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Runnin' Down A Dream: Reinventing Running Shoe Tech

[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month, although Paul may be popping up here occasionally.]

By Phil Hecken, with Harrison Huntley

Hey everyone — hope you guys had a good weekend and you’re staying healthy and safe.

As some of you know, I am (now) a runner — I wasn’t always; in fact, I actually started running a few years ago when I hit the half-century mark. I never much enjoyed it (and sometimes still don’t) but it’s a good way to get in cardio and try to keep the ol’ spare tire off, which happens when you hit middle age. When I started, I was clocking something like 11.5 min/miles, and if I could do two miles, that was a lot. I now run almost every day, between 3 and 5 miles, and I average around 8:20/mi, which isn’t great, but then again, I’m 54 and I’m not doing it for anyone but myself.

When I first started running, I wore whatever “running” shoes I could find at DSW, and never gave much thought to the technology involved. Then, three years or so ago, an adidas rep sent me a pair of “Ultra Boost” sneakers. On my first run, I immediately trimmed 30 sec/mi. off my run times. At first I thought it was a fluke, but after consistently running much faster times, I realized at had to be the technology that went into the sneakers. I’m now on my fifth pair (here are four pictured) and I don’t think I’ll ever run in another shoe. What a difference.

Anyway, when today’s guest author, Harrison Huntley, approached me with a story idea which read, in part …

I was wondering if UW has ever done a story about running, or maybe specifically running shoes? Over the last couple years, shoe companies have been reinventing the tech behind running shoes, especially since Nike has been creating shoes specifically to break the 2 hour marathon mark. Shoes are getting more and more specialized, and I would love to shed some light on the different brands and their technology (similar to the way you guys preview a tennis tournament)

…I immediately thought of my own running shoe experience and thought this would be a fun lede. I know some of our readers are runners (pals Chance Michaels & Mike Styczen have run marathons, and I know buddy Kary Klismet also runs, among others), so hopefully you all you fine readers will enjoy this piece. Let’s get started. Here’s Harrison:

• • •

Performance Running
By Harrison Huntley

I started running a little more than 10 years ago when I was in the 8th grade. At the time, I was more interested in how a running shoe looked than how it actually helped me perform. Ever since my competitive running career came to an end, I’ve become obsessed with the different ideas and preferences behind each running shoe brand.

In the last couple years, most running shoe companies have done a complete 180 in terms of their technology. Prior to the shift, racing shoes were supposed to have as little cushioning as needed, which of course varied by distance. But in 2017, Nike released the Vaporfly, a shoe featuring a large amount of lightweight foam surrounding a carbon fiber plate. Without going into a ton of detail, the plate helps the runner turn over their stride faster and easier, which increases running efficiency.

For runners who “Get It”, the recent World Athletics (IAAF) ruling was pretty exciting. Professional runners can no longer run in crazy, unreleased prototypes. The new rules require the shoe be available to the public, meaning that just about anyone can purchase top of the line running shoes and try them out for themselves.

Unlike many sports’ uniforms, these carbon fiber plated shoes are actually helping athletes turn in faster race times and more efficient conditioning. With that in mind, here’s a quick rundown of what each brand has done with this tech. To save some time, most of these shoes share three things in common: A carbon fiber plate, some version of lightweight foam, and a geometry to help runners turn over their strides easier/faster.

__________

Nike

The whole carbon fiber racing movement can trace its roots back to 2017, when Nike introduced the first Vaporfly as part of their Breaking2 campaign. Nike recently released the Alphafly as a bigger and better Vaporfly. The shoes have the same ZoomX foam and a similar carbon fiber plate, but there are a few notable differences. The most drastic difference between the two shoes is the Zoom Air units on the forefoot, an element Nike has been known for decades. Nike went the extra mile as the Alphafly’s carbon fiber place is also scaled for each shoe size, unlike the Vaporfly’s one-size fits all plate. Most Nike shoes these days feature a Flyknit upper, a light woven fabric, but the Alphafly boasts a lighter version that Nike has dubbed AtomKnit that is lighter and more breathable than ever.

__________

Adidas

Adidas fought against the carbon fiber movement for awhile, even going so far as to release their non-plated response to the Vaporfly, the Sub2. Once it was clear that carbon fiber plated shoes were undoubtedly faster than others, Adidas acquiesed with the Adizero Adios Pro. Instead of a single plate, Adidas has placed five carbon-infused rods in the sole with the LightstrikePro midsole surrounding them. The shoe released a little over a month ago and only a few have been seen in the wild so far.

