I have raced most of my half marathons and both marathons in Asics Gel Nimbus 14’s. Of course the 14’s are three models back in Nimbus history, but when I tried to move to the 15’s the shoes had changed shape so much they no longer fit me properly. As a result I never even tried the 16’s and instead opted to keep ordering the 14’s online.
This winter I have done much of my running in Salomon trail shoes and was amazed not only at the traction they offer but how light they are. Lately, I have gone back to my Asics, knowing that I would not be using the Salomons with their serious treads for the Prague Half Marathon. I didn’t realize though that I had become accustomed to the light weight and flexibility of my trail shoes. Suddenly my Nimbus shoes felt a little stiff and bulky. They are still comfortable shoes, but I started dreaming of something lighter.
I have a pair of Asic Gel Lytes that I have used for a couple of 8k and10k races. I have always loved them but unfortunately bought them about a half size too small. They are just tight enough that I have never gone past 10k in them, nor have I used them regularly for training, for fear they might become uncomfortable. I have tried for a while to get another pair but they seem hard to come by around here and with the new models out now I didn’t want to go through the hassle of buying them online only to find they didn’t fit properly.
When it comes to brands outside of Salomon and Asics, I have had little luck. I’ve tried Brooks, New Balance and Mizuno, but nothing has given me the comfortable fit I was looking for. Nike was a brand I had yet to try. After reading Karla Bruning’s review over at RunKarlaRun of the new Nike Tempos, I decided I should head to a local sports store and try them on.
The salesperson actually gave me two other Nike shoes to try first, saying they would be better for distance. He seemed to be of the opinion that only heavier, more structured shoes could be used beyond the 10k race. One style of Nike didn’t fit at all, the other was o.k but little more. Then I tried the Tempos. First of all I was impressed with how incredibly light these shoes are. Compared to the Nimbus these shoes feel like they are made of air. I’m pretty sure my summer sandals weigh more than these shoes. Somehow though this shoe still has comfortable cushioning, easing my worries that I would feel like I was running barefoot – a movement I have had no interest in joining. The upper hugs my foot perfectly, I am guessing this is due to a combination of the lacing style and the flexible, lightweight mesh. But of course it is rare to find the “perfect” shoe and I found the toe box felt a little tight at first, even with me going up a half size.
Knowing that I loved the feel of the shoe, but slightly concerned about the toe box, I decided to buy a pair and try them out on a treadmill. I will say having these new shoes in my gym bag actually made me feel a little excited about a treadmill run, an unusual feeling for me. I tested them for 6.5k at various paces and I knew by the end that the Tempos would become my 5 to 10k racing shoes, even if I decided against them for the half marathon distance. I was also reminded once again how much I hate the treadmill, even flashy new shoes could only keep me keen for so long.
Yesterday I took my Tempos out for a run on pavement and they didn’t disappoint. The only downside – these lightweight, airy shoes are definitely not made for -20 C! Even when wearing my wool socks I was feeling a bit of a breeze on my feet! Of course I anticipated this when I went out, but knew that if I waited until the temperature went above 0 I could be waiting until April, so out I went. My plan was to run at a tempo pace, which according to my Running Room book would be around 5:40 min/km. Being honest, I have not actually been doing official tempo runs, just hills, steady runs and long slow runs, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I ended up running 6 km at a comfortable 5:28, which would be my race pace if I wanted a 1:55 half marathon – which I do but am not anticipating that time in Prague. Whether my faster than anticipated pace was due to recent hill and interval work, the cold temperature that made me want to keep moving, or these light as air shoes, I guess I will never know, but it was a good run.
The last test left? My long slow run this weekend. I am planning to run 18 to 20 km tomorrow so I will have a chance to see how these shoes feel when going the distance. I am very hopeful that they will rise to the challenge, as I would love to wear them in Prague.
Of course we all know that the function of the shoe is the most important factor when choosing a pair of runners to race and train in. But I think most of us agree that it is pretty nice when the shoes we pick come in a colour we like. I love the neon yellow, or “Volt” colour of these simply styled shoes. And if my Tempos work, out I have to admit I already have my eye on this colour too:
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