Monday, December 19, 2005

I'm the Imelda Marcos of Muddy Shoes

I have a dirty little secret. I have six active pairs of trail running shoes. I also have 3 pairs on the "injured reserve list" that I only use occasionally. Yes, I have 9 pairs of trail shoes!

They are all in varying degrees of degradation and mileage accumulation. I don't think of myself as a Shoe Whore, and I've never watched an entire episode of Sex in the City, but that does seem like a lot of shoes when I try to look at it objectively. There are reasons for so many trailrunning shoes, though.

Some are single-purpose shoes, such as my 6-year old Montrail Wasatch's that have sheet metal screws screwed into the tread blocks (to facilitate running on ice). I'll use them maybe 6 or 7 times per winter season. Wasatch's have been discontinued for a few years, and these probably have 800 total miles on them. I wish they still carried them, they were a great shoe. Another single-purpose shoe would be my Inov8 Terroc 330's, which are an awesome shoe under the right conditions. I like to use them for short to mid-distance trail races. For anything longer, the toe box is just too darn narrow to be comfortable. They have the best traction that I've ever experienced in a trail shoe, though. I like my Montrail Hardrocks for very long distances on dirt roads. The heels are too tall for me to use them on technical trails, though. For courses that are dry with a lot of loose and imbeded sharp rocks, I keep an old, well-used pair of cushy, old skool Montrail Vitesse available. Their traction sucks on wet rocks and in the mud, though.

My favorite all-purpose, long distance, shoe of choice is the Montrail Leona Divide. They have traction on all types of surfaces with no empty spaces for heavy mud to collect. They are lighter and more flexible than many other trail shoes, but offer adequate protection from stone bruising. I always have 3 pairs of Leona Divides that I rotate in my lineup. Currently, I have the following mileages (tracked on a spreadsheet) for my Leona Divides:
Pair 1) 475 miles - they have that "dead-feeling" and are just about ready to be tossed/recycled. I'll use them on some of the really muddy runs this winter.
Pair 2) 410 miles - still feeling good!
Pair 3) 290 miles - the latest generation of LD's, (with the orange tread blocks). No complaints; they should last a full 500 miles.
Some of these shoes many other runners would have disposed of many miles ago. I guess I'm always trying to push them as hard as I push myself. Honestly, frugality and logic have a lot to do with why I keep this large collection of mud-mashers. Each shoe is assigned a number. That number is written on the inside bottoms of the shoes. I track their mileages throughout their lifespan on an Excel spreadsheet (designed by David Hays). The foam part of the shoes tend to wear out before the bottoms do. The foam loses resiliency...there's no "bounce-back" left in them. Sometimes the tops or sides blow out, too.

Another reason for so many shoes:
Around here, I run through water crossings and and/or mud about 90% of the time. My shoes and shoe inserts are always in a constant state of drying-out. I don't even wash my shoes anymore...I just let the mud dry and then bang them together before the next use. What's really weird, though: I only have 3 pairs of shoe inserts. I hand wash them and dry them in my garage on the rack next to my shoes.

Does this collection translate into other areas of footwear, you may ask? No! I only have one pair of "office work" shoes, and one pair of roadrunning shoes. I have no other "casual" footwear, other than some 5-year old Teva sandals that I change into, after runs.
Whew! I guess I'm not Shoe Whore!


psbowe said...

I see, you just like to hang onto the shoes...sounds like someone I know. :)

LouBob said...

Could be worse you could have 9 pairs of muddy trail shoes!

Josh said...

That is awesome! Nine pairs! I can't believe it. I have four pairs and thought to myself "I don't need any more -- I was definitely wrong!"

Dirt Runner said...

I have that same spreadsheet by David Hays. I wish there was room for more shoes. I miss not putting any miles on the sheet also. I may not get any miles in the rest of the year.

Ben, aka BadBen said...

You can adjust the spreadsheet and add more numbers for more shoes.

I hope that you are back to running, soon.

D said...

Are you a female in disguise w/all those shoes?? kidding....

Bolder said...

loved that post title!

if we all confessed our shoe count to you, i think you'd feel much better...

E-Speed said...

I don't have that many running shoes lying around. But I haven't gotten that much into trail running, yet!

My husband says I have too many shoes but I am not nearly as bad as most women. I really only wear two pairs besides my running shoes :)

Liv said...

Lol! Yep, you've upstaged me for sure. I can only wish that I had more running shoes than icky girl shoes (which for some reason I have accumulated even though I hardly wear the damned things...)
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