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Knees ... who'd have 'em?
Eighteen months ago, I was halfway through training for my first marathon when my the medial ligaments in my left knee gave way, several years after their siblings in my right knee had done the same on the football pitch. Over the course of a year's rehabilitation and five different physios extacting implausible amounts of pain on my poor legs, I tried to pin-point what exactly had caused the injury - naturally, I can only speculate, but excessive workload, poor stretching, too little rest and pure bad luck were all suspects.
It was also suggested that my choice of shoe might have been a factor. I'd been using a pair of Asics for the past few months, which had been fairly comfortable - however, although there was nothing wrong with the shoe, it had been chosen with only the most cursory help from the staff in Sports Soccer. It was suggested that a proper consultation with a specialist running shop would be a good idea before I eventually started running again.
A year or so after the injury, this led me to Brooks and this shoe. I'm familiar with the brand - they're not as big or brash as the major sporting names, but they do have a reputation for producing a solid, reliable line of footwear; and if you're looking at running twenty-something miles, isn't this the most important thing?
That's not to say that they're unattractive or especially old-fashioned - the aesthetics just aren't a primary concern. This particular shoe is something of an all-rounder, giving a degree of cushioning but mostly a high level of support for your feet and ankles. I have a fairly neutral running style, pronating slightly, and this seems to match my gait nicely.
The shoes have a snug fit - almost tight, but in the most comfortable way. The inside material is soft and moulds to your foot, giving you a level of support you can feel. I'm a little flat-footed, but the shoes don't feel restrictive - they hold your feet firmly in place, and I've noticed that I'm getting almost no blisters this time round. With my previous pair, I was waging an almost constant battle with the dark forces of blistering on the soles of my feet and the toes - wearing these, I've had only a few very minor issues on the tops of my toes on longer runs.
With my previous pair of running shoes, the gel-filled heel was heavily advertised - it certainly sucked me in, promising untold levels of comfort. In reality, this was something that was hugely apparent for the first few weeks, but seemed to fade after that. These shoes rely less on such gimmicks, but my tender knees have nonetheless felt pretty well cushioned - it seems that a good close fit is more important than gel cushioning for me, and these shoes deliver on that front.
They are made from a soft, breathable material which is also pretty weight - as with the cushioning, you can get shoes which are much lighter (and make sure you know about it), but these are just fine for me. Consistently, in fact, it seems like these are the perfect all-rounders - they don't sell themselves with any one key feature, but instead deliver all the most important things you need.
There are certainly more eye-catching shoes, but do you need day-glo colours to run? At around £80, these aren't the cheapest around, but a shoe that's going to do the kind of distances you'll need for a marathon is an investment - and this pair have proved well worth it.
Brooks Ravenna 3 Shoes SS12. Shoes Run - Stability. Brooks Ravenna 3 Mens Running Shoes The Brooks Ravenna 3 Mens Shoes is a combination of a nimble, low-to-the-ground profile and ample cushioning for heel- and midfoot-strikers. Even more impressive is how Brooks now scales the flexibility of t ....