__________

Saucony

Widely regarded as the Vaporfly’s biggest challenger at launch, the Saucony Endorphin Pro is actually part of a three-shoe suite of Saucony Endorphins. The Pro is the racer while the Speed is a speed workout shoe, and the Shift is the daily trainer. Saucony covered their carbon fiber plate in their lightweight foam called PWRRUN PB. The upper is almost exactly like Saucony’s track spikes, making it thin and breathable. It looks (and feels) the most like the Nike Vaporfly thanks to the SPEEDROLL geometry and an all-around similar construction.

__________

Brooks

The most interesting process so far belongs to Brooks.Similar to Saucony, they released the Hyperion Tempo for speed workouts and the Hyperionn Elite as the racer. While the Tempo was widely regarded as a high-end trainer, the Elite left many scratching their heads. Was this the shoe Brooks’ gave to its elite runners to compete with Nike and Saucony? Apparently no, as the Hyperion Elite 2 was recently announced and confirmed to be the shoe worn by Brooks’ sponsored athletes in the US Olympic Marathon trials (before the recent WA rule took effect). The major complaint of the Elite 1 was that it wasn’t soft, responsive, or supportive. Early returns on the Elite 2 indicate that they’ve fixed the issue, but amateur runners will have to wait on its September 1st launch.

__________

New Balance

Many runners love New Balance’s FuelCell line of shoes for their uniquely shaped midsoles. So the natural next step was to put a carbon-fiber plate in that shoe with the Fuel Cell TC. What makes this shoe different than others is it’s meant for both training and racing, or Training and Competition as the acronym says. As is traditional for New Balance, this shoe is a little heavier and stability-focused than other racers, but plenty of runners prefer that, especially if this is a training shoe.

__________

ASICS

Most of these shoes are extremely cushioned with a tall stack height. The ASICS MetaRacer bucks that trend with a sleek, minimal design. It’s still got the carbon fiber plate and a midsole based in ASICS’s Flytefoam, but it takes several cues from ASICS’ daily trainer, the GlideRide, including the Guidesole geometry to help propel you forward. Many runners consider this a 5K-10K kind of shoe instead of a marathoner, but that doesn’t mean it won’t show up in marathons. Overall, runners have heralded this shoe as feeling like a racing flat while offering the advantages of a carbon fiber plated shoe.

__________

HOKA ONE ONE

HOKA pioneered the ultra-cushioned “maximalist” shoes in 2009, so adding a carbon fiber plate wasn’t as much of a challenge for them. They debuted the Carbon X back in 2019 to aid their own Jim Walmsley in his quest for the 100K world record. If ASICS is perhaps a shoe for less than a marathon, HOKA’s shoe is built for much more than a marathon. A shoe with this weight and cushioned will work in a marathon, but it’s more designed for the ultra-marathon category. For that reason, it’s been adopted as a long-distance trainer for many runners who race in other models. This year, HOKA released the Carbon X SPE that adds an even lighter upper, specifically for racing, along with the plated lower of the Carbon X.

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Sketchers

Many people who know Sketchers for their ads with Tony Romo might not expect Sketchers to make a performance-oriented running shoe. But if you watch any major marathon, you might know that Sketchers outfits Meb Keflezighi, one of the greatest American runners of our time. Sketchers’ GOrun Speed Elite Hyper comes with the longest name of these shoes. Their lightweight foam is called Hyperburst, which is a little more firm than that of its competitors. The upper is made of a mesh that’s so lightweight you can actually see through it (similar to the Alphafly). Sketchers bucked the trend by putting a carbon fiber infused plate in their shoe, which along with its firmer foam, makes more a stiffer but lighter shoe.

__________

On

One of the newest shoe companies in the game also boasts one of the newest carbon fiber plated racers on the market, the Cloudboom. The shoe features On’s signature cloud-like sole that is certainly a “love it or hate it” design with the individual “clouds”. A thin, flexible plate splits the shoe’s sole and mid, while a firm foam makes up the mid with a very light upper rounds out the shoe. Like its ASICS counterpart, this shoe falls on the skinnier side of these racing shoes, but will undoubtedly make an appearance in international marathons (when those resume).

