On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shoe Review: the new Karhus

It's not very fair to offer a review of these shoes as I've barely put 20 miles on them.  But, here we go!  I'll keep it limited - just like my experience with them.

The superficial and unimportant: They're green!  I love the color.  I think they make my feet look big, though.  Also, they are a little loose around the heel, but using the extra eyelets with a heel lock lacing pattern, that's not an issue.

The more important (the fit):  So...  the intriguing forward fulcrum.  First of all, it did not radically alter my footstrike.  I am a heel striker, in or out of these shoes.  It did rock me forward, almost imperceptibly.  After about half a mile, I got into a groove and they felt really neat - sorry for my inability to articulate this, but it was almost like I was floating.  I would land on my heels but then be immediately pushed off onto my toes and onto the next stride.  I made a mistake, wearing them for their first outside run on city streets with lots of stop and go.  Almost as soon as I would get into a groove of floating, I'd have to stop for a  distracted bike messenger or a stoplight.

Also, they are NOT in the barefoot vein, either.  There was one point during the 5k when I was nearing exhaustion and I thought to myself, "My feet are doing no work."  The shoe was propelling me forward and my foot muscles were barely engaging.  Again, hard to explain, but this felt like a good thing (at the time).

I'm not sure how they'll work in the long term, and with even a hint of knee pain still lingering, I'm not keen to stick with a shoe that might not be a good fit.  In the short term?  I'm curious to keep trying them.  My Asics felt heavy in comparison when I went back to them.

The unexpected:  I noticed something unusual while wearing them, something I'm going to pay attention to.  It seems that when I run my right foot points out at a slight angle.  I'm duck-footed.  It's subtle; I'm not surprised that no one's every pointed it out after a gait analysis in a running store.  I'd never noticed this before, and honestly I may never have noticed it at all if my shoes weren't attention-getting green.  But it makes me wonder: could this be related to my (right) knee pain?

PS: Because, as we've already established, I'm addicted to the Times, here's a sad article for you: the obituary for Alan Sillitoe, author of "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner."

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