at triathlon camp earlier in the year,and I immediately started going out on a search for what is a good eight- to 10-to 12-millimeter drop shoe that fits my foot well, because that was yourrecommendation. And I was able to find one and I started running in it and I'vehad positive results because of it. So, people hear what you just said, theysay, okay, I need to find that first and then from there, I can have my othershoes, my middle weight, my race day shoes that I mix in. But even in that,you've talked about how every brand has all three of those. How do youdistinguish maybe what brand might be the best fit for you?


Jeff: Just reading reviews online alone will just confuse you.And I even understand shoes, the brands, and the different makes and models andhow they work, and reading reviews makes me go cross-eyed. So, what I would dois educate yourself firsthand, go to a specialty running shoe store. First, getfitted, know what category shoe that you need first. If you have an injury, ifyou have an ache or a pain, or you have significant wasted movement, fix thatissue first. If 75% of people out there have foot problems in general, and wehave those 33 different joint structures in the foot, so those of us that arerunning with inefficient biomechanics, we're causing and can cause a lot ofissues on our feet. So, first of all, find out what category shoe you needfirst. And then what I would do is go to your special running shoe store andhave an associate bring out each brand’s version of that shoe. So, every brandhas a mild stability shoe, a moderate stability shoe, a neutral shoe, multiplechoices of those kinds of middle weight shoes, racing flats. So, find thecategory that you need. Okay, great, my coach wants me to start off in a mildstability shoe. All right. So, then you have the associate bring out eachbrand’s version of that shoe. And I tell my athletes that pick the one that ifyou are blindfolded, the one that feels the best on your foot. But there aredefinitely particular branding and selling points and claims to fame for eachkind of brand of shoes. So, each brand creates their cushioning –


Andrew: Everybody has their famous foam. Everybody has the onething that makes their shoe different from the rest.


Jeff: And which one is the best? Well, that is the million-dollarquestion, kind of like Chevrolet Silverado versus Dodge Ram versus GMC Sierra.I mean, to each, their own there. Finding what your foot likes the best, whichone is softer or firmer than others, what you’re training for, the best thingto do is go to these specialty running stores. They'll let you try out a shoefor 30 days. A lot of them will have treadmills in the store for you to run inthem before you buy them.


Andrew: Yeah, so let's talk about that, Elizabeth. When you'rewalking into a running shoe store and you're looking to cut through the noise,you're looking to find out what's the best thing for you, there's clearly a lotgoing on with making this decision that we've already talked about. But whenyou go into a store, looking for your next training shoe, where do you start?


Elizabeth: Well, I mean, this can be an incredibly overwhelmingexperience. I mean, you walk into a specialty store and you've got a wall ofshoes in front of you. And there seem to be this wall of shoes that areincredibly alike and incredibly different all at the same time.


Andrew: And all colorful.


Jeff: Oh yeah, exactly. So, think back to the very beginning withwhat Raines went through earlier in the episode and all of the differencesbetween the shoes, you've got different upper, midsole, outsoles, stack height.I mean goodness, there are a lot of differences even though you're just staringat a wall and you're like, “How do I know?” I would say that if you're going togo in and you're looking for a running shoe, just keep in mind that this is nota 10-15 minute transaction. To properly do this, it is going to take some time.My first suggestion would be to ask the associate there in the store to explainhow the store is divided. So, you've got a wall of shoes. Is this divided bybrand, is it divided by type of shoe, is one side of the store going to be allof your stability shoes, is the other side your neutral? Where are the minimalones, what models in each brand have been around the longest, which are yourkind of new or trendy ones per se? And plan on spending a lot of time there,asking questions, doing some research, even bring a notepad or take some noteson your phone. Then work with the associate to determine what type of shoe isgoing to match the movement pattern of your foot. I mean, we've already covereda lot with that. And it's even better if you've already come into the storeknowing that or having done a gait analysis, but if not, then a reputable runstore is going to watch you walk, walk to run, with and without shoes, maybeeven capturing some video of your movements to help you make thatdetermination. This really is kind of a further discussion where you arelooking for some input from the experts, and it's going to take you some time.