• • •

Great rundown (pun kinda-intended) Harrison! Now I’m not sure whether or not to stick with my Ultra Boosts! Well, the pair I’m currently using have a few more miles in them anyway, so this is all great stuff to ponder. Thanks for the “lesson” in the new shoe technology.

Readers? What do you think? If you run (or are considering running), did this in any way shape your thoughts on your next running shoe?

• • • • •

• • • • •

MLB Honors NLB; Marlins Throw Back to Miami Giants

Yesterday, MLB Celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the founding of Negro League Baseball. In an event that was supposed to have taken place on June 27th (delayed, obviously, due to the COVID-19 pandemic), all players, managers, coaches and umpires wore a Negro Leagues 100th anniversary logo patch on their uniforms. According to MLB, the logo is a derivative of the official logo created by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Here’s a close-up (for all photos you can click to enlarge):

All teams sported the patch (which was apparently glued, not sewn, on the unis) on the left breast:

On most teams this looked fine, but it was a bit overshadowed by teams who have a logo in nearly the same location, such as the Yankees:

Teams across the leagues had some form of pregame announcements or festivities, but without crowds in attendance, these undoubtedly lost some of them impact they rightfully should have had. In addition to the uniform patch, the logo was also on the lineup cards as well as the bases:

Several teams also placed cardboard cutouts of NLB players in the seats, where the “fake fans” cardboard cutouts are also located:

There were even some cutouts in some of the dugouts:

It would be nice if those remain in the stands until the season ends.

Teams also sported “Negro League Baseball” t-shirts for pre-game warmups:

And, of course, several players wore NLB-inspired cleats:

As mentioned earlier, it appears the patch wasn’t sewn:

As you’ll see below, it didn’t stay on every player either. Sigh.

And some took it even further than the shoe honors:

• • •

In a somewhat odd twist to yesterday’s festivities, the Miami Marlins threw back — but not to a NLB team — to the Miami Giants. The Miami Giants were a semi-pro baseball team in the 1930s, calling Dorsey Park (which is still standing in Historic Overtown) their home field. While not a part of the Negro Leagues themselves, they frequently faced the stars of the league in barnstorming games.

No other teams took the occasion yesterday to wear NLB throwbacks.

But the Marlins did look good:

They even masked up when social distancing wasn’t possible:

Unfortunately, the team didn’t really go the extra yard with their helmets (of course, there were no helmets in the 1930s, so it’s not like they could accurately throw back there) — but they could have removed the “M” sticker logo:

And as mentioned above, the patch was definitely “glued” on…and of course, that led to it also falling off at least one player yesterday. Sigh:

It’s a shame NLB didn’t truly get its day in the sun for its 100th Anniversary this year (but at least MLB didn’t cancel it). Another casualty of this whole coronavirus pandemic. Perhaps next year MLB will give NLB more proper respect (although I wouldn’t hold my breath). But at least the season didn’t get canceled before yesterday’s games took place. And for that, we should all be thankful.

• • • • •

• • • • •

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from T. J. Brenan.

The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).

Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):

Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.

• • • • •

• • • • •

Gradients Come to NAIA Football

Got a note from my buddy Jimmy Corcoran, whose dad, most of you know, played professional football, most notably for the Philadelphia Bell of the WFL. Jimmy’s nephew plays at Keiser University, an NAIA school in Florida, and the team just got new helmets for the season. I’ll let Jimmy take it from here:

Hey Phil,

My nephew got issued his helmet. They aren’t bad for a small school, right now they just wear one helmet. But like a lot of Uni Watch readers I am not a fan of gradient paint jobs, very few teams pull it off, they usually give the helmet an unfinished appearance. I thought this helmet would look better with a thick blue stripe on the back to separate the colors like Navy did with the gold stripe.

Jimmy

Here’s a look at the lid:

I’m not a fan of gradients, but I don’t think this one is too bad. I happen to like navy and powder blue used together. And while I think all facemasks should be gray, I bet this would look pretty snappy with a navy one. Jimmy agreed. “I like the powder- navy combo too. Always like UNC and Columbia’s unis. I agree, a navy face mask would make this helmet pop a little more and give it a little rougher look. When the roster is done and they make final cuts they are supposed to add large numbers on the back.”

Thoughts (on gradients in general, and this hat in particular)?

