BPGP: Kick Up Those Heels
Jan 5, 2012
The Beauty Product Guinea Pig column (BPGP) typically features lotions, potions, creams and glosses designed to make women lok and feel their best. But today, I’m reviewing a different kind of beauty product: running shoes. Because being in shape is beautiful (and gasping for air like an overworked golden retriever as you climb the Metro escalator is not attractive).
The last time that I purchased running shoes Bill Clinton was still in office. So when I started a real workout routine back in October, it didn’t take long to figure out that it was time for new shoes. But which kind to buy? The last time I purchased shoes there were 20 choices, now there are 20,000.
A friend of mine who runs three or four marathons per year lent me a pair of odd looking Vibram Five Fingers to try. I was really excited to give the shoes a whirl since she swears by barefoot running and promised me on a stack of Bibles that I’d like it. But since I have two toes deformed by an improperly healed break, the Vibrams caused me so much pain that I couldn’t wear them without wincing. Separating my toes was clearly not an option.
When the Vibrams came up bust, she suggested that I purchase a pair of Nike Free Run 2 shoes ($90). According to the Nike website, the shoes “simulate barefoot running to strengthen your lower leg and foot,” so they’re a bit like the Vibrams in practice.
Since I started wearing them, I’ve noticed that my form has improved markedly and that my lower back no longer hurts after a run. I still wear cross trainers when I’m not running, but these shoes have made my time on the treadmill a little less awful. And for that, I am truly grateful.
Whether they’re working the muscles in my legs in a different or improved way, I can’t really tell. No because the tone of my legs isn’t improving, but because, since I’ve never been a “runner” before, I don’t know how my legs would be developing in another shoe.
For you outdoor runners, these shoes are also equipped to hook into your Nike + iPod Sport Kit, allowing you to keep track of your speed distance and calories on your iPod. Should I decide to leave the comfort of my treadmill at any point, I may invest in the $28 kit. But, to be honest, being able to watch TV while I run is about the only thing that makes running bearable.
The shoes also come in a shocking number of colors. So whether you want plain white or bright neon, you can find a color to suit your personality. Who says you can’t be fashionable while you workout?