Andrew: So, some folks out there have tried enough running shoes toknow that they have difficult feet to fit. Now, Jeff, you and I have had many,many conversations about my own feet because I have a high volume foot. And Ifind myself at home in shoes that do not have a heel cup. That's almostspecifically like a term I have to look for. If a shoe has a heel cup, my heelis probably not going to fit in it well. I also look for shoes with a wider toebox. Now, for others out there who seemed to struggle with finding the perfectCinderella fit, what would you advise them to do?


Jeff: Definitely to reiterate a little bit about what Elizabethsaid, don't be afraid to sit down with an associate. But on top of that, Iwould ask the front desk customer service if there is kind of a specialist shoefitter. Maybe you're overweight, you're a little timid or you know you're moreinjury prone or maybe you're a super elite runner, and you have a certainhistory. Or maybe you have a significant injury You want to work with aspecialist that understands some of the physiology out there. So, don't beafraid to sit down with someone. It can be very intimidating but that's whatthey're there for. Have them assess you. A lot of them will watch you walk. Iwould just encourage you to have them do so, barefoot and with a shoe on. Yourgait is different with a shoe on, there are muscles and tendons in your footthat you don't use in a shoe. And so have them watch you barefoot, have themwatch you standing, walking versus running. And if you are doing a true gaitanalysis being filmed, I would make sure that you are being assessed wearing aneutral shoe. And again, whatever you do naturally, you will see that movementin a neutral shoe, so we wouldn't want to be assessed in a corrective shoebecause that shoe could –


Andrew: It's doing something to your gait.


Jeff: Exactly. And so, Is that you doing that or the shoe? So,just make sure that you just know the distance that you're training for. Areyou new? Are you just general fitness running? Are you training for something,and make sure that there's a specialist that can guide you in that direction.


Andrew: I've seen some stores, they'll advertise like heat maps orsomething that you stand on, and it shows them what parts of your foot arereally applying pressure. Are things like that helpful or is that just kind ofmarketing noise?


Jeff: In my opinion, it can be a little bit of both, but it is avery effective tool. I did a lot of force plates work. Someone, I would say, “Hey,Andrew run across the lab and touch the door on the other side of the room.”And as you're running across, we would have hidden random force plates in thefloor of our lab and we could measure the amount of impact at heel strike,forefoot, toe off. We could measure the amount of time spent on the ground, andwe can measure the amount of pronation, overpronation, or supination. And whatwe would do is we would prescribe certain drills, certain rehab, plyometrictraining, neural muscular activating exercises, and the arch is so adaptable.So, if you have found that perfect Cinderella shoe, just know that your gaitchanges regularly. If you're in between seasons, or you went from marathontraining to 5K or speed work up to distance, your gait changes, and yourmechanics change with that. If you were fit in a moderate stability shoe fiveyears ago or an orthotic six years ago, you won't always need or hopefully,shouldn't always need that insert. So, just know that that corrective shoeisn't your shoe or your Cinderella shoe for life. Your goal should always be towean back into that more natural and neutral category. So, just know that thearch, the foot is extremely, extremely adaptable.


Andrew: Now there are several brands that advertise special insolesthat they say will help your feet feel even more at home in your running shoes.Just in general, do you recommend insoles or not?


Jeff: You know if they're prescribed from a doctor or apodiatrist, absolutely. Follow your doctor's, your coach’s advice. But justknow that there are specialty shoes in each brand that are specifically made tofit a custom orthotics. So, yes, there are corrective shoes out there, thereare non-corrective neutral shoes. So, if you have a custom orthotic, I wouldutilize a brand-specific shoe for certain orthotics, or make sure that thatcustom orthotic is put in a neutral shoe. So, you're getting the correction outof the piece or that insert that that doctor or specialist wants you to have.And then you wouldn't want to stack a stability custom insert on top of amoderate stability shooting, right. Stacking stability on top of stabilitycould be overkill. So, you're either getting your correction out of thespecific shoe itself, or you're getting your correction if needed out of aninsert prescribed to you.


