What I’ve Learned From My Running Shoes

Hi everyone!  As you may be aware, I bought some fabulous new running shoes (ASICS Gel-Kayano 21s) a few weeks ago and have been in love with them ever since.  They’re beautiful, comfy, and even came in one of my favorite colors.  They’re the perfect shoe package!

But the real win is that they help me run long distances.  They’re literally the reason I’m able to do the sport that I love.  Without them, who knows what I’d be doing with my life?  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that all of my running shoes – even the very first pair – were pretty amazing, life-changing shoes.  And they’ve taught me a lot over the last few years:

what i learned from my running shoes

My first pair of running shoes ever were some Under Armour sneakers that I’d bought at TJ Maxx in college.  I wore them while training for my first 5k because I didn’t realize that the shoes you wear while training actually matter.  A lot.  Despite the fact that they were probably totally wrong for me, these shoes are what started it all!  Without them I’d never have taken that first running step.  They got me through all of my very first workouts – each late afternoon run in the summer of 2012 in Ridley Creek State Park where I was secretly contemplating running a 5k for the first time in my life.  And in September, I finally did it!


For a while I thought this was the only picture of these shoes that I even had – back then I didn’t blog or have Instagram, so there was no reason for me to take pictures of my shoes unless I was wearing them in a race!  But while looking through old pictures I discovered that they made a encore appearance at the Dirty Girl Mud Run in 2013.  After the race, I donated them to the race staff to be cleaned and sent to women in need.  Hopefully some of their awesome magic running power rubbed off on the new owner!

About to ditch the shoes after a super dirty race

What I learned:  Yes, I can run!  And that one pair of shoes can change your life.

My second pair of shoes were also random shoes that I wasn’t fitted for.  I bought them at Kohls because they were on sale and pink (note: not the best reasons to buy running shoes).  I wore these shoes through my first winter of running, which included a jump from the 5k distance to the 5 miler.  I also wore these for my very first 10k!  It was the Hershey 10k which was the first race where I felt like  “real” runner – there were crowds of people cheering me on, lots of other runners, and even a medal at the end!


What I learned: These shoes made me realize that I love to run.  It also made me realize that I needed to get fitted for real running shoes since I could tell I was going to be running for a long time!

And that’s where my Mizuno Wave Inspire 9s come in!  They were crazy bright and beautiful, and most importantly they finally gave me the stability that my feet needed to run faster and farther.  I ran a lot of races in these – namely my fastest 5k and my first two half marathons!  They were the most comfortable and amazing shoes I’ve ever worn, and they were capable of getting me over finish lines that I never thought I’d cross.

IMG_1885Rocking my Mizunos at the Corn to Run 5k in Delaware – my current PR

In fact, I was so desperate to keep them around that I even got them studded and wore them last winter!  But they’re officially retired now and I miss them a lot.  Mizuno, bring these back please!


What I learned:  That I’m capable of anything I set my mind to, especially if I’m wearing good shoes that actually fit!

After my trusty Mizunos started to get high up there in milage, I got fitted at another running store and was placed in Adidas Supernova Glide Boost 6s.  They were neutral colors and I liked that a lot…but what I didn’t realize was that they were also neutral shoes!  I wore these during my first summer in Alaska and ran two half marathons in them, but ultimately they messed up my hip and caused a huge injury earlier this year and I got them out of my life so fast.


What I learned: make sure that you’re getting a shoe that fits your foot or injuries will happen.

After lots of tears, x-rays, and an MRI, I found out that my hip was going to be okay.  And that I need to stick to cushy stability shoes.  Skinny Raven here in Alaska fitted me in ASICS Kayanos, and I haven’t looked back.  These shoes have taken me through 2 half marathons – most notably through Zion Canyon in Utah – and over 300 miles on treadmills, in GOTR practice, on tracks, up hills, on trails, and across lots of finish lines.  And I loved every single mile.


What I learned:  You’ll be surprised where a good pair of running shoes can take you in this world!

Now that I’ve got a new pair of shoes, I’ve got to wonder what they’ll teach me.  They’ve already taught me a few things at Ragnar: that running at high altitude is no joke, but that no matter how tired you are you can run one more mile.  I’m excited to see where the next 300 miles in these shoes takes me!

Do you remember your first pair of shoes?  What did you learn while wearing them?  How many pairs of running shoes do you currently own?

9 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned From My Running Shoes

  1. My first pair was probably a $5 clearance find at Target, haha. I figured out quickly that I needed REAL running shoes. My very favorite pair was the Asics Gel 3030. They don’t make them anymore (I had 3 PAIRS when they were in rotation!) but I need to find whatever the updated version of them is.

    1. I hope you can find them! I feel like when I find a good pair I need to stock up because you know they’re going to change whatever the next version is.

  2. I’ve still never been fitted for a pair of shoes, but I’m still more the 5K runner. I have some Altra shoes right now that I LOVE! Not sure if they’re right for me, but they sure made a difference after running in my Reebok Ones, which I thought I loved. Sketchers were always my favorite, until I started running in them… The shoes I first started running in were those awful Sketchers tone-ups – ugh!

    I’ve learned a lot from my shoes too, but I definitely have a long way to go. Maybe I’ll even get fitted for a new pair next Spring…

    Loved this post!!

    1. Thanks! You should definitely get fitted before your next ones – it’s super simple and fast, and then you have a better idea of what shoes you can buy that won’t ruin your feet. I even had my husband do it a few weeks ago, and he doesn’t run (but is thinking about starting soon)!

  3. Oh my gosh loved this! Your first pair made me think of Cinderella – that a pair of shoes (or maybe one shoe 😉 ) can change your life.
    Of the different shoe brands and styles I’ve worn, I’ve stuck with pairs through at least a couple of upgrades, but all shoes have reminded me of that I’m always capable of more than I think, and all have fond memories when it comes time to retire them. My favorite thing to do is think back to my best/most fun race in each pair before I pass say goodbye to them 🙂

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