As my prolonged test/review of the New Balance 101 trail shoes continues, I continue to be blown away. They are simply the best trail running shoes I have ever run in. So far what I have found is that what New Balance did was simply take away everything that was extra on their best trail running shoe and left us with only what we need to have a kick-ass run. The main thing I have noticed is that it has taken away a lot of weight. These are not only the best running shoes I have run in, they are super light as well. At first this threw me off, I am used to feeling like I am running in tanks because I was taught to be worried about hurting the soles of my feet as I step down on rocks and jump over obstacles. It could be all marketing but I was convinced that to run well on trails I had to run in super beefy trail shoes. I am so glad that is not the truth. Not only are the New Balance 101′s super light, I can also feel a ton of the terrain, even as the forefoot remains protective against the rocks. The ease and comfort I now feel with my trail runs, thanks to the 101′s, is making running super fun all over again. I feel like I’m a child playing in the mountains and in the forest, it’s amazing.
I am sorry for being an adamant doubter. I’m starting to want to say sorry to all the people I scoffd at work getting into the minimalist running shoes. I laughed and I talked shit and now I’m running in them. The minimalist shoes are where it’s at. Granted all I have run in is the New Balance 101 and I have only taken them out twice but thus far they are amazing. Super light and I mean SUPER light. Stiff but not too stiff. I am going to run a few more times then I am going to write up a proper review but seriously those shoes thus far are easily the best trail shoes I have ever run. Nothing has come cose.
At least partial success.
I tried to sleep early but to no avail. I am just a night owl. This is actually when I usually do most of my running and bike riding. I like that the streets taht were only a few hours earlier immobile with traffic are suddenly empty at night. It makes me feel free when I ride or run on them. Back to my test: I fell asleep early for me (1:00am) and woke up early for me (8:00) am. I ate a litttle baby bowl of cereal and had a banana. I went to the trail at the south side of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and ran the trail along the inside of the Arroyo Canyon to where it hits Monterey Rd right by the mini-golf course.
I’m not sure how long that is, I stopped worrying about time and distance a long time ago. I’m guessing it’s around 5 or 6 miles maybe. The trail travels through some of the most beautiful parts of Pasadena, It goes underneath some amazing bridges and along side the horse stables. There are also baseball diamonds and soccer fields along the way where I saw families out playing in the beautiful Saturday morning light. Such a great feeling to be in a city yet away from all the normal hustle and bustle.
The new shoes were incredible! I was a bit worried that there was not nearly enough for the run I wanted to do. I specifically chose this run because every mile or so there is a path that leads up out of the canyon to the road where I could turn back at essentially any time just in case the shoes didn’t agree with me. I am happy to report this did not need to happen they worked way better that I expected. Even with the minimalist approach to the shoe there was plenty of cushioning and the stiffer part of the sole on the ball of my feet really did protect me from all of the rocks. It even got to a point where I was steering toward the more rocky areas to see if they could hold up and protect over those, low and behold they did! Taking into consideration that I have never run in minimalist shoes, I have not run trails in a long time, and this was my first run in these shoes so they are no where near broken in, they were super responsive, super light, and incredibly flexible. Maybe there is something to this minimalist running idea. I’m even thinking about going out and getting a pair of the New Balance Minumus. I know that Anton Krupicka, the man who designed the shoes I ran today, the New Balance 101′s also designed the Minimus so that for me is a + taking into consideration how well the run went today. I would love for a pair of road shoes to work as well as the trail shoes did. I have, however, been looking into other shoes as well like the Zoot Ultra Speed, the Saucony Hattori, the Vibobarefoot (these I’m super curious about) and the Nike Free. I’m not sure that I am ready to go all the way to the Vibrams yet. I wear a pair of the Nike Free 3.0 pretty much every day when I work so I know just how incredibly comfortable they are, and I’m on my feet essentially 7 hours a day at work. This actially leads me to my last point…
The big question I have about the minimalist shoes: How will my legs and body feel later today and tomorrow? Are these shoes build specifically for the competitive runner who can relax and get a weekly message or two when they are not running or are they build tor the average joe like myself who is on his feet 7 out of the 8 hours of each shift at work 5 days a week. Will I be able to run in the minimalist shoes before a shift and feel good at work or will I be able to put down some realitively serious miles in the shoes after a full day’s work? The answer to this I will bring to you either tonight or tomorrow.
Until then, eat well and be well.
I got the bug.
I have always wanted to be a serious trail runner. I have tried to run trails in the past but have never put any repetition into my attempts. I would get amped, go try to run up a mountain, tell myself that I’ll do it a few times a week and then stop.
I have always wanted to be the type of trail runner why looks at the trails as some sort of a cathedral, like a place of calm and quiet. I hope for a sense of peace in waking up early in the morning to go run trails before work or school. In my head there’s a certain beauty to the idea of the juxtaposition between running trails and essentially dancing through nature one minute then participating as a productive member of society in my city life the next minute.
That is what I want.
This bug has been garmenting in me for years. A few weeks ago a friend of mine who runs trails told me about a pair of shoes he love to take running in the trails and that got me thinking that this might be the time. I went to the New Balance store and got a pair of the New Balace 101′s and decided tomorrow I am going to wake up early and run the arroyo.
Within this lies two huge hurdles for me.
1- If anyone knows me well they know that I am NOT a morning person. I stay up super late and sleep late. I have been this way ever since I was a wee lad.
2- The shoes I got, the 101′s are minimalist running shoes. I have been semi-vocal about not wanting to run in minimalist shoes. I would sat it might be for other people but I have been known to put down some pretty good miles in normal “bulky” cushioned running shoes so I couldn’t find a reason to change. I have heard all the arguments for and against all types of running shoes so I consider myself well versed in both areas. I just have not personally experienced the minimalist running shoes so I really don’t know what to expect.
Honestly I am excited for this. This could be an adventure, this could be a success, this could be change, or this could also be massive failure. We’ll see what happens. The most important thing I have been focusing on in the past few years is the possibility that what I believe may in fact be totally untrue. I’ll never know if I don’t try and see.
Wish me luck in my new endeavor and I’ll report back soon with the results.
Unreal. One day I’ll be there.