Sunday, 8 January 2012

Shoes, shoes, shoes....

This is a copy of a report I posted in May of 2011 on my favourite Walking Forum at The Walking Site (http://www.thewalkingsite.com/). Wanted to post it here as well. I will also post an update on the shoes, written several months and a half marathon later as well as my new pair of Re/shods soon....

First, the caveats - my experience will likely be atypical as I have extremely messed up feet, knees, back, etc, so shoes that work for me may not work for you (I won't get into the medical issues and surgeries - too boring). Also, I have to use fairly major orthotics (yes, HAVE to: I can barely walk without them...seriously...no debate). Finding even a regular pair of athletic shoes that I can wear is a major deal. All that being said, bring on..... THE SHOES!

After long and hard searching, I had found a pair of running shoes that worked - Ryka MC2 Walk shoes, so I bought up several pairs when they were on sale (good thing, too, as they've been discontinued). Comfortable, worked with orthotics and stability issues, etc. The problem? Wide, flanged heels, working almost as a brake when getting into speed work with walking. Still, I knew I absolutely couldn't wear racing flats and couldn't yet afford a custom pair of Herseys. What's a girl to do? I came across Re/shod http://www.reshod.com/ , read some reviews and decided to try them. Somewhat cheaper than Herseys, they use your own tried-and-true upper, remove the original sole and cobble on a sole more usable for fast walking. I sent off my shoes, with a few twinges of trepidation....would the sole be too thick?...too much like those hideous toning shoes?...would they look weird? (I know -shouldn't be an issue, but ah, vanity!)...would they be flexible enough for toe-off?...work with orthotics?...you get the idea.

Let me say from the get-go that Carmen is a truly wonderful person to work with, and a woman with a vision. Her idea is truly a unique one.
The day arrived when the shoes arrived. I opened the box and the shoes looked like they were originally designed with these soles! Seamless, smooth and not jarring.
The orthotics fit in them perfectly (I knew they would as I had used the uppers beforehand). Carmen had also included a "break-in" outline, a really nice guide to racewalking  (from Jeff Salvage) and some info on books.




I wore the shoes for about 4 hours that first day (including a tempo walk on the treddie). Five minutes after I put them on, I knew these shoes were meant for me. I used them several times over the next days, trying not to overdo it (difficult because they were SO comfortable!), and making sure that I did extra strength work on my shins and calves, knowing that the lower heel would necessitate that. I really felt that my heel strike was greatly improved, adding to my speed, but hadn't really tested that yet. Several more treddie tempo walks and graduated interval sessions just reinforced what I thought. Today I did 4 miles outside with quarter mile speed bursts (in terrible weather, I might add!) and I can now confidently say that these shoes will work for me!

Now, I know they look bulky (I have to go up a size to accomodate my orthotics), but my shoes always look like that. The Reshods are actually lighter than my original shoes!

The walk left me invigorated, and that with disintegrating orthotics.

So to sum up - flats they ain't, but flats I can't use anyway. These are the racing shoes for me. Any speed I'll ever get I'm sure I'll get in these shoes. Thank you, Carmen! You are da Woman! Thus Spake Volksvegan!

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