Elizabeth: If I can jump in, I completely agree with that. When Ifirst started running, I wore a corrective insole within a neutral shoe forlike the first few months, and then was able to kind of graduate to a stabilityshoe without any corrective insoles. And so, it is kind of that progressionthat you don't need to stack stability of the insert in a stability shoe.


Jeff: On top of stability, yeah.


Elizabeth: Right, you don't need to stack those together. But if youhave an orthotic that is prescribed by a doctor, placing that within a neutralshoe may be a great option as you're starting off. And then again, we've talkedabout how adaptable the foot is and the arches and then you might be able tograduate out of that insole into a stability shoe itself to still offer somecorrection but maybe not as much as what you had with the corrective insoles.


Andrew: Yeah, you walk into a running store, or even a doctor'soffice and maybe you step on a force plate. And you walk into a running storeand you have a wobble and their goal is when you walk out of their front door,that you have a shoe that keeps you stable. But if you think about it deepdown, you're still overpronating. That piece in the shoe or that insertprescribed to you is just rolling you back in that safer category. So, thestore has it in there, everyone's goal is to do what Elizabeth has donesuccessfully is to wean back into neutral, that should be everyone's goal. Ifyou're prescribed a moderate stability shoe, maybe in four to six months whenyou're ready to buy your new shoe, maybe through your rehab, you have graduatedor wean back down into mild stability and maybe the next year you're fully arein the neutral category. If you are prescribed an insert from a podiatrist or adoctor, get it updated. Tons and tons of times have I had people walk into mystore and say, “Hey, I need a shoe that fits this orthotic.” Great. I've gotfive, let me go get them. But out of curiosity, why do you have that insert?Six years ago, I had plantar fasciitis. Three years ago, my arch was hurtingand –


Andrew: And they're still worried about that but they may not havethat issue anymore.


Jeff: Absolutely. And so that insert or the shoe is keeping yourfoot stable but curing it at the root of the problem is always and should bethe goal.


Andrew: Okay. So, before we move on to our cool down, we've coveredso many individual things about what makes a running shoe a running shoe, whatmakes them different, what makes one maybe better than the other, what type ofshoe we should do most of our training in. We've covered so many things, butjust to give the people kind of some concrete examples to walk away with today,I'm just going to kind of go through maybe a couple different types of shoesthat somebody out there might be looking for. And I literally want from both ofyou your concrete examples of oh, someone needs a shoe for trail running, this,this, this Okay. So, we're just going to pound through a list, and just rapidfire style, tell me what shoes and these categories you guys recommend. Youguys ready?


Jeff: Yes, do that.


Elizabeth: Let's do it.


Andrew: All right. Number one, what shoe brands generally work bestfor runners with wider feet?


Jeff: I tend to go to ASICS and Brooks. They tend to have a widertoe box for most normal widths. Normal widths being kind of that D width formen, B width for women. Know that in specialty shoes, 2E and 4E would be,believe it or not, one size and two size bigger. But a lot of these brands willcome in widths. But for traditional widths, ASICS and Brooks for me tend tohave a slightly wider toe box.


Andrew: Now, what are a few shoes that are great for marathontraining?


Jeff: I will always go to that safer, higher cushion, traditionaleight- to 12-millimeter drop shoe. So, in ASICS, the Cumulus 10 millimeter, theNimbus, also 10 millimeter. Brooks' version, I would say the Ghost 12millimeter, offset glycerin, is a 10. Nike’s go-to and one of the shoes that'sbeen around the longest would be the Pegasus and kind of that big brotherversion, the Air Max, being 10-millimeter offset.


Elizabeth: On the Mizuno side, you've got the Wave Rider and you'vegot the Enigma, both with a 12-millimeter offset. With Saucony you have theSaucony Ride, you have the Saucony Triumph, eight-millimeter offsets there. NewBalance, you have the 880, which is a 10 millimeter, you've got the 1080, whichis an eight millimeter. So, all those would be good for marathon training aswell.