• • • • •

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: If you missed it, the Giants are planning to add NOBs to their home jerseys next season (from multiple readers). … MLB.com ranked the top 10 Negro League uniforms (from Mike Chamernik). … The new Triple-A Red Sox affiliate Worcester Red Sox are to reveal uniforms today (from Howard Corday). … The Cubs’ broadcaster yesterday used a Brewers ball-in-glove logo with just a plain yellow circle instead of a baseball (from Jarrod Campbell). … The independent Somerset (N.J.) Patriots have been playing against a second team of their own creation, the New Jersey Blasters, in a series of games (from John Cerone). … The next two are also from John: The Somerset Patriots also picked the winner of a jersey-design contest for charity. … A new competition, the All-American Baseball Challenge, brings together some New York and New Jersey minor league teams and some apparently new teams. You can see some of the logos and uniforms by scrolling through the existing teams’ social media: the Sussex County Miners and the New Jersey Jackals. … The Korea Baseball Organization’s NC Dinos wore alternate jerseys and light blue hats for a promotion based on Children’s Day, a holiday in South Korea on May 5 (from @taewoongii).

Football News: The Vikings added a 60th-season helmet decal for next season (from multiple readers). … Washington added NOBs to their practice jerseys. The NOB previously was “Team” instead, which was a decision by coach Ron Rivera. … However, Washington’s old logo is still at midfield of their indoor practice field. The team said they would try to remove all traces of the old identity by the start of the season (from @BriMcL17). … Lumberton (Texas) HS has an apparent Riddell makers’ mark on its jerseys. … Here is a video of splash shields being added to Georgia’s helmets (from Willard Kovacs). … The first round of Virginia players choosing their numbers for this season took place last night, with LB Zane Zandier becoming the first player to wear No. 0. I’ve noticed over a few years a pronounced soccer-like trend of players moving to lower numbers as they become more senior; it appears that everybody in this group either kept the same number or chose a lower one.

Hockey News: Stars G Anton Khudobin had to change the tape on the top of his stick because it was green instead of white (from @stuctaylor). … Hurricanes G Petr Mrazek has Family Guy‘s Peter Griffin on the side of his mask (from Dave Garabedian).

Basketball News: The WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks wore warm-up shirts supporting Los Angeles County’s public health anti-smoking initiatives. … Here is how NBA and WNBA teams are retaining some elements of home-field advantage (NYT link) in their bubble (from Tom Turner). … The Boston Globe once wrote about why the Celtics traditionally wore black sneakers (from John Fitzgerald). … The single cover for Drake’s new track “Laugh Now, Cry Later” features him and fellow rapper Lil Durk dressed like NBA draft picks (from Mike Chamernik). … Reader Matt Tumlinson made a Spurs football helmet.

Soccer News: English clubs that released new kits or shirts this weekend included Birmingham City; Burnley (from Nate Gilman); Huddersfield Town, Manchester United’s second shirt, which was worn yesterday (from our own Anthony Emerson); Norwich City; and St. Albans City, with the local band Enter Shikari as the advertiser (from @vivalablake). … Other new releases included Portugal’s Vitoria (from @mikeDfromCT), Mexican second-tier team Alebrijes de Oaxaca (from @SeanRFlynn), and German team Mainz 05’s third shirt (from Greg Phillips). … Staying in Germany, Fortuna Düsseldorf’s new second shirt features a pattern visualizing their many promotions and relegations — relegation from the Bundesliga in June was their 15th change of leagues since 1992. … Here is an overview, in picture form, of even more kits and shirts released this weekend. … New shirts also for Polish teams Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała and Widzew Łódź (from Ed Żelaski). … Also in Poland, Lech Poznań are getting a new ad, but instead of just not having one on the shirt, they put the ad’s release date where it would go (from Tom Gronek). … The Canadian Premier League is holding a shortened season in Charlottetown, P.E.I., on a pitch that doesn’t have any stands, so the TV broadcast features computer-generated stands, covered seats in the stands with ads, and adboards (from Wade Heidt). … The NPSL’s Minneapolis City pointed out that St. Louis City’s color scheme and logo font looks really similar to theirs, for which they gave the new MLS team the sardonic nickname “Thieves” (from multiple readers). … Mexican team Monterrey changed to white from red socks at halftime on Saturday (from Eloy Jiménez). … The first MLS game after the Orlando tournament was hosted by FC Dallas last week with some fans in attendance. Officials and players from both Dallas and Nashville SC knelt, for which they were booed, and Dallas right-back Reggie Cannon, who is Black, later received death threats and racist abuse. … Since the Champions League and Europa League restarted, officials have been wearing “UEFA Match Official” patches that they didn’t wear before; they would normally wear FIFA patches. … Some teams in the same competitions have been wearing “Thank You” in English instead of a local language, like Spain’s Sevilla (from Daniel Kilgore).

