Wednesday 15th August 2012

Today I went to my local running store with a rucksack on my back containing around 7000 miles’ worth of used trainers. The store has a collection bin for old running shoes which are then recycled or sent to other countries so that they can be re-used, and I took the opportunity presented by not being at work to have a clear out.

Although it was hard to part with shoes that had provided many happy running memories it is probably a good idea to get rid of old pairs. Hoarding is not a habit I want to get into at only 25 years old; I’m also well aware that running shoes hardly smell like roses and I value having an odour-free shoe cupboard. Here are some of the shoes I got rid of and their stories.

Shoe Number 1: Asics DS Trainer 16

These were bought last November because two of my mates had them and because they were red. I’m not joking. As it turned out, as well as being the most stylish trainer available they are surprisingly good for running in too.  They are a lightweight pair of trainers that could even double up as racing shoes if needed, but are supportive enough for every day running. They are unquestionably the best trainers I’ve ever had. A few months ago I replaced them with the latest model, the DS trainer 17, assuming they would be exactly the same as their predecessors (runners are creatures of habit). Unfortunately these lacked the lightweight feel of the 16s and felt heavy around the heel. I emailed Asics to ask if this was the case or whether I was just imagining it. They told me there was extra cushioning in the heel. No wonder I didn’t like them as much. And they’re not red. The bastards.

Shoe Number 2: Asics Gel Hyperspeed 3

These beauties date back to October 2009 and are the first pair of racing flats I ever owned. Unfortunately at the time I didn’t realise they also came in red. Despite this they are an excellent pair of flats. As you can see from the picture, they have small square holes cut out of the sole to shave an extra few grams off the weight of the shoe and as a result are very very light indeed.
The first time I wore them was for the Coventry Half Marathon which took place the day after a cross country race I had taken part in. Despite having hammered myself in the mud the previous day I set a personal best time, which tells me two things. The first is that I was clearly on an upwards curve at the time and that that kind of thing would never happen these days. PBs are few and far between now and I have to work much harder for each second now. The second is that racing in new shoes buys you time like nothing else; the first run in a new pair is always the easiest.

Shoe Number 3: Brooks Green Silence

Just to prove that I’m not solely as Asics man, here is a pair of running shoes from Brooks, not to be confused with the legendary Dunlop Green Flash shoes. I first set eyes upon these at the 2010 London Marathon Expo and asked for them as a birthday present the following month. Their unique selling point is that they are biodegradable and made out of recycled materials. And they look awesome in asymetric red and yellow. These are primarily lightweight racing flats but I found them supportive enough for track sessions and tempo runs. These served me very well until recently when their biodegradable properties came to the fore, and I found a split down the side. They have now been replaced with exactly the same shoe again (I told you we’re creatures of habit) and despite Brooks now offering a vast range of colours, I plumped for the original red and yellow.

Shoe Number 4: Asics GT 2150

I liked this shoe so much that I bought it 3 or 4 times in a row. Slightly cheaper than the DS trainer, it was the shoe I first bought when I was a student and it is very good value for money.  The 2150 (I think they’re on to 2170 now) is a solid, reliable cushioned trainer that enabled me to build up my mileage to the 70-80 per week range without getting injured too often. Now I’m used to it I can get away with a lighter trainer but this one served me very well.
I wish these shoes well in their retirement.

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