Jeff: And I want to emphasize that the shoes that were justmentioned, all of those are kind of that go-to, neutral category shoe. So, eachone of those has kind of that brother or sister version in the stabilitycategory. So, what we named would be those go-to neutral.


Andrew: Got it. What are a few shoes you would recommend fordistance racing?


Jeff: Well, whatever drop suits you the best, I would stillrecommend a decent amount of midsole cushion, kind of below that offset. Ipersonally recommend for distance racing, that four- to 10-millimeter offsetthat can support longer distances. We mentioned earlier that Nike stayed in thatmore traditional offset with some of their racers for long distance. Elizabeth,do you want to –


Elizabeth: Oh yeah, definitely because this is like my thing rightnow.


Jeff: A Nike fan girl.


Elizabeth: Oh yes. Right now I am just loving the Nike shoes forracing. I'd say that they are worth the hype that they are receiving. I racedmy early season events in the Nike Vaporfly 4%. So, you've got your 10-millimeterdrop there. And then the marathon that I raced just a few weeks ago I did andthe new Nike ZoomX, the [Vapor]fly NEXT%, so still eight-millimeter drop there.


Jeff: And those tend to be the industry leaders right now forthat kind of marathon racer, but I would say other brands are getting on thiskind of safer drop with more cushion. Like the new Hoka Carbon X is a fivemillimeter drop, very similar to kind of that Nike ideology there thatElizabeth just mentioned. The Hoka Clifton was my go-to for the last three tofour years, being a five-millimeter drop now in the Clifton 6. The SauconyKinvara is a four-millimeter offset, great marathon racer. The Adidas BoostTechnology is another one. There are a million but those would be kind of mygo-to favorites.


Andrew: What are a few shoes that are great for speed work?


Jeff: Oh, me personally, I've always liked the Nike Lunaracer,been using that since college. And the Brooks PureFlow is kind of in that samecategory, the Saucony Kinvara, I mentioned earlier. I use those for speed work.


Andrew: What are some shoes that were great sockless for triathlon?


Jeff: This is where the industry has changed a lot in the pastfew years and I'm a huge fan. A lot of brands now incorporate kind of ananti-moisture and antimicrobial sock liners inside the shoe. A lot of themspecifically advertise “Hey, you could race in this without socks if you wantedto.” The Nike Flyknit is a knit machine-made seamless, one-piece upper thatfeels really good on the foot. A lot of people swear by, you know not having towear socks with those. The new Skechers Go Run has a knit, one-piece upper aswell. The Adidas Ultra Boost also now has a knit upper option. The New Balance,the Fresh Foam Vongo, uses a 3D printer actually to create this kind ofultra-lightweight mesh cage.


Andrew: How high tech of them.


Jeff: Oh gosh, they’re crazy what they're doing now, but it kindof has a molded booty inside of the shoe that subs for a sock. Gosh, the newerKinvara in Saucony incorporates their new, they call it their Flexfilm, whichis a seamless pliable upper that kind of moves along with the foot, instead ofthe foot kind of stretching against it. It's crazy cool.


Andrew: So, what are some of your top recommendations for trailrunning?


Jeff: Oh man, many and more experienced trail runners tend to bekind of more minimalist, you know, more minimalist lovers. But whethertraditional or minimal, I still recommend that their trail shoe incorporates arock plate in the midfoot of the midsole, which provides extra protection. Ittends to be a carbon fiber plate because it's much lighter, but it will helpkind of rocks and roots and bumps, kind of protrude those extra pressure pointsof the midfoot. So, regardless of the type of shoe, minimal or traditional, Idefinitely encourage a trail-specific shoe that incorporates that rock plate.Trail shoes will also incorporate more of that kind of heavier, stiffer, longerlasting carbon rubber across more coverage of that shoe. Some Adidas shoesactually even use road cycling rubber tires. Like Continental is a great tirecompany. Adidas partners with them to help from sliding on wet trail surfaces,that “gription,” I call it, factor of this shoe. But my go-to recommendationsfor trail running shoes, the Brooks Cascadia. The Brooks Cascadia is anindustry leader. Any elite runner will tend to stand by that. The most closelyrelated to that Cascadia, it's now discontinued but the New Balance Leadvillewas a shoe very similar to that Cascadia. A lot of people liked that. TheSaucony Peregrine. Some minimal versions would be the New Balance TrailMinimus, the Altra Lone Peak is a good one, the Salomon Elevate.