Grab Bag: In the Australian Football League, Fremantle released an Indigenous guernsey. … In the southern hemisphere’s Super Rugby, Melbourne Rebels prop Cabous Eloff rather spectacularly ripped his shorts (from @NatteringN). … Japan’s men’s volleyball V.League held a “special match” based on the volleyball anime Haikyu!!, with players from the league’s teams forming two fictional V.League teams from the show, MSBY Black Jackal and Schweiden Adler (from Jeremy Brahm). … Two hundred Irish Muslims recently held a socially-distanced Eid al-Adha prayer in Dublin’s Croke Park. … Reader David Eichblatt wears one of the 2015 Uni Watch T-Shirt Club shirts every year on his birthday. Happy belated 80th, David! … Community leaders in Waterloo, Iowa, want the police department to change its logo (from Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell).

• • • • •

• • • • •

And finally… big thanks to Harrison for the running shoe technology primer! Definitely food for thought when I get my next pair of kicks. Good stuff.

I was pleasantly surprised with the positive comments on last Friday’s sunset photo, so I’m going to run another one. Unfortunately it rained all day yesterday, and it was overcast on Saturday, so there were no sunsets to photograph. However, this is what I was treated to on Friday evening…

There’s a lot of cool stuff out here I encounter on my daily runs and walks, and of course the sunsets (almost) nightly. I’ll post some other interesting area photos in the future.

Everyone have a good Monday, and I’ll see you all on the morrow…

Peace,

PH

49 comments to Runnin’ Down A Dream: Reinventing Running Shoe Tech

  • Mike Engle on iPhone | August 17, 2020 at 8:21 am |

    Petr Mrazek has used Family Guy’s Peter Griffin for quite some time. His name is Petr, and coming up through the Detroit Red Wings system through the AHL Grand Rapids team, Petr was a Griffin.

    • Jamie Rathjen | August 17, 2020 at 8:36 am |

      I’m sure he has, but this one has never been in the Ticker before (I looked), only a previous version of it.

  • Kevin G. | August 17, 2020 at 8:42 am |

    Scoreboard is Game 6 of the 1993 ALCS.

    • TJB | August 17, 2020 at 10:28 am |

      Yep. I took this picture just after Warren Newson’s home run. It had been a close game but the Sox had a defensive meltdown in the ninth. A few minutes after this picture was taken, the Jays closed it out and won the pennant.

  • Nate Rathjen | August 17, 2020 at 8:45 am |

    Neat stuff, Harrison! As another distance runner who Gets It(tm), I often say shoes are like golf balls – people sometimes incredulously ask me “how can they be that different?” but the amount of variation between different brands and models is fascinating…

    • Harrison Huntley | August 17, 2020 at 11:09 am |

      I’m going to start using that, it makes a ton of sense.

      I think similar to golf balls, you won’t notice the difference until you try it yourself

  • Anthony G | August 17, 2020 at 8:56 am |

    I was against carbon plated shoes for the longest time as stuck with traditional racing shoes. The biggest drawback was the price. Most of these retail at over $200 and only last for 100 miles. Anyways I got a pair of the Nike 4% vaporflys on clearance and now I see what the fuss is about. Its not that they make you go faster, it that they save your legs for later in the race, making you less sore & tired. Now its a requirement to have these on at races if you want to compete for the win.

    • Harrison Huntley | August 17, 2020 at 11:11 am |

      I felt the exact same way. I’m a big fan of minimal running shoes when it comes to my daily trainers, but I got some Saucony Endorphins for my race days and it’s amazing how helpful they really are

    • Patrick L. | August 17, 2020 at 3:29 pm |

      While I have no qualms about the use of “supershoes” like the 4% amongst predominantly recreational runners, I’m a big fan of the competitive scene and am distressed by the imbalance it has created. Besides the specter of “technological doping” looming over mano a mano contests in the moment, it also spoils the ability to compare performances across eras, which had up until this point been largely very simple (past the era of cinder tracks). Maybe I’m just an old man yelling at clouds, but I’d like to see a return to basics enforced in professional/ collegiate circuits.

