Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Running Sandals

I got my Bite Running Sandals yesterday. I decided to try them out this morning on my eight mile run. Here's my review:

I had a hard time deciding which size to buy. I wear a 39 narrow in Birkenstocks, a 39 to 40 narrow in Dansko and a men's size 8 in running shoes. I don't wear anything else. After looking at a few sizing charts, and reading that the sandals run big, I decided to order a women's 8. That's pretty much a straight across size from the Birks. There weren't any width options given.

When the sandals came yesterday, I tried them on and felt a little concerned about the fit on my left foot. It was very snug across the toe box area - where the cuff is. I fiddled with the size adjustment straps, I stretched it out by pulling on it, and finally, I had Eric (wide feet) put them on and run around the block in them (hoping it would stretch a little more, besides, he was dying to try them, and no, we don't wear the same size, they were definitely not a good fit for him.) The right foot, of course, fit perfectly. They seemed to feel a little better after all that. I wore them around the house for a while, and on a short walk with the dog, and tried jogging up and down the street out front to see how they'd feel.

Still feeling a little nervous, I wore them out the door this morning, but put my regular running shoes on the front porch. I thought I'd see how they felt for about three miles, and then maybe I'd swing by the house and change into the shoes. They felt good walking to my start point, then felt strange but okay, when I started running. The fit was good, no slipping and sliding. I wore my toe-socks with them, but it still felt weird having the forefoot exposed. The biggest thing I noticed was that they are not cushy at all - they feel hard when you land. I could hear them more than I hear my shoes too - my steps were louder. I especially noticed the difference in feel when I was running down hill, but I really liked the way they felt going up hill. The other thing I noticed is that they didn't seem to "grip" the road the same way my shoes do.

It seemed like it took a long time to warm up today - probably more a function of running after the marathon than of the shoe. A couple of other things about today - it was cold, 40 degrees and I was wearing my winter stuff for the first time, and I was running alone. I think that made me notice everything a bit more than I would if I had company. Not only did I notice that my steps were loud, but I also noticed the swishing sound my running vest makes. I also noticed every ache and pain - which are easier to ignore with company!

I started to feel pretty good about four miles into the run. I was feeling a little funny right in the area where my left foot is developing a bunion - just a little pressure. I debated going back to the house and thought, nah, I'll just keep going. That bit of pressure didn't take long to turn into the bite of a blister. I kept thinking, only another half hour, now 20 minutes, now just a mile. Needless to say, when I pulled off the sandal, I had a bloody mess on top of my foot. Other than that little detail, I think they are pretty good. I felt okay wearing them for the first time in an 8 mile run, except for missing the cushioning. Also, my feet weren't cold at all. I would give them an overall rating of satisfactory, with the option of changing my opinion after I spend more time in them. For now, I think I will alternate them with my shoes - wearing the shoes for the longer runs, and the sandals for five-six miles or less. Seems like that will give my toes a break a few days a week.

Eric and Jenny discussed modifying my shoes the other day - cutting a slit or opening them up in the toe area. I think I'll have Eric give it a try on one of my older pairs and see if it makes a difference. Also, when we were at the Portland Expo, we talked to a Brooks rep we know that used to work in one of the local running stores. She gave me a specific name and store to visit to get some help with fitting. It's out of town a ways, but I'll probably give that a try too.

The other thing I'm considering is sending the sandals back and trying a men's version, which I assume will be a little wider in the cuff. I'm unsure about that because the right foot seems like a perfect fit. It's funny, all my problems crop up on my left side - left ITB, which aggravates left knee. Sometimes a bit of tendonitis on my left inside calf. Bunion on my left foot. The worst blisters are on my left foot, though my right foot does share that problem. Wonder what that means? Maybe I'm unbalanced!

Last two weeks of running:
Sunday: marathon
Monday-Thursday am: nothing, nada, zippo
Thursday pm: 3 miles
Friday: Pilates, no running
Saturday: 6.2 miles
Sunday: 5 miles
Monday: Pilates, no running
Tuesday: 8 miles

Thanks for stopping in! I've fallen way behind in my reading again, but will try to get back at it soon.


Wes said...