Andrew: And finally, if someone has the budget for just one pair ofgood running shoes, what are some good kind of all-rounders they should lookinto?


Jeff: Oh man, that middle-weight shoe that's light enough forspeed work but durable and protective enough to handle long runs. Gosh, if youcould only have one, I would stick to that six- to 10-millimeter offsetexamples, including the Brooks Launch eight millimeter, the Adidas Boost 10-millimeteroffset, the Saucony Ride eight mil, the New Balance Zante is a good middleweight,six-millimeter shoe. Those would probably be my go-to or my favorites.


Andrew: And last running shoe question before we wrap this up. Atwhat point should somebody replace their running shoes?


Jeff: A lot of shoes will have a life expectancy. Some brandseven market that. But for your just traditional go-to shoes, most areunderstood at a 300- to 400-mile life expectancy. I would not recommend yourrunning shoe using it for casual wear, buying groceries. If you're juststrictly running in it, that tends to be four to six months, three to fivemonths depending on your mileage. A lot of people will even write the date kindof on the heel of the shoe even when they buy the shoe, just so they can referback to that. But when you're getting 75% what you would think would be thelife of that shoe, start mixing in a new shoe with that. But a good littletrick, if you don't know how many miles are on it, you don't remember when youbought it, the little trick that I do is I put the nose of the shoe down on theground with the heel facing straight up towards the ceiling of the room and Iflex the shoe. I push it down like a spring and I let go quickly of that shoe.If there's some hop there, then there's still a little bit of integrity leftpossibly in that EVA foam. It’s –


Andrew: But if there's no hop?


Jeff: If there is no hop then that shoe is dead to me. It becomesmy triathlon shoe that I walk to the swim start and I ditch off to the side anddonate so my feet aren’t cold.


Andrew: Jeff, how many pairs of running shoes do you own, out ofcuriosity? Can you ballpark it?


Jeff: Ask your wife how many pairs of shoes that she has, and Iprobably have double that in run shoes.


Andrew: In running shoes alone. Elizabeth, how many Nikes do youhave?


Elizabeth: Oh gosh, I have like five boxes of Nikes right now.


Great set everyone. Let's cool down.


Andrew: In the spirit of running shoe talk, we will cool down todaywith the running edition of a segment we call, “Gear We Use.” This is the partof the show where we move beyond theory and talk about what gear TriDot coachesturn to for top performance. It's one thing to preview a new product or toreview a popular piece of gear, but when a TriDot coach takes a product intotheir own training or to the start line of a race, it probably means it's aproduct worth checking out. Elizabeth, let's start with you. What are threepieces of running gear you are loving right now?


Elizabeth: Oh goodness, I feel like a broken record but I'm going tosay it again, gosh, those Nike shoes I'm –


Andrew: Nike shoes.


Jeff: Yes, I'm racing in Nikes and they're worth it. I will saythough that my go-to, long-run shoe is still the Mizuno Wave Inspire. It's gotthat wave plate under the heel, two layers of that euphoric foam cushioning,one above and below the plate, that grippy outsoles has been great for alltraining conditions. I get a lot of miles out of them before I need areplacement pair. So, I mean shoes, we've spent this whole episode on that, butthat's still number one. Gosh, two other pieces of gear. The Balega Hiddencomfort socks. I love the extra-deep heel pocket and the extra cushioningthat's there around the Achilles, that's a go-to. Gosh, number three, my Nathanhydration pack. Marathon training in the Texas summer heat requires a lot ofhydration. So, that would be a key item for me as well.


