As for most racewalkers and many runners, the right shoes are often difficult to find. And when you’re addicted to the longer distances, they can be even more crucial. Blisters and other injuries can impede training or even in extreme cases stop you in the middle of a marathon.
During my first marathon in 2006, I ended up with a large blister under my toe nail. The doctor ended up taking the nail off a few days later, which kept me in open toe shoes for months and searching for ones that would actually work for me. It took me over a year of trying many, many different shoes to find some that allowed me to racewalk blister free. I gathered quite a collection of the Zoot ULTRA Tempo+’s. No blisters due to the seamless construction made for triathaletes to run sockless. After I wore out six pair of these, I found out that Zoot had changed the Tempo shoe and the latest model (Zoot Women’s ULTRA Tempo+ 3.0) was no longer suitable for racwalking (the heel is now too high). This leaves me at square one and searching for some blister free shoes, which I can actually racewalk in again.
So far I’ve tried Adidas adiZero Mana’s, Reebok TAIKAN III’s, ASICS GEL-DS Trainer 15′s, New Balance 905′s, Mizuno Musha 2′s and Brooks T6 Racer. In many of my tries the toe boxes are too narrow and/or the heels are too lose. So far I’ve found the ASICS GEL DS Trainer 15′s and the Mizuno Musha 2′s to be my best bets. I’ve been able to racewalk up to 10 miles in them, but they still don’t feel like my “perfect” shoes yet.
I know many if not most racwalkers must endure this shoe finding experience each time their favorites are discontinued. So, I will just have to take a deep breath and keep trying. I can still try Asics DS Racer 8′s and Asics Hyper Speed 4′s (I ordered both of these too large initially). There is always the custom made option by Hershey’s, which is also in the back of my mind. The initial cost is quite a bit more, but if they really work out it may be worth it in the long run. Additionally, there is about a 6 month wait once you order them, so they wouldn’t be ready for Fall Marathon season this year.
I’m sure this shoe saga will continue, but I’m not willing to give up a sport I have learned to love so much…