Saturday, May 28, 2011

First run in the Saucony Hattori's

The Hattori's are a simple solution
Yesterday's run (Central Park): 3 miles
Today's run (street): 5.15 miles

Occam's Razor promotes the principle that we should tend towards simpler theories. William of Okham probably wasn't thinking about running shoes back in the 14th century but the idea still holds. This morning I went for my first run wearing the new Saucony Hattori's and the experience made me really question why running shoes (even some "minimalist shoes) need so much material, cushioning and height. The Hattori is so simple but it lacks nothing.

I put the Hattori's on over my thinnest pair of running socks and wished I had socks that were even thinner. If I were more comfortable running without socks I would have done that. With socks, the fit was tight, even though the shoes were my size - 10.5. But tight in this case means snug. The flexible upper stretches like a SPIbelt so there was no consequence to my toes even though I ran in them for five miles.

Another thought that kept recurring as I ran was the idea of proprioception, an awareness and connection to the ground. Although the Kinvaras are a minimal style shoe, they stand more than 20 mm off the ground and have a difference of about 6 mm between heel and front. The Hattori sits your foot just 4 mm from the ground with zero drop and you notice that right away as you take your first strides. You can really feel the ground so you better be striking forward, lest you land on a piece of gravel on your heel. That will teach you. It's not hard to land forward though, this shoe does that work for you.

I was somewhat concerned that a shoe that offered no real protection and little cushioning would take a toll on me after even five miles but I had no troubles during or afterward. I have been running in the Kinvaras for over a year so perhaps I was already conditioned to a more minimal experience. I loved the feel of these shoes from the first steps off my driveway. I felt like my running was easier than normal throughout my workout.

Yesterday I ran in Central Park with my friend Steve and I wore my Kinvaras. It was sunny, hot and humid and we only covered three miles but it felt far harder than the five miles today. I cannot wait for my next run in the Hattori's but I'll need to get some new socks. Did someone say REI?

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