Shoes: January 2023 Edition

It's been well over a year since I last wrote about shoes, which we all know are everybody's favourite topic. So I thought I'd take some time out here in early 2023 to discuss what I'm wearing, what I'm not wearing, and what I'm excited about trying this year.

So here are six shoes that are on my mind.

What I'm Wearing

Race Day: Nike Alphafly

Nike Alphafly

Nike's sub-2 marathon shoe has been my go-to race day shoe since I came back from ankle surgery in 2021, and it still sits well on top of the pyramid.

I'm not a Nike Truther - I've tried premium race shoes from Adidas, Saucony, New Balance and Brooks ... and none of them come close to the Alphafly for me. For example, last week I wore my first pair of Alphaflys to a track workout, and promptly set new best marks for 1 km and 1 mile. It's worth noting that I run similar workouts with the same group on the same track every week. In one of the supershoes mentioned above (or my Nike Vaporflys). And last week, the track was a bit icy due to a cold spell we were having in London.

Whatever else is going on, as of January 2023, Nike is still top of the pyramid with a shoe that was released in 2020.

Not a Race Day: New Balance 1080

Whenever I run a marathon major, I buy the shoe.

I have the Berlin 2019 edition of the Adidas Adios, the Boston 2022 edition of the Adidas Boston. And the London 2021 edition of the New Balance 1080v11.

The 1080 is a popular shoe, I figured I'd be happy plodding around on easy days with it. But this shoe is so much better than I had anticipated. It's now my favourite shoe of all time, and the one getting most of my training miles.

On their way out

Adidas Adios Pro

Very dirty Adios Pro

A much too firm road racing shoe, my Adidas Adios Pro 2 have their days numbered.

I originally bought these because:

  1. I generally find Adidas more comfortable than Nike
  2. Runners seem to be putting up similar paces in Adidas as in Nikes
  3. I had a 25% off discount for a pair of Adidas shoes

But from my first race in them (a 15k), I could tell that they were just too firm for me - they've now become my parkrun shoe. And even then, I don't like them if I'm going to run to and from parkrun (making a 15k+ morning for me, total).

New Balance Fresh Foam More

You'll recall how the NB 1080s came into my shoe collection - the London Marathon.

The Fresh Foam More are their New York cousins, in that respect. On seeing them and trying them on, I thought they were the bees knees. I love the 1080s so much, what could go wrong with a plusher, softer (and heavier) version of the same shoe? And the NY Marathon colourway looked fantastic.

Well, what goes wrong is that I often run more than 3 km at once.

The NB FF More are absolute dreams for the first mile or two, particularly when your legs are beat up from a high training load ... but then I start getting hot spots. By 8 km, the shoes are just downright uncomfortable, and I'm simply looking forward to the run ending.

It's at a point now - with less than 50 km on the shoes - that I can't imagine reaching for them ahead of the 1080s.

Luckily they look good, so they'll get a fresh life with a pair of jeans.

Which Shoes are Next?

Saucony Endorphin Elite

Earlier on, you may have asked: Toppy, if the Alphafly work for you so well, why have you tried so many other supershoes?

The answer is because I don't find Nike shoes very comfortable. I run faster in them, without getting blisters or injuries, so they're my go-to race shoes ... but I find most other brands have more comfortable shoes. And comfort counts. What I'm looking for is a shoe that's as fast as an Alphafly, but as comfortable as the offerings from Saucony or New Balance.

And Saucony has a new shoe. All the promo pics show it in "slime green", but I'm hoping other options (such as the one pictured here) are available. If not, Slime Green it will be.

I've yet to run in a Saucony shoe I didn't enjoy - while my "go to shoes" don't include a Saucony at the moment, I've loved every pair I've ever owned. From wearing Rides when I first got into running, to the Endorphin Shift that got me through a ton of post-injury miles, to the Kinvara (my most-used shoe) and the Peregrine (my most-used trail shoe) ... I've enjoyed every mile I've ever run in a Saucony.

So when I started reading accounts that the Saucony Elite was measuring up to Nike's supershoe offerings, it became clear that it was going to get a chance to prove itself on my feet.

Launch day is soon, and I'm excited for it.

Super Spikes

Dragonfly? Air Zoom Victory?

A non-Nike option? Everybody says they've got the best spikes, but the chatter still seems to be all-Nike in the distance track world.

In any case, as part of my "lower mileage, faster times" first half of 2023, I intend to include a few track races - at least one 1500m, and at least one 5000m. Which means strapping some spikes on my feet.

But which spikes? If you have any opinions, leave 'em in the comments ...

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