Friday, January 30, 2015

Saucony Omni 12.

So, the month and a half off.  I had just managed to get my SI joint under control, and I went out too aggressively at a cold Thanksgiving 5K, and followed it up with a long trail run, and then gardening, and my left thigh, hip flexor, abductors, adductors, groin, everything, just told me NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE, and that was it.

I limped.  I read Kelly Starrett's Ready to Run and Jay Dicharry's Anatomy for Runners, and both are full of helpful tips for the injury-prone runner, some of which I adopted, and some of which I'll take with a grain of salt, as you'll see,

I'm feeling better now, but minimal cross-training, some lingering stiffness, and Christmas has set me back.

Nevertheless, this week starts the training program, and a few weeks back I picked up a pair of Saucony Omni 12s on clearance.  This is a monster of a stability shoe, but it has several features I like a lot.

First, they're a sharp-looking shoe. Not the most important feature, but still -- they look good.
Mine are in the teal colorway, but with 50 miles on them including one very muddy trail run, they're not quite as pretty as the stock photo!

Saucony a while back decided that all of their main shoes would be 8mm drop, and I really like this feature.  It is noticeable compared to my other standby, the ASICS Kayano, which has a ~13mm drop, but it doesn't feel wrong; I just notice my calf muscles working a bit more.  That's good, for me, because a lower drop means my hip has to do a bit less work to stabilize my foot. 

The heel doesn't flare much at all, which I also appreciate.  It feels sleeker.

The feature I really appreciate, however, is this:
The shoe is very straight, and the last is very stable.  After a decent amount of trial and error, I've figured out that one of my problems is that due to bunions, I have very little ability to stabilize my left foot with my toes, so a softer shoe, or one that curves leaves me with little leverage.

Now, straight lasts mean heavy motion control shoes, right?  Here's the thing -- the Omnis are really light, and their ride reminds me of their Mirage, which I love (except for its durability.)  So, it's a good shoe, I think, for someone like me who likes the idea of a more minimal shoe with a lower offset but doesn't yet have the strength to pull it off.

And that gets me to my last point.  Starrett recommends flat shoes for runners, and working toward them.  I'd wear a flat shoe if there was a stability model, but there's not, and while I completely believe that the right thing to do is work on my hip stability, the thing is, my poor hip needs all the help it can get.  Sometimes I think minimalist movement forgets that the shoe is supposed to fit the runner, not the other way around, and that the shoe is one tool the runner has among many.

The Omni rides a bit firm.  I prefer this -- it's easier for me to control a firmer shoe -- but I also suspect that it's designed for a heavier runner (which makes sense, given the demographics on who is likely to need a motion control shoe.)  I don't feel like I sink into the cushioning at all, and it rides high.  

Mostly, though, I'm just happy to finish a longer run without my hip instantly clenching, and these shoes just may be a winner....

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