Old Running Shoes – New Uses?

Last month I did a post on You have how many pair of running shoes? and found that I had 10 pairs of old running shoes.

After reading some of the comments that were left on this blog, Twitter and Google +, they lead me to re-consider how many pair of shoes that I need to keep. I went back through my running shoe collection and I now have 3 pair of trainers and 2 pair of racing flats and that is it. The rest have put in the give-away pile.

My question to you

Do you have shoes with very few miles on them, just sitting under your dresser or in a closet that didn’t work for your running style when you got them. However, as your running style has evolved, could you pull them out and have them be a shoe you could add to your running rotation now?

I did

One of the shoes that I kept – initially I was not going to. They were going to go into the give-away pile, because I never wore them much after I got them.  They made my calves and achilles tendons hurt, so they languished under the dresser.

However, I got to thinking about them more. I have researched and am working on ways to improve my running form a great deal over the last month. The main point of this change is to run with my feet straight and to land more towards the ball of my foot.

But they hurt

As part of my research I have learned is that part of the problem with switching to a more forefoot running/barefoot/minimalist style is that your calves, achilles and other muscles/tendons hurt if you attempt to do too much too quickly. You have to give yourself a transition period to accommodate the changes.

Earth Shoe Rockets

Look at the green marker under the heel to raise them up level

That is exactly why the Earth Shoe Rockets bothered me so much, when I initially ran in them and I didn’t give them that transition time.

If you don’t give your body time to adjust, your calves and achilles tendons will kill you!

Been there done that with these shoes – that is why I gave up on them.

Now that I have a lot more knowledge of the “why” they bothered me, it is time to give them another shot.

So I got them out and ran in them for the first time in forever yesterday. I only ran 0.8 mile in them and knew that if I ran more that I would be sore, so I stopped and changed back to my regular running shoes (getting smarter – maybe). They did help me run on my forefoot and stand tall and made a difference when I switched back to my Peregrines, I had good form and posture memory to work from.

I plan to wear the Rockets for my short dog walks and to run my 0.8 course daily for a week or so before running in my regular run, to get more used to them more. Then if they are not bothering me start to use them in my shoe rotation for shorter runs to help me keep up my form.

Update on this experiment 1/5/12. Due to the Earth Shoe Rockets being so stiff, they started to bother my right foot Plantar – I discontinued using them and they are now in the give-away pile. Not the way I expected this experiment to end, but instead of pushing through and getting full-blown case of Plantar Faciitis, I listened to my body and hopefully stopped before it got too inflamed.

The reality is

this while this may not be the perfect way to get into a more minimalist shoe.

However, it is one way of using the tools that I already own, to help me improve my form and strengthen my calves, achilles tendons and other muscles that are used when using a forefoot strike running form, which the Earth Shoe Rockets definitely promote.

As much as I want to go out and buy a pair of Vibram Five Fingers or Altras, they simply are not in the budget now. This looks like a win-win situation for me, so I am going with it.

No this is not an endorsement of the Earth Shoe Rocket as a Running Shoe. The Rockets are a decent running shoe, but they are not for everyone.  They take a lot of getting used to and most runners will not have the patience to go through the transition process.

What is this post about then

This post is more about using a pair of shoes that I already own, that were not being used and now I have found a use for.

More Questions for You

Are you thinking about changing your running style or moving to a more minimalist running shoe. Before going out and spending lots of money on new shoes, do you have a pair of slightly used shoes that if you look at them from a different perspective you could use them – before going out and spending a lot of money on new shoes?

Like a pair of racing flats that don’t have a lot  of miles on them, but are rather similar to some of today’s “minimalist” shoes.  Could you run in those for a while to see if minimalist shoes are the direction you want to go or not.

Are you considering changing your form and do you have an old pair of shoes that promote running with your forefoot hiding somewhere in your closet or under the dresser like I did?

Look around you may be surprised by what you find lying around your house that can be used and save yourself some money at the same time – I was.

However, if you have a lot of money to burn or just want to have new shoes please go ahead get them, hopefully they will work better than something you might already have lying around the house.

Come to think of it, if you have a lot of extra cash around the house, I really, really want to try out a pair of Vibram Five Fingers or Altra’s, you could always help support my running habits ;-).

Give them away

However, if you have a lot of old shoes that are still in decent shape and you will not ever be using them again, really think about giving them away or re-purposing them. Instead of letting them languish in your closet, give them away to others or service agencies, who can put them to good use. Which is better than them just being dust collectors or taking up space in our homes.

One site to contact would be One World Running, Give Your Sole, the local Goodwill Industries or Salvation Army Stores and there are many others in your area and don’t forget some in your family that have growing children that might love some of your old shoes.

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