These beauties are the new Brooks Ravenna 2. They came last night and I did my four-mile interval run in them this morning. I LOVE THESE SHOES. They feel very light and fast, have a "sprung toe" and for me were very responsive. They felt great at my 800M interval speeds (7:00 min miles) and at the recovery jogs in between.
I have loved Brooks running shoes since I started running two years ago. I went from the Adrenalines to the Trance 9 (ran my first marathon in the Trance 9) and then tried the Ravenna. The Ravenna is lighter than the other two and has less support (they are for mild overpronaters).
I was pretty happy in the Trance 9's, but I was thinking I didn't need as much support as they had, wanted something lighter and just thought they weren't the perfect shoe for me. I emailed Brooks to ask what shoe they would recommend for me. I usually run close to 40 miles a week, I am a medium weight and height, I am a mild to moderate overpronater (says the man in the running store), I have low arches, and I am a forefoot/midfoot striker (so I don't need or want a huge cushioned heel because I am not landing on my heels when I run). The person at Brooks recommended the Ravenna's, and I liked them so much after the first run that I ran my second marathon in them, even though they were still a "new" shoe for me (I had done one long run in them and about 30 miles total before the race). My feet and legs felt AWESOME during and after my marathon in my Ravenna's.
So when I heard that the Ravenna's were being updated I was a little nervous that I wouldn't like the 2's as much as the originals, but from the minute I slipped these bad boys on I knew I loved them. (I sure wish they came in green, but whatever). :)
Every once and awhile I go into a running shoe store and try on some other brands and I just have never found anything I like as much as my Brooks. They just seem to fit me perfectly and feel so good on. And there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of shoes out there made for midfoot/forefoot strikers. (I looked into the Newton's, but not sure how I feel about a shoe that "forces" you into running that way, especially since I already do. And holy crow they are expensive. Anyone out there like them???) How about you? Are you loyal to a brand?
And here is another question... what do you all think about insoles? Not custom orthotics, but the insoles they sell at running shoe stores like "Superfeet", etc.? When I was a brand new clueless runner I went into the shoe store and they fitted me with some Brooks Adrenalines and then had me try a bunch of brands of insoles to see which I liked best. (I liked the Montrail Enduro Soles and have used them ever since, although I recently tried a pair of the Dean Karnazes Signature Sole insoles and they are ok too). I assumed that all of the "cool kids" (aka "real runners") were using insoles and bought them that first day, and have used them ever since. But lately I have been wondering... ARE all the "cool kids" using insoles? Do you run with insoles?
In an effort to have my shoes as light as possible and to run with as little support as I can get away with without any drastic changes (since I am training for a marathon and have done two already without any injuries), I decided to run in my new Ravenna 2's today just as they came and not put any fancy insoles in them. And my run was great! Now it was only four miles, but I really liked how it felt, and my feet and legs felt really, really good afterwards.
So how about you? Do you swear by insoles? Or do you run without them? Do you think they make it more difficult to run as a forefoot/midfoot striker with good form? Or do they save you from injuries? I will keep you posted on how it goes for me, but I'd love to know your thoughts.