  • Skott S. | August 17, 2020 at 9:20 am |

    I’ve seen some of the new style distance running shoes, and have been intrigued by how different they are than their recent predecessors. I had no idea about the carbon fiber plates or rods, very interesting article.

    One question that I’ve wanted to know since I worked at Journey’s in my younger days, is Saucony pronounced “saw-coney”, “sow-coney”, or “saw-cunny”?

    • Anthony G | August 17, 2020 at 9:26 am |

      It’s Pronounced “SOCK-UH-KNEE.” I used to work at a running shoe store and that is how the reps wanted us to pronounce it.

      • Skott | August 17, 2020 at 9:49 am |

        Thanks!

      • Mark in Shiga | August 17, 2020 at 8:55 pm |

        Anthony, what state was this in (and what state did the reps hail from)?

        There are English speakers who use the “sock” vowel for both that sound and the one in “saw” (so “Paulie” is pronounced as if it were “Polly”), and for my NYC-born self this merger is inconceivable. If I were instructed to say “au” like “a”, I couldn’t do it, any more than I could impose NYC’s super-strong “au” sound on someone from the West Coast.

        • Anthony G | August 18, 2020 at 10:30 am |

          I worked in RI and the rep was from their headquarters in Boston.

  • Greg | August 17, 2020 at 9:27 am |

    Thoughts on a couple of topics today:
    Sneakers: Altras!! Their wide toe box actually allows for healthy foot / toe dexterity. The narrow toed shoes and sneakers we wear (not to mention socks) counteract the natural design of our feet.
    Gradient Helmet: I think gradients are bad 99.99999% of the time, but what really strikes me as doubly problematic with the helmet today, much like the Jags old helmet, was that there isn’t much gradient to it, rather it is a two tone helmet with a tiny band of gradient in the middle. That makes it worse. It isn’t a baby blue to white gradient helmet. It is a baby blue and white helmet with a soft edge between the two colors.

  • keith | August 17, 2020 at 9:29 am |

    I started running about 5 years ago in a pair of New Balance that i bought from an outlet. I liked them fine, they were comfortable. then about 3 years ago I went to a running store where the supposedly fit your feet to shoes based on how your feet strike the ground and if you need a stability shoe vs a neutral shoe. anyway, i tried on a few different brands, and it came down to another pair of New Balance vs. Mizuno Wave Riders. i went with the Mizunos to switch it up. i don’t think they have carbon…as far as i can tell its just a wavy plastic plate in the sole. But definitely the most comfortable running shoes that i’ve owned. for my feet anyway

    • Anthony G | August 17, 2020 at 9:44 am |

      Mizuno’s Wave plate is plastic, not carbon, though they are due to have a carbon plate shoe out later this year. Mizuno is one of those brands that people either love or hate.

  • Scott | August 17, 2020 at 9:33 am |

    Excellent running post! As a heavy runner (230-250 lbs) I always have trouble finding running shoes that work for me. It seems all the performance shoes are made for people 100 lbs less than me. Any suggestions from the runners on here?

    • Andy | August 17, 2020 at 10:04 am |

      I started running at around 225 lbs in a pair of thinner “speed” New Balance shoes that eventually left me with shin splints. Went to the local running store and came out with a pair of Hoka One One Clifton 6 shoes. Lots of cushion and it has a “rocker” motion to the sole that encourages you to run more on your forefoot. With the added comfort I was able to increase the pace and distance immediately. That was two years ago – with some weight loss and getting more into running and looking for speed I chose a different pair of Hoka’s – the Rincon. Definitely faster but I do miss the cushion and rocker motion of the Clifton’s. I still use the old pair every once in a while but might go back when it’s time for a new pair. I also really enjoyed trying a pair of Brooks Ghosts – super recommended beginning shoe.

    • ThatRodneyGuy | August 17, 2020 at 10:47 am |

      I started running at 30, and as a runner in that same weight division (i’ve gone down, but am currently back up), I started in Saucony, and almost broke my foot during my first full marathon, 2 years into running. After that I went and got refitted, and switched to Brooks Glycerine, which combats my supination (opposite of pronation which most running shoes are designed to fix), and I have never looked back. Ultimately, the shoe for you will be the shoe that works for you, but I would definitely recommend going to a real running store, rather than a shoe store and let them give you a reccommend.