Great report on the sandals. I'll definitely wait to get the definitive verdict before deciding if I want some or not, probably will be next spring. Sounds to me like you are always left, which is just as good as being always right, unless always right is wrong, in which case being left is better :-)

Jenny said...

Oh no, Michelle, Wes Is as directionally challenged or unbalanced :) as you! Anyway, I had to run on the indoor trrack at the Y today due to having the kiddos with me. I could only stand 6 miles. I, too, had a difficult time starting out. Very sluggish and heavy legs. It felt better after about 4 miles though. Great to hear you got the sandals, sorry for the new blister! Hiope rest of the week goes well! I took a spin class yesterday and will tomorrow as well. Gotta mix it up this week as Paul is super busy with golf and I have a hard time with all those miles on the indoor track.

Annette said...

I can totally relate to your left side maladies. All my issues are on my left side as well. Currently it's my left hip - ugh!

I don't think I'm up for the sandals, but it sounds like you're being very adventerous! :)

Sarah said...

All my problems have always been on the right side, with the one exception that my current ITBS is on the left. Go figure.

Fit aside, I wonder if the sandals are more for the trails? I'm not sure I could get used to running in sandals.

Have you tried varying your lacing? When I had a near infected blister on the inner side of my forefoot, I re-laced skipping the first few sets of lace holes. It made a tremendous difference.

And one last comment...a couple at this year's North Olympic Discovery Marathon ran in their Crocs!

olga said...

That's how I felt - they are hard. I thought it just me.
I think man's version is more narrow.

JustRun said...

How brave of you to try the sandal. I couldn't give up the cushioning of my shoe long enough to try though.

Robb said...

Does your left arm drag when you walk?

Okay, I couldn't resist!! That's what my hero Rob would say, right?

Seriously, it is odd that you have this trouble with your left side. I do know that we all have one leg longer than the other - maybe this has something to do with it.

Take care of your toes.

D said...

Good review on the sandals. I'll be sticking to my trusty dusty running shoes! Nice job running considering you just did a marathon!

robtherunner said...

You're already out running me after the marathon. And now you're doing it in sandals. Pretty soon you will be running barefoot.

Thanks for the run this morning.

runliarun said...

Hey, you were supposed to take care of your little feet, not subject them to blisters on blisters...

Nicole said...

Maybe call the company and discuss what would be the best size for you - sometimes they will give you two different sizes to fit the each foot right if you ask.

Joe said...

You are doing way better than me or Rob, post-marathon, Michelle...way to go!!

Thanks for being the guinea pig on the sandals!!

I just got in from my first run in tights since March...ugh, winter is coming...we need to encourage each other!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I have a few friends with the biking sandals but was interested in the running. I am not much of an experimenter.

Ryan said...

Back out on the roads and wearing sandals to boot...I love it =)

Sarah Elaine said...

Running sandals, eh? They sound cool. (Excuse the pun!) Yeah... I bet I could wear those for about 2 days a year in Calgary...

And by the way, you crack me up... Since when is 40 degrees F *cold*?! ;-)

Dori said...

I'm impressed you can put in that kind of mileage so soon after your marathon. As you said, you do have a strong base, so I guess that makes a difference. I hope the running sandals help your feet.

Jenny said...

Thanks for the running sandal report - very interesting reading :-) I'm also a leftie when it comes to problems. I don't know any reason for it but it makes me think of snowboarding - the foot you have at the front of your board is meant to be your leading leg: you figure out which leg you naturally lead with. My front leg when snowboarding is my right leg so perhaps my left leg keeps getting hurt because it's not as enthusiastic about doing stuff like running and it just get's dragged along!

Liv said...

So... they're good, if you ignore the mess of blood and guts? That sounds like masochistic runner speak to me :)

Congrats on the marathon, btw!! (I too am dreadfully behind in my blog reading...)

Running by.... said...

I am told that my left foot is slightly smaller than the right foot--freakish huh.

I don't notice it when I wear shoes, but maybe something like running sandals where the fit is most important will make it more evident. I don't know...Good luck tho.

E-Speed said...

have you seen anyone to make sure you aren't off balance? My ITB troubles were majorly stemming from my left hip being out of allignment.

The running sandals are intriguing to me. Something I would have to wait and try in the spring though!