Andrew: Some really great stuff in there. Thank you. Jeff Raines,what is some of the gear you are using right now?


Jeff: Oh man, main, long-run shoe, ASICS Cumulus, High CushionNeutral, 10-millimeter.


Andrew: The man takes his own advice.


Elizabeth: Yes.


Jeff: My quality shoe, kind of speed work, maybe track, tempos,fartleks, Saucony Kinvara, all the way. Love that shoe, multiple models, four-millimeteroffset. Half- and full-marathon racing shoe, the Nike ZoomX NEXT%, all the way.Socks, I love the Feetures Elite light cushion sock, right and leftanatomically correct, love those. Gosh third, I would say favorite, the newFenix 6, the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro. There's what they call the PacePro. It's gotthis intelligent kind of pace planning feature that is a great adjusting paceguidance thing.


Andrew: So, it helps you know what pace you should be running at inyour training and racing based on where you actually are on course, right?


Jeff: On particular courses. It is a very, very neat new tool outthere.


Andrew: Is it just that Garmin watch that does it or is Garminunveiling that to all of their watches?


Jeff: Right now that is the only product that's doing it, but Isee it moving across.


Andrew: Three pieces of gear that I'm using in my run trainingright now, I am doing all of my speed work and tempo sessions in the SkechersRazor 3 Hyper. I have a weird foot. There's a lot of shoes that I would really,really like to run in, but they just don't fit my foot very, very well. So,just like Jeff and Elizabeth talked about, I've gone in the stores and I foundthat the Razor 3 fits my foot really well, and I'm able to do a lot of myrunning in it. I have found the Mizuno Shadow I mentioned earlier is an eight-millimetershoe that gets me in that more traditional shoe for all my other miles. But Ilove the Sketchers Razor 3 Hyper. That brand’s doing a lot of really, reallycool things right now. A second thing I'll say is the Scosche Rhythm+ heart ratemonitor. Now, this is a heart rate monitor guys, it's not a chest strap, butit's also not the little wrist base that that can be kind of finicky. It is aheart rate monitor that goes around, basically any part of your arm. You cantighten it up on your forearm, or you can move it up to your bicep where it'sout of the way. And it reads very, very, very highly accurate like a cheststrap, but I just hate chest straps. I hate they always end up getting looseand sweaty. And I can put that thing on my arm and forget about it. My wifedoes all of her, you know moving-around-in-the-living-room kind of workouts onit and it stays on both of our arms very, very well. So, I recommend that.


Thelast thing I'll say is the Nathan Zephyr Trail flashlight. I know a lot ofpeople use headlamps for their running, especially on those early morning runswhere it's dark outside or wintertime when there's not as much sunlight. A lotof people turn to their headlamps. I never got into the headlamp thing, and Ifound the Nathan Zephyr Trail, it kind of has a little hand strap so it loopsright onto your hand, almost like a handheld water bottle. And so you don'thave to hold it, you can just kind of run with it on your hand. And then asyou're running if I need to kind of let a car know that I'm there at anintersection, I can kind of just flash it at them really easily without shakingmy head in all sorts of funky directions. And so that's a nice flashlight I'vereally enjoyed on those late night runs, those early morning runs, thosewintertime runs.


Well,that's it for today, folks, I want to thank TriDot coaches Jeff Raines andElizabeth James for giving us some clutch information about running shoes.Shout out to our friends at TRITATS for bringing us today’s show. I firmlybelieve friends don't let friends show up at a race with Sharpied-on numbers.So, as a friend of the podcast, head to and use coupon code, TRIDOT to make your mark with TRITATSat your next race. Have any triathlon questions or topics you want to hear ustalk about? Email us at and let us know what you're thinking. Again, that's We'll have a new show coming your way soon. Until then,happy training.


Thanks for joining us. Make sure tosubscribe and share the TriDot Podcast with your triathlon crew. For more greattri content and community, connect with us on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.Ready to optimize your training? Head to TriDot.comand start your free trial today. TriDot, the obvious and automatic choice fortriathlon training.