  • Harvey Lee | August 17, 2020 at 9:34 am |

    I also picked up running as I turned 40 many years back and have worn stability shoes by Mizuno, Brooks, Nike, and New Balance. I have not tried the carbon shoes due to price, but the shoes I buy still cost $130 a pop every 5 months, more often when I train for a marathon. I would like to draft a story on the history of USA track and field uniforms at the Olympics. We have some great designs from the past. Watching the Olympic films on HBO Max, the women had a totally different design from men in 1968 complete with NOB! More later.

  • ThePonchat | August 17, 2020 at 9:47 am |

    That gradient helmet pictured is not of HS football, it’s from Keiser University, an NAIA school in Florida.

    https://kuseahawks.com/sports/football

    • LT | August 17, 2020 at 10:30 am |

      Coming here to say the same thing!

    • LKjus | August 17, 2020 at 12:02 pm |

      You beat me to it, too.

    • Phil Hecken | August 17, 2020 at 12:08 pm |

      Thanks. Now fixed.

  • Andy | August 17, 2020 at 10:06 am |

    I started running at around 225 lbs in a pair of thinner “speed” New Balance shoes that eventually left me with shin splints. Went to the local running store and came out with a pair of Hoka One One Clifton 6 shoes. Lots of cushion and it has a “rocker” motion to the sole that encourages you to run more on your forefoot. With the added comfort I was able to increase the pace and distance immediately. That was two years ago – with some weight loss and getting more into running and looking for speed I chose a different pair of Hoka’s – the Rincon. Definitely faster but I do miss the cushion and rocker motion of the Clifton’s. I still use the old pair every once in a while but might go back when it’s time for a new pair. I also really enjoyed trying a pair of Brooks Ghosts – super recommended beginning shoe.

  • Lindsay Resnick | August 17, 2020 at 10:12 am |

    Proofreading – “Ultraboost,” not “Ultra Bounce”

    • Phil Hecken | August 17, 2020 at 11:23 am |

      *GAH* (smacks head). Now fixed.

  • DT | August 17, 2020 at 10:25 am |

    I can’t wait for Donald to win re-election. Slow Joe did him a massive favor when he selected Heels Up Harris. She rivals Hilldawg in unlikeability.

  • art | August 17, 2020 at 10:57 am |

    For some reason, I just can’t get comfortable in super squishy running shoes. I’ve been doing most of my miles lately in Merrell Vapor Gloves. I also have a pair of Saucony Kinvaras in the rotation for when it’s cold out, but they just feel way too bulky.

  • Scott | August 17, 2020 at 11:01 am |

    Excellent running article … I found it very informative. Good job!

  • mike 2 | August 17, 2020 at 11:25 am |

    Great article and thanks for the shout-out Phil.

    I’ve been running 20 years now and its been entertaining to see the trends back and forth in shoes – from overbuilt monsters to minimal zero-drop shoes and back to highly engineered shoes.

    One more interesting thing – because this is still about aesthetics – shoes have colour now! Maybe 12 years ago, every running shoe was white. There where coloured stripes and patches, but the base colour of every shoe was white. I don’t know who started doing colourful shoes first, but I remember picking up a bright yellow pair of Nike lunar trainers and a neon orange pair of adidas, and I was just about the only guy racing in anything but white. These days, I think just about all of the shoes are brightly coloured.

    • ThatRodneyGuy | August 17, 2020 at 12:00 pm |

      To that end, some years it’s seems almost impossible to get a pair of my shoes that are not outlandishly colored, since I prefer more muted choices.

  • Patrick | August 17, 2020 at 11:32 am |

    Good info on some of the different shoe tech that’s evolving of late. I want to offer a HUGE disclaimer, though: not every shoe is for everyone. Everyone’s feet are different and various brands and models will fit each person uniquely. Getting hung up on a certain brand or model because it’s what you’ve always worn, it looks good to you, or because of it’s advertised benefits are appealing can lead to discomfort or injuries. Your best bet, no matter what level of runner you are, is to go to your local run-specialty shop to be properly fitted. And if you are specifically interested in a brand or model, they’ll be able to tell you if their a good idea for you.

