The Running Shoes That Convinced Me to Break Up With My Old-but-Beloved Pair
And thank goodness I did, because I could have seriously injured myself.
We all know at least one fervent runner that lives to switch up their sneakers. The feeblest evidence of wear and tear, a too-firm toe box, or a slightly run-down sole and they’re on to the next pair of shoes.
I am not this type of runner. Avid, yes, but I am exceedingly attached to one particularly precious pair of running shoes: my Brooks that I’ve had for at least (don’t judge me) two and a half years.
Any serious runner will tell you that this is impractical and downright unsafe, and they’ll be right. Experts recommend that runners replace their sneakers every 500 to 750 kilometers, which comes out to around every 300 to 470 miles. Studies have shown that holding on to shoes too long can negatively impact your posture and gait, which can result in injury. “When a shoe is overused and air cells collapse or thickness of the EVA [ethylene vinyl acetate, the type of foam in the midsole of most running sneakers] is reduced, shock absorption capacity may be affected, and this may contribute to running injuries,” says another study.
I run typically somewhere in the 20 miles per week range, which means I should have swapped out my beloved Brooks four to six months after I purchased them. Read: I’ve been running in them about two years too long. Also worth mentioning: Brooks actually recommends swapping out some of its lines of sneakers every 250 to 300 miles. Oof. As if all of this wasn’t evidence enough I needed new shoes, there was a growing gaping hole where my right toe hit the mesh toe box, my feet felt sore after every run, and the treads were completely worn down. Clearly, something had to be done.
I’d heard many rave reviews about a new Swiss-based running brand, On, and started spotting the sleek sneakers all over the parks and running paths of New York City. In my mind, practical running shoes that provide plenty of support and can withstand long distances had to be thick-soled, bulky, and resemble something my dad wore in the ‘80s. This is exactly what drew me to On: the sneakers are designed to be lightweight and clunk-free without compromising support or cushioning.
I opted for On’s Cloud X line, which is meant for all of the above: daily wear, cross-training, workout classes, and road runners. They come with the brand’s classic Cloudtec sole, designed to help propel your body forward with every stride while maintaining your stability (btw, the foam used to engineer it weighs almost nothing). The knit-woven upper is light and breathable without feeling the slightest bit flimsy, too.
I’m pleased to report that I have fully conquered my fears of new running shoes. My ancient sneakers and I ended on great terms; we both knew it was time for us to break up. Thanks to On’s ergonomic cushioning and superior shock absorption, I finally feel supported and springy in my sneakers again—a feeling I had forgotten about (no shade to you, baby Brooks).
I can certainly say these are the most comfortable running shoes I’ve ever worn. I’m just trying not to get overly attached, because I only have about 200 more miles to go before I start over again. Motivation much?