I retired my running shoes from this spring today. It was sad to see them go on many levels...
I am making room for a new pair already purchased and another new pair on the way. All of them - retired, new, and in transit - are Asics Gel Nimbus 11. I love, love, love the Nimbus 11. I think I am on pair #4 at the very least. The shoe is light (they have decreased the weight over previous versions), very cushioned (I am all about a soft shoe), and they work well for people with high arches (me! me!). So, I have been buying them over the years. I think I started with the Nimbus 9, went to the 10, but the 11 is my favorite so far. I figured I would be in love with the 12 after all my experiences. I ran out to get them the first week they were available, but returned them after wearing them around the house for an hour last month. Awful. I hated the fit. The shoe seems longer and narrower. I always wear a 9.5B in Asics. I have for the last 5 years without any deviation. Since the Nimbus 12 had such a different fit, I ended up trying a couple of different sizes and widths, but it just didn't fit right. So, in my psycho addiction to the Nimbus 11, I ran out to buy a pair and then decided today I should order a backup pair to my new pair. Yes, I am a little crazy about a shoe once I find one I like. I had to scour the web to find a Nimbus 11 in my size as they are now discontinued and out of stock many places. Sniff. Sniff. But, I found a pair. Ironically, from my favorite running shop in Illinois - Body N' Sole in Champaign. I didn't even think to check their site, but it came up in my google search. Awesome! It is a great locally owned business if you are ever in the area. Great store, great people, and good prices. It definitely was not in the color I wanted (pink - bleh!), but in running, the shoe is more important than the look. As my dad used to say, it is not a fashion show out there. True. Very true. Anyway, I ordered the shoe at 6pm tonight and got an email at 7:30pm that the shoes had already shipped with a UPS tracking number. (And that is why they are such a great store!) I took my new pair for a test run tonight to break them in. A very quick 3-miler before class. It was so hot out there. It's that time of year where you have to peel off your running clothes when you are done. Yep. Gross.
I am also saying goodbye to the shoes that made it through three half marathons, a marathon relay, and a couple of 5ks. Not to mention all the training involved. They were great in the snow, on the ice (with my yak tracks hooked on), and in the rain (including the downpour of the IU Mini). My estimate is that I covered about 405 miles in about 4 months in this shoes, maybe more. Definitely my constant companion! They also helped me get a half marathon PR and my 5k PR. But alas, these shoes were worn beyond their years. I don't think I have ever let a pair get so broken down and also continue to run in them. For some reason, I know I need a new pair of shoes whenever I start getting knee pain after running. I've had that pain for a couple of weeks now, but haven't wanted to give these guys up. (Well, honestly, I haven't wanted to wear my new ones out in all of this rain and crappy weather.)
I shipped them off today to the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe Program. They recycle old shoes (any brand) into surface material for tracks and playgrounds, as well as use some of the materials in their clothing line. Yes, I do realize that Nike is making money off my old shoes. But, they were way too worn out for a shoe donation program. I wanted to recycle them and Nike offers that type of program. I would much rather they do good with the shoes (money or otherwise) over having them sit in a landfill taking decades to break down. Runner's World did an amazing article called The Runner's Footprint a few years ago. It talks all about the impact of running shoes and the sport of running on the environment. It is definitely a bigger imprint than I thought. So, until there is a more sustainable shoe that I like, I either donate or recycle every pair of old shoes.
Goodbye to my old running companion. Thankfully, I have a couple more of the same to keep me going!