    • Pedro N | August 17, 2020 at 12:10 pm |

      Do these evaluations/recommendations at run specialty shops tend to be free? I could imagine there’s some work it entails.

      • Harvey Lee | August 17, 2020 at 2:34 pm |

        The treadmill consultations are free but it is generally expected you will buy there instead of going home and ordering online. I test run a few brands every 2 years to ensure a good fit. They tweak for the sake of tweaking and the latest may not be best for you. They will watch your foot strike and ensure the shoe is a good fit. Support your local running store.

        • Patrick | August 17, 2020 at 5:30 pm |

          Agree with everyghing you said, Harvey. Shop local.

  • Pedro N | August 17, 2020 at 11:40 am |

    Does anyone know what basketball that is that Drake is holding? It almost looks like the “new NBA” from a few years ago, but the lines are less rounded.

  • Todd C | August 17, 2020 at 12:30 pm |

    so I bought a new pair of tennis shoes last night to play actual tennis in, and you can see how the designs from running are starting to creep into tennis. Generally, with the lateral movements in tennis, shoes are built differently, but the Nikes I just bought are meant to keep you on the balls of your feet. I am looking forward to playing with them.

    https://www.tennisnuts.com/images/product/full/AA8018-700_A.jpg

  • RS Rogers | August 17, 2020 at 1:44 pm |

    It feels weird to combine the concepts of “Miami Marlins” and “good-looking uniform” but hoo boy those Miami Giants throwbacks look great. Not just “better than what the Marlins normally wear,” which is a very low bar, but actively excellent. That jersey striping pattern: I honestly don’t understand why a team or two in each league doesn’t already wear that.

  • Bud Brooks | August 17, 2020 at 1:50 pm |

    So a mythical creature, the Griffin, kind-a, sort-a, maybe looks vaguely familiar as a symbol of the KKK, to a couple of people, and we have to shut it down?

    • Brent | August 17, 2020 at 2:09 pm |

      At first glance, I thought it looked like the flag of Wales. Whatever happened to just saying “No that’s not what it means?”

      • Bud | August 17, 2020 at 10:07 pm |

        Right, thank you!

  • Dan | August 17, 2020 at 2:44 pm |

    Scoreboard is from Oct 12, 1993. ALCS game at Comiskey between Sox and Blue Jays. If the Jays weren’t so stacked, esp. After getting sweetheart trades for reinforcements w HOFers, Sox would have won it all. Great team, unfortunately the next year was the strike season and then they fell off a little bit…a few seasons later was the White Flag trade. Gotta love…I mean HATE jerry reinsdorf. Cheap a$$.

  • Kek | August 17, 2020 at 3:13 pm |

    Fascinating stuff! As someone that never recreationally ran until I hit the big 4-0 (running was just what I did to get in shape for other sports), I have tried a lot of brands but never thought to give Adidas a look. Interesting. Most of my adidas sneakers fall into the line of casual/lifestyle shoes.

  • ChrisH | August 17, 2020 at 4:06 pm |

    I break out my black-with-white-stripes Asics T23EQ’s each year around this time to begin training for the one 5K race I participate in every October (I’m hopeful this year’s race won’t be cancelled). I bought them on the cheap several years ago, and they are definitely low-tech by today’s standards…after reading today’s post, I probably should upgrade.

  • ChrisH | August 17, 2020 at 6:08 pm |

    “And while I think all facemasks should be gray,…” – Phil Hecken.
    If gray is not a team color, would this re-classify the face mask as ‘equipment’ rather than part of a team’s uniform, assuming it is considered part of the uniform?
    Discuss.

  • Tax man | August 17, 2020 at 7:12 pm |

    Boffo sneaker review!

  • Mark in Shiga | August 17, 2020 at 9:00 pm |

    Crazy sighting on the Wrigley Field scoreboard earlier today: they squeezed three digits onto one panel for umpire number 101.

    They had a blank space for the third-base umpire a few days ago, so maybe they hadn’t cobbled together a three-digit panel yet.

    And looking more closely, the panel for umpire number 43 seems to have a custom condensed font, whereas those for 36 and 63 are just smaller digits.

    I also wonder why they didn’t make a custom non-serifed 1 for the umpire’s number, which would have helped it fit better. The number 1 has a special unserifed form in all other places on the scoreboard, including the 1st inning and the 1 run scored by Chicago.